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Hey GI Joe, What You Doing With That Gun in Your Hand?

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Bush, Cheney and Rove say that the army supports the war in Iraq, and that our soldiers are getting all they need. But one statistic you won’t hear out of George Bush, Dick Cheney or Karl Rove’s mouth is that the active duty soldier suicide rate has reached a 26 year high.

Other statistics they won’t want you to know include that 20 % of our soldiers have symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, and that more than 1 in 3 returning soldiers have sought mental health treatment.

These findings, while possibly shocking to George A’W’OL Bush, will not be surprising to psychiatrists or mental health professionals, who understand that long term military occupations in the midst of insurgencies inevitably cause extreme stress, depression, and even suicide among the over-extended troops.

The Bush administration continues to declare that they have strong support for the Iraq war among our troops overseas, but the statistics tell another story. Suicide and PTSD rates don’t reach multi-decade highs when the troops are doing well, and when they support the government’s policies. They reach such highs when troops are demoralized, and see no end in sight - no hope on the horizon.

The two most obvious solutions to the problem are 1) Bring the troops home now, and 2) triple funding for the Veterans administration, and hire on many more health care professionals.

These things will not happen until George Bush is either impeached, or if the troops are very unfortunate indeed, in early 2009 after Bush is put out to pasture in Crawford. How he will then live with his conscience, if he has one, is another matter altogether.
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John R. Moffett PhD is a research neuroscientist in the Washington, DC area. Dr. Moffett's main area of research focuses on the brain metabolite N-acetylaspartate, and an associated genetic disorder known as Canavan disease.

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