Saturday, March 13, 2004

The lighter, more mobile, more easily deployed and seriously understaffed Army 

Army sent mentally ill troops to Iraq

By Mark Benjamin

WASHINGTON, March 12 (UPI) -- The Army appears to have "inappropriately" deployed soldiers to Iraq who already were diagnosed with mental problems, according to documents obtained by United Press International.

More than two dozen suicides by U.S. troops in Iraq, and hundreds of medical evacuations for psychiatric problems, have raised concerns about the mental health of soldiers in Operation Iraqi Freedom. An Army Medical Department after-action report obtained by UPI suggests that the Army sent some soldiers to war who were mentally unfit in the first place.

"Variability in predeployment screening guidelines for mental health issues may have resulted in some soldiers with mental health diagnoses being inappropriately deployed," the report said. That could "create the impression that some soldiers develop problems in theater, when, in some cases, they actually have pre-existing conditions."

The October 2003 report said the Army should consider quickly changing course to prevent deploying more soldiers with mental problems. In a massive troop rotation now under way, more than 100,000 troops are heading to the region.

Well, then, I guess they'd better stop that troop rotation and make sure they don't make THAT mistake again...

Yeah, right.


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