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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

U.S. Commanders Reject Troop Rest Recommendation by Army Mental Health Experts

This is unnerving. From USA Today:

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.

U.S. forces in Iraq spend more time in combat without a break than those who fought in Vietnam or World War II, according to Army psychologists who studied troops in Iraq. U.S. commanders can't match the World War II policy, Odierno said in a news conference late last month.

Please read the rest, and then perhaps contact your elected officials and ask them if this is really the best we can do. Why bother studying these things, why bother fashioning one endless report after another if the military refuses to implement any of the recommendations they're ultimately given?

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