A recent article in the New York Times which was picked up by many other publications indicated that programs designed to help physically and psychologically wounded veterans transition into civilian life is still failing miserably.
The Warrior Transition Unit (WTU) at Fort Carson, Colorado, was the focus of the article, although there are many such units in the country. The WTU’s are supposed to help soldiers wounded in combat transition to civilian life or in some cases return to their units.
Many soldiers assigned to Fort Carson, along with their families, were interviewed regarding their experience in the WTU. Quite often the family had to be interviewed because the soldier had taken his own life. There have been months where more soldiers were lost to suicide than died in combat.
According to the Times article, the WTU’s are “warehouses of despair, where damaged men and women are kept out of sight, fed a diet of powerful prescription pills and treated harshly by Noncommissioned Officers.”
The WTU is commanded by regular army NCO’s. Any person who has served in the military would know that’s a problem. The units should be headed by officers who are doctors, preferably trained in mental health. There should be no regular army NCO’s in charge of wounded troops. It’s not that they do a bad job; it’s that they do what they are trained to do and these soldiers just can’t take any more of it.
These problems have existed throughout our nine years of continuous desert warfare. Today’s soldiers are used up and thrown away like any other worn out piece of gear.
If a Constitution Party administration were in charge of the U.S. military, the promises made to veterans would be kept. The Constitution Party is completely committed to reducing the plight of veterans, wounded and otherwise. The military obviously has many soldiers from Tennessee, including entire National Guard units deployed in combat.
Perhaps it’s time the state governors, including Governor Bredeson, demand that President Obama do something to provide proper care for them. But wait. I forgot that President Obama is the one who demanded they pay for their care with private health insurance. Oh well, never mind.
- Darrell Castle