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POLICY/POLITICS: Iraq, planning and the VA

In a op-ed in the LA Times, called The battle of Iraq’s wounded Linda Bilmes points out that the number of wounded servicemen and women from the Iraq war/occupation is incredibly high relative to the 3,000 deaths. Something like 50,000. And once the current generation is discharged from the army, the VA —which is already stretched— is going to be overwhelmed.

I’ve just read Imperial Life in the Emerald City which is a mind-blowing account of exactly how screwed up the initial occupation of Iraq was. Not only was there no plan of any form before the invasion for what the occupation ought to be like, but the only people who were thinking rationally in advance about what it should have been like (in State and other departments) were forcibly prevented from getting involved. I thoroughly recommend the book (by WaPo reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran).

But, as if you needed to know after their “preparations” for occupied Iraq and Katrina, it’s for sure that this Administration has done no planning for the wave of disabled veterans that’s about to hit the VA. Now that they finally control the purse strings, let’s hope the Democrats can do better.

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Ganga HematillakePeterBradly Jacobs MD Recent comment authors
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Ganga Hematillake
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Ganga Hematillake

Please support early naturalization of foreign born Physicians of US Veterans Affairs to become US Citizens. Significant number of highly qualified and US trained but foreign born physicians providing an essential national service by providing high quality medical care to our nations veterans including the care of injured solders returning from Iraq. There are unfair restrictions for these physicians to become US Citizens at this time due to current immigration regulations. Most of these highly qualified physicians who are educated and trained in US universities and hospitals, and now providing essential service to our nations veterans have to wait five… Read more »

Peter
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Peter

Keeping the wounded from our eyes is just as deceiving as the Bush administration’s attempt’s to hide the war dead from public view. But Americans have come to expect no-pain wars with tax cuts thrown in. No wonder we’re in such a mess in Iraq.

Bradly Jacobs MD
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Bradly Jacobs MD

I find it remarkable how much focus has been given to ‘the fallen’ without equal recognition given to the disabled. Clearly better personal armour has increased the ratio of dead:disabled which is a blessing for many;however, lack of budgetary and staffing preparedness to handle the life long health-related services required for these young men will haunt us for decades to come. As a physician who worked at the VA system for 10 years, I have seen the devastating consequences of war. What gets little notice, however, is the psychological effects….Hoge et al(JAMA 2006 Mar 1 295:1023)published a cornerstone paper on… Read more »