<\body> Stories in America: The Military is Sending Sick Soldiers to War

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Military is Sending Sick Soldiers to War

Why isn't the liberal media giving this issue as much attention as it continues to give Kerry's "botched" joke? Why aren't the people with yellow ribbons on their cars raising hell about this? One day, people will realize they've been lied to in the worst possible way.

This was written by Nina Berman, author of Purple Hearts: Back From Iraq.
The government's own military doctors knew that Spc. Anthony Vanderpool was mentally unbalanced. He had been admitted to the Bronx and Manhattan Veterans hospitals for major depressive disorder, dizziness, spells, auditory hallucinations and suicidal ideation, according to his V.A. records.

And this was before he even went to Iraq.

"I have a lot of anger. I never should have gone, " said Vanderpool, a Army National Guardsmen with 16 years prior service in the Army, Army reserves, Navy, Navy reserves and Air Force. "They didn't care. They wanted me because I was infantry," he said.

Vanderpool spent 10 months in Iraq on meds, not sleeping, depressed, paranoid, suicidal until he finally "spun out of control," forcing his command to acknowledge that he was too sick to be in a war zone. Off he went to Ft. Polk, La., for five months of medical treatment, and in December 2005, he was honorably discharged due to a "personality disorder."

Since then, he has been living a marginal life in Bay Shore, N.Y., single, no children, unemployed, finding himself increasingly isolated and depressed, and vomiting almost daily. He has been hospitalized for attempted suicide, and a recent review of his medical records show that was prescribed a daily dose of Zoloft for depression, Seroquel and Buspirone for anxiety, Zolmitripitan for migraines and Omeprazole for acid reflux. He attends a Veterans Administration post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) outpatient program twice a week.

Vanderpool's story is not unique

"The DOD admits they are sending mentally unfit soldiers into combat in Iraq," said Steve Robinson of Veterans for America. "This is not supposed to happen; the military should not have deployed this veteran to the war; what were they thinking and what does it say about the overstretched military?"

In May, the Hartford Courant reported that service members with preexisting PTSD were being sent back to Iraq, and some of those afflicted had committed suicide.

The situation galvanized Sens. Boxer, Kennedy, Lieberman and Clinton to sponsor an amendment to the last Defense Appropriations Bill in June calling for more thorough mental health screening, evaluation and detailed guidelines on what precludes deployment to a combat zone.

But the final legislation, passed in mid-October, dropped an original provision that would have required screeners to take a mental health history and refer a service member to a specialist if the service member indicates a mental health issue prior to deployment.


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