For roughly five years the military has been promising to deal humanely with veterans returning from combat with PTSD or brain damage.
Some in command didn't get it. Some soldiers were harassed for seeking mental counseling. A few killed fellow soldiers or civilians.
Many didn't report their problems because they wanted to stay in the Army so they could fight alongside their friends.
Meanwhile, the military insisted it was doing the right thing. Speaking privately, some officers would tell reporters right after these briefings that the PTSD crowd was made up of cowards.
It brings to mind Gen. George S. Patton walking through an infirmary tent and slapping a soldier in the face and accusing him of being a coward. Who knows, perhaps Patton himself was a victim of PTSD.
While the main military line was that PTSD is real and needed to be treated, another story line emerged. It appeared only three months ago, arguing that false claims of PTSD could cost the country billions.
Congress didn't buy it. "Less than half of the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans diagnosed with PTSD are receiving benefits from the VA," said Rep. John Hall, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee's disability assistance panel, Army Times reported.
Now the military has decided to make it easier for PTSD victims to navigate the VA halls to get the care they need.
The military will no longer require victims to prove they suffered the psychiatric injury in a battle. Imagine the bullets are flying and a soldier is expect to keep notes, perhaps even use an iPhone app to record the violence.
They will still have to prove that they were in Iraq or Afghanistan, or one of those secret places we send special forces.
That is based on the assumption that if a soldier was not downrange then he/she couldn't have suffered PTSD. Interesting considering that a significant number of soldiers who committed suicide had never been deployed.
Also, there are documented cases of soldiers suffering brain damage in training. No realistic examination can be made of PTSD without considering possible brain damage.
Yes, there is treatment for brain damage. And there are new devices, such as the brain spect, that are extremely accurate it in detecting it.
An independent medical board should be set up to to guarantee the best treatment and keep costs under control. Most importantly, the country needs to know what the wars are truly costing us.