It’s rampant among returning vets—and now their spouses and kids are starting to show the same symptoms.
—By Mac McClelland
Mother Jones | January/February 2013 Issue
Brannan Vines has never been to war, but her husband, Caleb, was sent to Iraq twice, where he served in the infantry as a designated marksman. He’s one of 103,200, or 228,875, or 336,000 Americans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan and came back with PTSD, depending on whom you ask, and one of 115,000 to 456,000 with traumatic brain injury. It’s hard to say, with the lack of definitive tests for the former, undertesting for the latter, underreporting, under or over-misdiagnosing of both. And as slippery as all that is, even less understood is the collateral damage, to families, to schools, to society—emotional and fiscal costs borne long after the war is over.
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Whatever is happening to Caleb, it’s as old as war itself. The ancient historian Herodotus told of Greeks being honorably dismissed for being “out of heart” and “unwilling to encounter danger.” Civil War doctors, who couldn’t think of any other thing that might be unpleasant about fighting the Civil War but homesickness, diagnosed thousands with “nostalgia.” Later, it was deemed “irritable heart.” In World War I it was called “shell shock.” In World War II, “battle fatigue.” It wasn’t an official diagnosis until 1980, when Post Traumatic Stress Disorder made its debut in psychiatry’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, uniting a flood of Vietnam vets suffering persistent psych issues with traumatized civilians—previously assigned labels like “accident neurosis” and “post-rape syndrome”—onto the same page of the DSM-III.
Phi Beta Iota: This may be the single most important article we have pointed to since we started. Please consider reading it in full. This is the home cost. Those we attack suffer, apart from the same casualties we do but on an order of magnitude scale, and also the effects of depleted uranium, now known as the “Fullujah mutant babies” effect. This is not something to be proud of, nor is it something that can be justified as being in the public interest once total true costs are understood. Having a dumbed down population is one thing — driving the population insane, at the same time that the elites are is such isolation as to be criminally insane, is another matter entirely.