The realities of modern 4th generation warfare sees heavily armed and armored American soldiers with generally excellent logistical and medical support (compared to previous wars) in contact with often stateless and uniformless enemy forces, who have adapted their tactics away from small arms to focus more on IED ambushes.
That of course is a gross simplification, but the general flow of arms development is better armor and IED detection systems on our side, and bigger explosive devices on their side that are often resorting back to lower-tech command or pressure-detonated devices since our technological advantages can often defeat devices using radio triggers (which includes cell phones).
The good news: more American troops are surviving bomb blasts that would have seen them and their vehicles almost vaporized and the troops inside killed outright just 10 years ago.
The bad news: troops that would have been occupying a grave ten years ago often survive, but suffer life-changing traumatic brain injuries that alter their personalities, and the military is now abusing so many veterans with these sorts of injuries.
Incredibly, since the government doesn’t want to deal with these head injuries, they’re using the personality disorders that are a direct result of their injuries as an excuse to throw veterans out of the military with other-than-honorable discharges, so that they don’t have to take care of the wounded:
Alvaro joined the Army at age 18 in 2008. In Afghanistan in 2009, he was hit by multiple bomb blasts, including one that threw him across a road like a lawn dart. Sophisticated armor helped him escape with just bruises, but the blasts battered his brain. Ever since, he has been hit with heart spasms and seizures.
Alvaro is in many ways the typical modern disabled veteran. He survived combat with barely a scratch but later was diagnosed with what have become the most common wounds of a decade of war — traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, which together likely affect more than half a million veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, the Department of Defense said.
What happened when he came home is increasingly typical, too. At Fort Carson, the damaged soldier racked up punishments for being late to formation, missing appointments, getting in an argument and not showing up for work. These behaviors can be symptoms of TBI and PTSD, and Army doctors recommended Alvaro go to a special battalion for wounded warriors. Instead, his battalion put him in jail, then threw him out of the Army with an other-than honorable discharge that stripped him of veterans benefits. He was sent packing without even the medicine to stop his convulsions.
“It was like my best friend betrayed me,” Alvaro said at the hospital, his speech as slow as cold oil. “I had given the Army everything, and they took everything away.”
After the longest period of war in American history, more soldiers are being discharged for misconduct than at any time in recent history, and soldiers with the most combat exposure are the hardest hit. A Gazette investigation based on data obtained through the Freedom of Information Act shows the annual number of misconduct discharges is up more than 25 percent Army-wide since 2009, mirroring the rise in wounded. At the eight Army posts that house most of the service’s combat units, including Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, misconduct discharges have surged 67 percent. All told, more than 76,000 soldiers have been kicked out of the Army since 2006. They end up in cities large and small across the country, in hospitals and homeless shelters, abandoned trailers and ratty apartments, working in gas fields and at the McDonald’s counter. The Army does not track how many, like Alvaro, were kicked out with combat wounds.
It doesn’t take serious misconduct to be discharged and lose a lifetime of benefits. The Gazette found troops cut loose for small offenses that the Army acknowledges can be symptoms of TBI and PTSD. Some soldiers missed formation a handful of times or smoked marijuana once. Some were discharged for showing up late or missing appointments. Some tested positive once for drugs, then were deployed to combat zones because the Army needed the troops, only to be discharged for the drug offense when they returned.
One two-tour infantry soldier was targeted for discharge after missing three doctor appointments because he had been admitted to a psychiatric hospital for being suicidal.
They are using men and women up, and throwing them out onto the street after they chose to sacrifice their all in defense of this nation. This is in my mind every bit as offensive (if not more so) than the Pigford reparations scam, the IRS’s intimidation tactics, the DOJ’s various assaults on the First, Second, and Fourth Amendments, the supplying of arms to narco-terrorists in Mexico and al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists in Libya and Syria, the betrayal of diplomats and operators in Benghazi, and the President’s constant whine that he doesn’t know what his government is doing on his behalf.
Heads should roll among our leadership, starting with Chuck Hagel (Secretary of Defense) and Eric K. Shinseki (Secretary of Veterans Affairs). If not a Bonus Army-type march on the Capitol seems warranted… and hopefully with less-shameful results.