NPR NEWS REPORTS:
PENTAGON FIGURES SHOW SUBSTANTIALLY MORE TROOPS
DISCHARGED FOR MENTAL HEALTH-RELATED BEHAVIOR ISSUES
THAN BEFORE THE WARS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN
ON NPR NEWS ALL THINGS CONSIDERED
TODAY, THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15
AUDIO TO BE AVAILABLE AT 7 P.M. (ET) AT WWW.NPR.ORG
November 15, 2007; Washington, D.C. – NPR News is reporting that new figures from the Pentagon, released to NPR, show that since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began, substantially more troops have been discharged from the Army for behavior and discipline issues which are potentially related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other serious mental health conditions. The report from NPR correspondent Daniel Zwerdling is airing today on NPR News All Things Considered.
Based on numbers provided by the Army – comparing discharges roughly since the war in Iraq began to the same period before the war – Zwerdling reports that, since the war:
• 40 percent more soldiers have been discharged for a personality disorder.
• Nearly 20 percent more soldiers have been discharged for misconduct.
• More than twice as many soldiers have been discharged for drug use (part of the misconduct category).
• In all, more than 28,000 soldiers have been discharged from the Army for a personality disorder and/or misconduct.
Zwerdling has reported extensively on the military’s treatment of returning soldiers suffering from PTSD and other mental health issues. In his December 2006 report “Mental Anguish and the Military,” the result of a five-month investigation into the military’s treatment of returning soldiers suffering PTSD at Fort Carson, Colorado, soldiers complained of being harassed, punished and in some cases discharged for seeking treatment for emotional problems triggered by their service in Iraq. In a recent return visit to the base, Zwerdling reported that soldiers with PTSD and other mental health problems are still facing inadequate treatment by commanders there. Those reports have won numerous honors, including a 2006 Peabody, an award from the Investigative Reporters and Editors and the 2007 RFK Journalism Award.
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