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Subject:  Military Vets Gitting Hosed? Date:  3/12/2012  10:59 PM
Author:  tjscott0 Number:  611529 of 874833

It looks like some with PTSD are being hosed.

In recent weeks, questions about whether the Army manipulates psychiatric diagnoses to save money have been raised at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Wash., where soldiers undergoing medical evaluations before discharge complained that psychiatrists rescinded PTSD diagnoses, leaving the soldiers with diagnoses like personality disorder that did not qualify them for medical discharges.

In a memorandum, an Army ombudsman wrote that a doctor from the base hospital, Madigan Army Medical Center, said that one diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder can cost $1.5 million in benefits over a soldier’s lifetime. The doctor also counseled his colleagues to be good stewards of taxpayer money by not “rubber-stamping” such diagnoses.

In the wake of those complaints, the Army has removed the head of Madigan and suspended two doctors at a special forensic psychiatric unit. It has also reviewed the cases of 14 soldiers and reinstituted PTSD diagnoses for 6 of them.

The military is downsizing & RIFing personnel. It could be that the resulting force will be less combat effective.

Already, senior army officials are talking openly about putting more emphasis on marching and similar drills, as well as greater attention to wearing uniforms correctly and saluting every time you are supposed to. More effort will be directed at improving appearances. On the positive side there will be growing emphasis on being physically fit, with more soldiers discharged for being too fat or unable to pass the physical fitness test.

But overall, emphasis will shift from being combat ready to appearing (especially to politicians and the media) combat ready. The troops call this "mickey mouse" (or a lot of less printable phrases).

It was noted as far back as World War II, when detailed records of troop performance were first compiled and analyzed, that some troops were worth making an effort to keep. But there were problems. A disproportionate number of troops that excelled in combat also had disciplinary problems when off the battlefield. The conventional wisdom was that someone with a "taste for combat" also lacked respect for authority or an inclination to look and act like a "good soldier" should. Research since World War II has shown that risk-taking behavior is the basis of brave acts, as well as criminal ones, drug use, and addiction to things like gambling and dangerous sports. The "best people" for combat are not best suited for peacetime military service. Thus it is likely that the most capable combat troops and leaders will get RIFed, while their more tractable, if less combat worthy, comrades will be encouraged to stay.

I wonder if these most effective combat troops should be cut loose as our country seem intent on ramping up fer an Iran adventure.
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