Why would the government distort the amount of disabled veterans the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are causing? Would the true numbers persuade young men and women from volunteering, or maybe convince their parents to talk them out of it?
The way wounded are counted varies, how many were evacuated to Germany or back to the states for treatment? How many were treated and released back to duty after a few days in a field hospital or were treated by the battalion aid station and never even left the field? If it is an accident or self-inflicted wounds then DOD refuses to count them as "wounded". Men and women taken out of Iraq (medivaced) for mental reasons (PTSD) nervous breakdowns etc., are not "wounded".
This goes back to the old adage "figures lie and liars figure" so somewhere out there is the truth.
On Veterans Day, politicians will praise the 30,000 troops "officially wounded" in action in Iraq and Afghanistan as if this "statistic" were some kind of "fact." In doing so, they'll harm the men and women who carry the burden of our nation's defense in today's very dangerous world.
That 30,000 number is a fantasy.
David Gorman is the leader of the largest Veterans Organization in the nation, his Service Officers spread across this nation and territories deal with the compensation claims of the disabled. Their numbers do not even come close to that the Department of Defense is claiming.
Here's the truth about the human cost borne by the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan as shown by data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Of the 1.5 million troops who served in Iraq or Afghanistan, 720,000 (48%) are now veterans in the civilian population.
Of these, 202,000 have filed claims for VA disability benefits. The VA granted benefits in more than 90% of the cases processed so far, and will grant more upon appeal or presentation of additional evidence.
In other words, real statistics show that one out of four veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan is disabled in military service. This should shock no one as troops return to the war zones for their third, fourth, and now fifth tours of combat duty.
Of the 720,000 veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, a quarter million have turned to the VA for treatment - more than one out of every three veterans of the combat theaters.
The figures above don't include troops still on active duty, many of whom remain in the service after being harmed by war. They too must not be forgotten. 202,000 claims for compensation, 90% of them already approved and I imagine the other 10% are on appeal still. This is 172,000 more people claiming medical problems caused by war, than DOD publicly admits to, why?
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If you knew that your chance of having to file a claim for compensation for medical problems caused by military service were going to be 1 out of 4, would you still enlist?
I think these numbers would really be a detriment to recruiting, on average for the prior wars, Vietnam, Korea, WW2 and WW1 the number of compensated veterans were all in the 9% range, so why has it jumped to 25% - better body armor, or more stress from repeated deployments?
Maybe it's the Depleted Uranium rounds they used? Contaminated battlefields are not new, just the health effects of exposure to DU is not known yet. Just as DOD has not been able to tell the 500,000 sick Gulf War One veterans what is causing their illnesses known as Gulf War Syndrome (GWS).
The Ministry of Defense in England just this year recognized GWS as a medical problem and deserves compensation, 16 years after the war. They don't know what caused it either, they have just admitted the men who were stricken by GWS do deserve compensation for the loss of earnings, life style etc.
The government is quick to send people to war, they are really slow to admit the full extent of the medical problems, and the veterans are now ending up doing battle with their own government to get benefits they deserve. This is one battle the recruiters never told you about when you enlisted.
That old campaign slogan from President Bush
"A Promise Made Is A Promise Kept" he lied.
also posted on Daily Kos and my blog
Disabled Army Staff Sergeant who served from 1973 thru 1982 active duty and in the National Guard from 1988 thru 1992, I served on the DMZ in Korea and served in Oamn during the Gulf war.