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(Cross-posted from NION)

It's all over the news by now... Just released... The fourth of the Mental Health Reports (OIF).

Specifically Mental Health Advisory Team IV Information

So lets take a look through the report... (pdf)

As General Sherman once said, "War is Hell"... So, first up... From page 14-15:

The war in Iraq remains very personal (see Figure 2b). Over three-quarters of Soldiers and Marines surveyed reported being in situations where they could be seriously injured or killed. Both Soldiers and Marines report at relatively high rates that they knew someone seriously injured or killed or had a member of their team become a casualty, 62% and 66% respectively. Indeed, on the survey, over 650 Soldiers/Marines described an event which occurred during the current deployment that caused them "intense fear, helplessness or horror." Typical comments included:

  • "My sergeant's leg getting blown off."

  • "Friends burned to death, one killed in blast."

  • "Motars coming into your position and not being able to move."

  • "A Bradley blew up. We got two guys out, three were still inside. I was the medic."

  • "A friend was liquified [sic] in the driver's position on a tank, and I saw everything."

  • "A huge fucking bomb blew my friends head off like 50m from me."

  • "Marines being buried alive."

  • "After my Bradley hit an IED, the drivers [sic] hatch wouldn't open and smoke started filling the interior."

  • "Ambush on patrol & Marines caught in the open."

  • "Doing raids on houses with bad intel."

  • "Convoy stopped in dangerous areas due to incompetent commanders."

  • "Working to clean out body parts from a blown up tank."

  • "Fear that I might not see my wife again like my fallen comrades."

  • "Finding out two of my buddies died and knowing I could do nothing about it."

  • "Getting blown up or shot in the head."

  • "Just seeing dead people on a lot of missions."

  • "I had to police up my friends off the ground because they got blown up."

  • "Mortar attacks, lost a close Marine."

  • "My best friend lost his legs in an IED incident."

  • "Seeing, smelling, touching dead, blowen [sic] up people."

  • "Sniper fire without obvious sorce [sic]."

Next on page 15 is Figure 2b. Combat experiences of Soldiers and Marines during OIF 05-07 compared to Soldiers during OIF I and 04-06.

The stats from that figure for are:

Knew someone seriously injured or killed: Marines 62% Soldiers 66%

(OIF 04-06 76%, OIF I 72%)

Having a member of your own unit become a casualty: Marines 52% Soldiers 53%

(OIF 04-06 52%, OIF I 57%)

Seeing dead or seriously injured Americans: Marines 41% Soldiers 42%

(OIF 04-06 52%, OIF I 62%)

Being directly responsible for the death of an enemy combatant: Marines 14% Soldiers 13%

(OIF 04-06 11%, OIF I 19%)

Now apply these statistics to the quotes above...


Next up... On page 35 are the stats that have been getting all the news:

Figure 16. Soldier and Marine attitudes towards the treatment of insurgents and non-combatants.

This is a new survey so there are no comparisons to previous years...

The stats:

All non-combatants should be treated with dignity and respect: Marines 38% Soldiers 47%

All non-combatants should be treated as insurgents: Marines 17% Soldiers 17%

Torture should be allowed if it will save the life of a Soldier/Marine: Marines 44% Soldiers 41%

Torture should be allowed in order to gather important info about insurgents: 39% 36%

I would risk my own safety to help a non-combatant in danger: 24% 25%

That looks pretty bad doesn't it? Get this though, I can't find any recent polls, but...

According to a a poll from 2004 and a poll from a poll from 2006: 34%-36% of US citizens support torture.

Even worse is this 2005 poll:

Survey by Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Oct. 12-24, 2005; nationwide survey conducted among 2,006 adults

Do you think the use of torture against suspected terrorists in order to gain important information can often be justified, sometimes be justified, rarely be justified, or never be justified?

Often: 15%

Sometimes: 31%

Rarely: 17%

Never: 32%

Don't know/refused: 5%

Often + Sometimes, 15% + 31% = 46%

46% without even adding the 17% for rarely. That's above the 44% (Marines) and 41% (Soldiers) that think torture is justified to save the life of a comrade at arms...

Considering that they're living in a total cluster-fuck of a war-zone those soldiers come off looking pretty damn good in comparison don't they?..

The only thing is, that they actually have a chance to act on those beliefs unlike the chickenhawks...

Think on that for a moment...

Originally posted to kraant on Sat May 05, 2007 at 12:30 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It doesn't look good (9+ / 0-)

    Soldiers and Marines have greater risk of Mental Health problems depending on:

    length of deployment
    multiple deployments
    lack of R&R
    combat exposure

    It seems that President Bush didn't get this memo aince he is extending their deployments, exposing them all to combat and redeploying them over and over.

    But that is hardly as important as not placing "artificial" timelines on the Iraq War!

    Better the occasional faults of a party living in the spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a party frozen in the ice of its own indifference-JFK

    by vcmvo2 on Sat May 05, 2007 at 12:40:49 PM PDT

  •  from the VVA (8+ / 0-)

    The essential feature of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is the development of characteristic symptoms following exposure to an extreme traumatic stressor involving direct personal experience of an event that involves actual or threatened death or serious injury, or other threat to one's physical integrity; or witnessing an event that involves death, injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of another person, or learning about unexpected or violent death, serious harm, or threat of death or injury experienced by a family member or other close associate (Criterion A1). The person's response to the event must involve intense fear, helplessness, or horror (or in children, the response must involve disorganized or agitated behavior) (Criterion A2). The characteristic symptoms resulting from the exposure to the extreme trauma include persistent re-experiencing of the traumatic event (Criterion B), persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma and numbing of general responsiveness (Criterion C), and persistent symptoms of increased arousal (Criterion D). The full symptom picture must be present for more than 1 month (Criterion E), and the disturbance must cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning (Criterion F).

