Wednesday, July 21, 2004

The costs of war

The New York Times reported last Sunday that "10 soldiers age 50 or older have died in the Iraq war,"
some of medical ailments that might have excluded them from earlier conflicts, others under fire in the heat of battle. That is a small percentage of the nearly 900 American service members who have died since the Iraq war began, but it is 10 times the percentage of men in that age group who died in Vietnam. It is nearly as many as those of that age who died in the entire Korean War.
That was sobering news. Then I read David Baum's excellent piece in the New Yorker about the mental health issues of soldiers in Iraq, how the military doesn't entirely want to deal with them, and yet how the Army recently released a new study "which found that roughly sixteen per cent of Iraq veterans suffer from P.T.S.D. or depression; of these, fewer than forty per cent have sought professional help."

So when I stumbled across the news that John Wicks, a 68-year-old psychiatrist, is being deployed to Iraq, I felt both shock, and awe....and respect.

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