Friday, December 28, 2012

Tracking the Causes of Deaths of OIF and OEF Veterans

Special Report: Uncounted Casualties
Scores of recent Texas war veterans have died of overdoses, suicide and vehicle crashes, a six-month Statesman investigation finds.

Long, like many issues related to Veterans of our wars, and ignored by the huge majority served, overdue study into the 'uncounted casualties' of our wars. Started in the past couple of years, nothing was done and to little VA funding, already decades of underfunding from previous wars, added in the previous years of these present wars by those who rubber stamped and still borrowed war costs, in partnership with the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration as to the growing suicides both in the military active ranks and the veterans of ranks. Another extremely important issue, covering many possibilities and causes for, the country shouldn't have ignored for decades. Recently a study taken on by serious investigative professional journalist of the Austin TX American-Statesman and delving into many issues, PTS to the drugs prescribed, of possibilities of recent uncounted casualties of war.

Those decades, especially since our service in Vietnam, had many issues, way to numerous to list, that the country totally ignored and refused to fund the research in and the care needed and as it turned out previous war veterans suffered from same and were never diagnosed with nor cared for. Especially after many of us Vietnam veterans and by population only a handful of civilians, who recognized, pushed to place a serious label on what always had been, from wars and individual civilian extreme traumatic experiences, Post Traumatic Stress {PTSD}. A very serious long lasting for many hidden wound from extreme trauma especially from the 24/7 stresses of military conflicts but also from very traumatic experiences individuals live through and the results of weren't understood.

A necessary inquiry into veterans’ deaths
Dec. 27, 2012 - A team of American-Statesman reporters spent six months investigating how hundreds of Texas veterans have died since coming home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This month, more than two months after the results of the Statesman investigation were published, the Department of Veterans Affairs said it will study the deaths of veterans nationwide.

The VA’s decision to begin its own inquiry into the deaths of the veterans it serves, past due but welcome nonetheless, corrects the government’s failure to fully track the causes of death of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. We hope the effort to compile a comprehensive study of veterans’ deaths leads to a more complete picture of veterans’ struggles as they readjust to civilian life, and that a better understanding of those struggles will help prevent so many tragically early deaths.

The three-day American-Statesman series, “Uncounted Casualties,” began with reporters Brenda Bell, Eric Dexheimer, Dave Harmon, Tony Plohetski, Jeremy Schwartz, database editor Christian McDonald, and visual reporters Jay Janner and Kelly West trying to fill out the incomplete death records of 345 Texas veterans who died between January 2003 and October 2011 after coming home from overseas.

By matching the fragmentary records provided by the VA with reports from other agencies, local obituaries and other public documents, the team was able to determine the causes of death for 266 Texans who returned home from the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan.

The team’s findings bear repeating:

After surviving in theater war tours, this generations multiple tours and in possibly both theaters, the mentally and the physically wounded are often prescribed the latest developed drugs, a pill or shots to cure everything, that really seem to not be understood, especially combined with each individuals possible hidden wounds, as to the effects they many have on the individual that are told to use with promises of cures if used as directed. Many in the active ranks now were prescribed and sent back for more tours in these wars and occupations.

Because of the countries ignoring the soldiers and the issues from Vietnam, and our other wars, who returned to join the veterans community many self medicated, others were misdiagnosed if even seeking care or frustrated when not understood, which caused even more problems for each including suicides or led to deaths or to troubled homelessness and criminal activities with jail/prison time.

More recent, and before the present two, the country ignored, DeJa-Vu once again, the veterans returning from the first gulf war, Desert Storm, welcome homes and parades were given though, very short term support for, and what is labeled 'Gulf War Syndrome'. Still not known what the causes were for many, one of the suspected still are the shots and drugs given before the military rushed into that region to prevent known possible ailments and to inoculate them from, there are suspected other possible causes as well.

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