Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Iraq War's Grimmest Statistics Have Yet to be Reported

The latest body count out of Iraq is somewhere around 2,974 souls. But that was as of a particular time yesterday. The toll is, by now, higher than 9/11. But there's more to "loss of life" than just physical death...esp.when compared with the walking death of OEF/OIF combat-reated Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Since 2005, my friend Ilona Meagher has done some amazing work documenting the the effects of OEF/OIF combat-related PTSD among returning GIs--the alcoholism, violence, chronic unemployment, and emotional devastation of families. A stunning work of citizen journalism, the PTSD Timeline hosted at ePluribus Media has become the most important reference/source of information on what's happening--right now--to our sons, daughters, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, lovers.

(Yes, it's happening to women, too. Let us not forget that.)

A book from her work Moving a Nation to Care: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and America’s Returning Troops. has finally hit the "review copy" status, and is on time for its May '07 release.

It can't come soon enough.

Bodybags are one thing--may they rest in peace. Walking dead are a totally different matter. They don't rest--ever. Nobody deserves that fate.

You can still follow the timeline and follow more stories at Ilona's blog PTSD Combat: Winning the War Within

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Tish,

I was meaning to comment on this post and tell you about a great book about PTSD that came out in 1994 called "Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma And The Undoing Of Character" by Jonathan Shay, a local doctor who worked with Vietnam vets and found that Homer's Iliad had a surprising amount to say about the phenomenon of PTSD and its psychological toll on the soldier. The book -- a collaboration between Shay and Harvard classicist Gregory Nagy -- quickly became required reading in the armed services and helped those working with vets understand the positive role of narrative in the healing process.

Just a few years ago Shay came out with a sequel called "Odysseus In America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming". Although this has made less of a splash, I consider it to be the better of the two books, as it deals specifically with the re-integration of the veteran with peacetime society (and reads the Odyssey primarily through that prism, which I think is simply brilliant in and of itself, not to mention enlightening).

Anyway. A good cause. Thanks for posting this in the first place!