Monday, May 08, 2006

Rummy stonewalling on mental health task force

Last week, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D–CA) sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, taking him to task for his failure to appoint members to the Defense Task Force on Mental Health.

Read more...The National Defense Authorization Act of 2006, a.k.a. the defense appropriations bill, required the Secretary to appoint this task force by 2006-04-07 (April 7th). It is now a full month past the deadline, and Rumsfeld has taken no action, and has not responded to repeated inquiries from members of Congress.

To quote some of Boxer's statistics, originally from the Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine, almost 1,700 servicemembers returning in 2005 had harbored thoughts of hurting themselves. The suicide rate in the Army was the highest since 1993, 24% above the rate for the previous year. Twenty thousand soldiers reported nightmares or flashbacks. 3,700 reported concerns that they might lose control or hurt someone.

This administration talks endlessly about supporting our troops, but when the rubber hits the road, they stall and try to sweep the soldiers' problems under the rug. No one could possibly have mental health issues from participating in the glorious democratization of Iraq, right? After all, they were greeted as liberators, and were able to wrap up their entire mission inside of six months, right?

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