    VVA is a great organisation, these are the folks helping my VA claim, for any vet kossacks looking for help, our older Vietnam brothers and sisters are looking out for us:

    For those of the civilian American public, if you chose to do right by us, it is going to be very expensive.  It's not our fault, rather it is the fault of those who chose an unneccessary war.

    The law was made for one thing alone, for the exploitation of those who don't understand it, or are prevented by naked misery from obeying it. -Bertolt Brecht

    by Jeffersonian Democrat on Sat May 05, 2007 at 12:42:07 PM PDT

    •  Not to mention the problems... (10+ / 0-)

      With brains getting scrambled from rattling around inside skulls...


      Something that often doesn't get noticed, or is just put down to a mental problem...

      And then there are all the disabling injuries...

      The chronic pain that will result...

      And then imagine the Iraqis who are going to be stuck in the artificially created hellhole with no first world country to come home to, that will at least pretend to look after them...


      •  You are right (5+ / 0-)

        But I cannot even accept your challange of thinking of the Iraqis.  The VA has serious problems, but they have nothing of the sort.  Not only is it logical that their soldiers would suffer, but really the whole goddamn populace.  I just cannot imagine from the Iraqi perspective, it is just to massive for me to try and comprehend.

        But I do predict one thing, the blowback from this will last decades.

        The law was made for one thing alone, for the exploitation of those who don't understand it, or are prevented by naked misery from obeying it. -Bertolt Brecht

        by Jeffersonian Democrat on Sat May 05, 2007 at 12:50:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Before the war started, (5+ / 0-)

          I went to Senator Evan Bayh's office (D-Indiana) with the MoveOn organization.  He did not meet with us, but a young staffer did.  I told her that if we go to war in Iraq, "it will be decades--decades!--before anyone in the Muslim world will trust the United States again.  If they ever do."

          Yes, the domestic and international "blow back" will last decades.  Goodness, a lot of people in the Islamic world are still angry about the Crusades!

          To say my fate is not tied to your fate is like saying, "Your end of the boat is sinking."--Hugh Downs

          by Dar Nirron on Sat May 05, 2007 at 03:07:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Did you notice ... (11+ / 0-)

    ... in the figures and tables, they label the current survey as 05/07 even though the survey was conducted in October of 2006 and prepared in November?  Release before Bush decided to escalate would have been most inconvenient.  

    From the raw percentages, it appears that anger, having a buddy killed, or having to handle casualties nearly doubles the rate of unethical acts.  Also, that the report recommendations for shortening lengths of combat deployments, increased respites, and increased post-deployment recovery time are directly contrary to the practices of DoD, which has shortened intervals between deployments and increased lengths of deployment to 15 months.  

    A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. - Aristotle

    by DWG on Sat May 05, 2007 at 12:47:08 PM PDT

  •  Great work! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    splashy, YetiMonk, ek hornbeck, kraant

    I wonder what the soldiers/marines think of when they think of a non-combatant?  Does the test set up an implicit contrast between usually adult male insurgents and unusally adult male non-combatants? Or not?

    The low figures for treating non-combatants as insurgents might be because the "all" reminds them that that includes women and children.  If so, we don't really know what their attitudes towards adult males are.  

    "False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil." Plato

    by JPete on Sat May 05, 2007 at 01:15:25 PM PDT

    •  Believe it or not... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      YetiMonk, marina, Rippen Kitten

      That's a good thing... A war-mentality is what justifies aggression against women and children...

      You see quite a lot of it on teh intarwebs... :/

      It shows they're not too far gone...

      As to the methodology... There's a lot of data we're missing from the report:

      From page 34:

      Battlefield Ethical Actions and Decisions was assessed using 5 questions designed to assess how often a Soldier or Marine engaged in specific actions on the battlefield; responses were scored on a scale from Never, One Time, Two Times, Three or Four Times to Five or More Times; sample items included, "Insulted and/pr cursed non-combatants in their presence" and "Witnessed the brutality/mistreatment of a non-combatant by a unit member." Reporting Ethics Violations was assessed using 6 questions scored on a five-point scale ranging from Strongly Disagree(1) to Neither Agree or Disagree(3) to Strongly Agree(5); sample items included, "I would report a unit member fr the mistreatment of a non-combatant" and "I would report a unit member for not following General Orders." Battlefield Ethics Training was assessed using 5 questions regarding how well the Soldier or Marine felt trained in battlefield ethics, using a "Yes" or "No" response; sample items used included, "The training I received in the proper (ethical) treatment of non-combatants was adequate" and "I encountered ethical situations in Iraq in which I didn't know how to respond."

      •  Thanks. Nice (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        points and answers.  Somehow I missed out on your reply until now.

        "False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil." Plato

        by JPete on Sun May 06, 2007 at 02:28:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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