US Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan
Since military operations began in Iraq, nearly 900 American casualties have been documented. In Afghanistan, US casualties are nearing the 150-mark. This is depressing and I do not see the numbers going down because of the non-stop ambush bombings taking place there. This week's issue of the NEJM carries an investigative article on the mental health of members of the Army and the Marine Corps who were involved in combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The report concluded "there was a significant risk of mental health problems and that the subjects reported important barriers to receiving mental health services particularly the perception of stigma among those most in need of such care."
In wars like these and taken from the perspective of the soldier fighting, you do not know what is the kinder fate that you deserve. Surviving and going back home only to have sleepless nights relieving the scenes of the war you fought in. Other studies have shown that recent and frequent exposure to combat had resulted in considerable risks of mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depression, substance abuse, impairment in social functioning and in the ability to work after the war deployment.
A bullet or shrapnel wound heals in weeks, but the mental wounds inflicted always remain among the victims. This post is just about the soldiers. You can imagine what happens to the civilians.