A soldier can leave the battlefield, but coming home doesn't mean the war is over. Men and women in the military are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan only to face a new set of struggles, as they carry physical and psychological wounds into a society that doesn't fully understand their experience or their sacrifice. To help them through the challenges of reintegration, the public needs to hear their stories, told with effective, ethical and sensitive reporting.
Resources for Veterans
The deadliest soldier-on-soldier incident among U.S. servicemembers since the beginning of the Iraq war occurred yesterday. Sgt. John M. Russell has been charged with five counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault after opening fire upon staff at a combat stress clinic at Camp Liberty, Iraq.
A story about combat-related psychological injury by M.L. Lyke of The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. See the subheading, "GETTING HELP," near the bottom of the story, for an example of a sidebar with contact information for veterans' resources.
The Iraq War Clinician Guide was developed by members of the National Center for PTSD and the Department of Defense. It was developed specifically for clinicians and addresses the unique needs of veterans of the Iraq war.
Six journalism grad students working with ABC’s 20/20 spent the summer investigating the stories of soldiers who abuse drugs. In their TV report, soldiers speak to the students of going into war drug-free, but turning to cocaine, amphetamines, and prescription drugs to deal with their traumatic experiences.
Last week, Alysa Landry at the Daily Times in Farmington, New Mexico penned a moving three-part series on veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Part one, Combat that Never Ends, tells the stories of Vietnam veterans who have wrestled with PTSD for decades, but only recently been diagnosed or treated.
In the Hartford Courant, Matthew Kauffman and Lisa Chedekel report that, despite the Pentagon’s promises to the contrary, the military continues to refer a far smaller proportion of troops to mental-health professionals than actually have mental-health problems.
Judy Holland of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer carefully documents sexual assault within the military. Statistics and victims’ stories provide context for proposed legislation that would require an investigation into the handling of these cases and provide support for female veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.