"So you have to be mentally and physically tough." - Lt. Gen. Odierno
U.S. commanders in Iraq are rejecting a recommendation by Army mental health experts that troops receive a one-month break for every three months in a combat zone, despite unprecedented levels of continuous fighting and worsening risks of mental stress.
Instead, commanders are trying to give troops two to three days inside heavily fortified bases after about eight days in the field, said Brig. Gen. Joseph Anderson, chief aide to the ground forces commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno.
"We would never get the job done of securing (of Baghdad) if we went out for three months and came back" for one, Anderson said.....
"Even in World War II and other times … we would pull forces off the line and bring them back on. Here we don't do that," Odierno said. "They (U.S. troops) are out there consistently every single day. So you have to be mentally and physically tough."
Because, you see, those who get PTSD just aren't "mentally and physically tough."
To say I'm filled with rage is an understatement.
Especially after reading this on Saturday,
U.S. troops returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer "daunting and growing" psychological problems -- with nearly 40 percent of soldiers, a third of Marines and half of the National Guard members reporting symptoms -- but the military's cadre of mental-health workers is "woefully inadequate" to meet their needs, a Pentagon task force reported yesterday.
(The WaPo series focusing on Walter Reed and broader soldier care has been covering mental health issues this week (1, 2.)