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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Notes, News and Navel-Gazing @ PTSD Combat

What a week it's been.

I have Dana Priest and Anne Hull to thank for not getting much else done around here following the arrival of the Washington Post's ground-shattering series on Walter Reed Army Medical Center's handling of our returning troops in their care. A 'sacrifice' of time I'm only too happy to give up, especially if it leads to improvements in veterans' care.

Alongside juggling my Google News alerts, I've been doing some long-overdue sprucing up of the place around here. I've swapped a Flash element for the static banner of old (for some reason it didn't show up in my IE browser -- though it's fine in Firefox -- when I tested it; anyone else having that problem?).

Besides moving the deck chairs around here, PTSD Combat has gotten a few nice mentions and links of late. Not ground-breaking, but still worthy of a mention.

Click on 'Article Link' below tags for more...

Meta navel-gazing, here we come...

Think Progress gave a nice link and nod:

...John at AmericaBlog has been covering the Walter Reed issue extensively, and has a nice round-up of veterans news here. PTSDCombat, FireDogLake, Carpetbagger, Daily Kos and Atrios have more.

Now, that's a nice list to belong to (that is, if you don't mind being lumped together with all of those nasty bloggers out there. :o)

AOL Top News included a link over from their Bush Promises Help for Wounded Warriors story to my More WaPo Fallout: Senators, WH, Veterans and Pundits Chime In post (find the link from their 'Read Related Blogs and Articles' pop-up near the bottom of the page).

Didn't realize that you were going on a wild goose chase, eh?

Legacy of War gave me a nice mention:

Ilona Meagher's blog ... is a wonderful resource for all who are concerned about our military who have PTSD. I have been inspired by her commitment to this issue and credit her with making many aware of the limitations of the care given to our brave veterans.

Blush, blush, blush.

toniD's ya think? ("Keeping an eye on our government") linked to my post on this week's important Navy Times article with the words New Blog you MUST read! Thanks, ToniD!!!

Sen. John Kerry's blog was probably the most surprising and kind link; Violet Bliss Dietz quoted extensively from a post I'd written exactly one year ago, Unutterable: For Reagan it Was AIDS. For Bush, PTSD? Here's a bit of what she had to say:

In researching what's happening with veterans issues and the regular survey of the blogosphere, I've found some related items that I want to share. The first item is old but it's good.

From Ilona Meagher at PTSD Combat blog:

Unutterable: For Reagan it Was AIDS. For Bush, PTSD?

How many times has the Bush Administration uttered the phrase 'post-traumatic stress disorder' in speeches or remarks archived at Whitehouse.gov? I did a search this afternoon and found not even one document returned.

Why is a disorder that afflicts tens of thousands of our Iraq and Afghanistan veterans unutterable by this administration? And are Democrats also silent on this issue?

To head off any confusion, the question I'm proffering here is: Is PTSD as radioactive to the Bush administration as AIDS was to Reagan's? I'm not comparing the two illnesses with one another.

She goes onto search Cheney's record as well as the President's record and finds no record of them uttering those words. Then she goes onto query the Dem leaders. ...

Dietz also quotes a snippet from a more recent post, BusinessWeek Covers Unique Struggles of the Reservist-Entrepreneur, that mentions Kerry's years long work on the Military Family Bill of Rights.

So as not to end entirely on myself here, but rather to refocus on the more important issues that demand our attention, I'd like to share a bit of Dietz' post on Kerry's reaction to the Walter Reed scandal (is there really any other word for it?):

JK is responding to the story about the conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. According to a statement released earlier this afternoon, he is joining with Senators Obama and McCaskill in introducing legislation aimed at improving conditions at the WRAMC. The focus of the proposed legislation is assisting patients in acquiring the counseling and rehabilitation services that they need.

WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) announced today that he will co-sponsor legislation to improve the lives of recovering veterans at Walter Reed and other medical centers by eliminating paperwork and improving physical conditions. Kerry also said he would explore options for directing new funding to Walter Reed and to make immediate improvements to the buildings where veterans are housed. ...

The legislation that Kerry is co-sponsoring would do the following:


* Simplify the paperwork process for recovering soldiers

* Improve the ratio of caseworkers to recovering soldiers

* Increase the training of caseworkers

* Require more frequent IG inspections of hospital facilities and standards of care

* Establish timelines and benchmarks for repairs to substandard facilities

* Provide recovering soldiers with psychological counseling

* Require regular reporting to Congress on:

o the total number of recovering soldiers at military hospitals

o the number of caseworkers

o the average waiting time for treatment

o the number of suicide attempts, accidental deaths or drug overdoses

JK spoke out today:

“We owe our returning veterans a debt of gratitude, not sub-standard treatment at an overcrowded medical facility. The Administration has consistently talked a big game but shortchanged the needs of veterans. How can the president talk about a troop escalation in Iraq while failing to keep faith with the Iraq War veterans we’ve already brought home?

Brave men who have been blinded or lost a limb in Iraq should not be sitting in moldy, mouse-infested buildings. Period. It’s unacceptable and this Congress needs to do something about it.”

I couldn't agree more.

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