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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Op-Ed on Military's PTSD Dilemma, Ranch Reintegration for OEF/OIF Vets, Carrots and Sticks for Obama's 2010 VA Budget Proposal

  • The Boston Globe | The military's post-traumatic stress dilemma - Iraq vet Tyler Boudreau begins: "WITH ARMY and Marine Corps suicide rates climbing dramatically, surpassing even those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan last month, the nation is increasingly disturbed and demanding treatment for veterans. But these suicide reports highlight an important distinction: A significant portion of those returning from war are not yet veterans; they are still active or reserve service members, which means, above all, that they probably will be going back to one of our theaters of operations. And that means that any treatment for post-traumatic stress will be positioned in direct conflict with the mission itself. As a former Marine captain and rifle company commander, I witnessed this conflict firsthand."

  • Chicago Tribune | Restoring spirits of men haunted by war - 15 OEF/OIF vets recently took part in a novel reintegration program: "The veterans came from throughout the United States to spend four days at the stylish Wildcatter Ranch, invited by the Wounded Warrior Project and the owners of the ranch to help restore their spirits. Some of the men have physical injuries, but each of them is struggling to deal with combat stress and their return to civilian society. The men went canoeing and rode horses. They got massages and shot skeet. They stayed in luxurious rooms and they visited an elementary school, where the children gave them Graham Steers ball caps. 'I have never seen anything like this before,' said Harvey Stubbs Jr., 32, a Chicago-area native who was medically retired from the Army because of his injuries. 'The outpouring of love ... has been amazing. A lot of people give lip service to supporting the troops, but these people have opened their hearts to us in ways I can't believe.'"

  • CNN | Obama pledges more help for veterans - President Obama, appearing alongside VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, spoke of the $25 billion funding infusion the Department of Veterans Affairs can look forward to receiving over the next five years under his new budget. "'With this budget, we don't just fully fund our Veterans Affairs health care program, we expand it to serve an additional 500,000 veterans by 2013,' [Obama] said. He promised that the VA would "dramatically improve services" related to mental health, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, and he said homeless veterans would be targeted for support."

  • Kansas City Star | Veterans assail proposal to have private insurance plans pay for their service ailments - President Obama's 2010 VA budget provision to bill private insurance for service-connected health care is under fire with veterans and their supporters. While no one will see the full budget proposal until April, this idea being floated about is "dead on arrival" according to Sen. Patty Murray [D-WA], who has an influential seat on the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs.
IAVA's Paul Reickhoff on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show:

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