Jan. 22 Update: Government Documents Report 72,000 Battlefield Casualties and 264,000 New Patients from Iraq and Afghanistan Wars

Jan. 22 Update: VCS Releases New VA and DoD Fact Sheets

Dear VCS Supporters:

This week Veterans for Common Sense releases updated versions of our popular VA and DoD Fact Sheets. The statistics are very disturbing.

The Pentagon officially reported 72,043 battlefield casualties from Iraq and Afghanistan through Jan. 5, 2008.

VA hospitals and clinics have already treated 263,909 unplanned patients from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. On top of that, VA reported 245,034 unanticipated disability claims from veterans of the two wars.

VCS issued warnings about this growing problem. On Veterans Day in 2007, VCS posted an editorial about how we believe VA and DoD mask the true costs of the two wars.

To assist you with making sense of the new Fact Sheets, a VCS analysis shows that between June 2007 and November 2007:

* The number of PTSD claims approved rose 80 percent (from 19,015 to 34,138), while the veteran population rose only 16 percent. The incidence of PTSD is dramatically rising, or VA is finally starting to take this problem more seriously, or both.

* 100 PTSD claims were approved every day. VA can expect tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands more PTSD claims from our new war veterans as more service members deploy to the war zone and then begin to return home.

* Veterans who served in the National Guard or Reserves were nearly three times as likely to have their VA disability compensation claim rejected (14% compared to 5%). VCS remains concerned about the apparent unequal treatment faced by our veterans who were ordered to active duty in the war zone from the National Guard and Reserves.

While the PTSD claims situation may be improving slightly due to intense pressure brought about by the VCS and Veterans United for Truth lawsuit against VA, there are still nearly 18,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans diagnosed by VA with PTSD who are not yet receiving VA disability payments.

VCS believes that VA is still not properly reviewing and approving PTSD claims for veterans already diagnosed with PTSD by VA doctors. This means VA continues to deny and delay essential disability payments for our veterans that could be the difference between paying the rent or becoming homeless.

Wounded Warrior Update: Last week, the House voted to include the “Dignity for Wounded Warriors Act” (formerly S 1606 and then HR 1585), in the new Defense Bill, HR 4986. Now we are waiting on the Senate to approve the bill. Sadly, the provision allowing our Gulf War veterans tortured by Iraq to sue the new Iraqi government was watered down.

Please share the critical information in your VCS Update with your friends, reporters, and elected officials so that they know the facts about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Please donate generously to VCS so we can keep reporting the accurate and complete facts about the human consequences of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. We appreciate your support so we can provide the policy advocacy that all our veterans need.

Thank you,

Paul Sullivan
Executive Director
Veterans for Common Sense

VCS provides advocacy and publicity for issues related to veterans, national security, and civil liberties. VCS is registered with the IRS as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, and donations to VCS are tax deductible. VCS does not provide direct services to veterans.

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