Friday, March 07, 2008

Mental Health Implication for Repeated Deployments

This morning's L.A. Times has a fascinating article.

Short version: It's the third and fourth tours that cause the breakdowns.

Some excepts:

More than a quarter of higher-ranking enlisted soldiers showed signs of mental health problems after being sent to war zones for the third or fourth time, a sharp increase over those on their first or second deployments, according to a military study issued Thursday.

By higher ranking enlisted soldiers they mean the senior NCOs who make the snap decisions that directly effect the survival of the troops in their sphere.

The report showed that 27.2% of noncommissioned officers -- the sergeants responsible for leading troops in combat -- reported mental health problems during their third or fourth tours.

"Soldiers are not resetting entirely before they get back into theater," said Lt. Col. Paul Bliese, who headed the team that conducted the study. "They're not having the opportunity to completely recover from the previous deployment when they go back into theater for the second or third deployment.

They are driving the army straight into the ground. Also, these type of endless and back to back deployments have never happened. No one else in the history of warfare has done this to their troops. I wrote a while back about what the problems Alexander had encountered after ten years of continuous warfare.

Army healthcare officials said it was difficult to assess whether rates of mental health problems on third or fourth tours were abnormally high, noting that they had little information from other conflicts or the civilian world to compare.

File that last under the "no shit sherlock" tab. No other nation or armed force has ever put this kind of pressure on their soldiers. The Army, using neocon magical logic, points out that because only a quarter of our NCOs are going nuts that the training and treatment system must be working. Anyone got a barf bag?

Go Read The Whole Thing.

We are rapidly approaching critical human mass. Should the army begin to break in the field there will be terrible consequences.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sully's got a post up today where he notes that the conventional wisdom in the Beltway is that there will be no serious reduction of troops in Iraq in any forseeable future, and that if you assert such you get dismissed as "not serious". He then goes on (not surprisingly, this is Sully after all) to point out that Hillary is more vulnerable to criticism if she reduces troop strength than Obama will be.

In any case, it's obvious the Beltway has no clue what's happening to the Army & Marines.

(Word verification is sflps, the third person verb conjugation of sflp, which is what happens when you slip while wearing flip-flops.)

11:21 AM  
Blogger BadTux said...

"Serious consequences"... fraggings, mutinies, atrocities, ???

11:46 PM  

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