If you think the Walter Reed scandal was bad

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If you think the Walter Reed scandal was bad…

I read an article in the Nation tonight that talks about the rash of military discharges of wounded Iraq war veterans, in order, it seems to save the VA money on benefits.

The article, How Specialist Town Lost His Benefits, by Joshua Kors, highlights a previously unreported practice of discharging wounded soldiers as having a personality disorder, which happens to be one of the ways a soldier can be discharged and not be eligible for any future benefits.

The article highlighted the case of Jon Town, from Findlay, Ohio, who was seriously wounded, in 2004, when a rocket slammed into a wall 2 feet above his head. Since then he has suffered from deafness, memory failure and depression. In 2006 it was determined that he would never recover enough to go back to active duty.

But instead of sending Town to a medical board and discharging him because of his injuries, doctors at Fort Carson, Colorado, did something strange: They claimed Town’s wounds were actually caused by a “personality disorder.” Town was then booted from the Army and told that under a personality disorder discharge, he would never receive disability or medical benefits.

Town is not alone. A six-month investigation has uncovered multiple cases in which soldiers wounded in Iraq are suspiciously diagnosed as having a personality disorder, then prevented from collecting benefits. The conditions of their discharge have infuriated many in the military community, including the injured soldiers and their families, veterans’ rights groups, even military officials required to process these dismissals.

They say the military is purposely misdiagnosing soldiers like Town and that it’s doing so for one reason: to cheat them out of a lifetime of disability and medical benefits, thereby saving billions in expenses.

How Specialist Town Lost His Benefits

Not only did Town lose his disability pay or chance to receive long-term VA medical care, but he left the Army actually owing $3000 when they took back his $15,000 bonus.

The article reports that up to 22,500 soldiers have been discharged for a “personality disorder” in the past 6 years with a sharp increase since the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The US once again shafts veterans.


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3 thoughts on “If you think the Walter Reed scandal was bad

  1. pat

    This is somewhat tangential, but i think deserves a thought anyway —
    considering the fact that the military has "loosened" its qualifications for entering the service, they might have a point that some of their soldiers have personality disorders that pre-date military service, but that would be beside the point, woudn't it?
    As far as I'm concerned, if the military takes someone in, trains them in boot camp, and sends them off to war, the miltary must take responsibility for taking care of those soldiers, even if they DO have a pre-existing condition. If the government doesn't find the problem before they send someone into battle, too bad for the government. There's no Get Out of Jail Free card, at that point.
    BUT, from what I read, the government is not only refusing to take care of battle veterans who have pre-existing conditions, they're classifying bona fide battle injuries as pre-existing conditions, and that's a disgrace. Makes you so ashamed of what your country does in your name — sending people off to get hurt and then dumping them when they're no good behind the gun anymore. Bleah.

  2. Chaz

    This is such utter crap. We should be pushing the network news, Wash Post, LA Times, NY Times, USA Today, whoever to splash this story on their front pages and early in the newscasts. The first big news organization that reports it, gets the scoop, they have the incentive.

    Screwing over badly wounded veterans with head trauma with a "personality disorder diagnosis"? I used to be a Republican, and while I'd still never vote for Hillary (though I'd back Obama), I've come to hate the GOP for this crap. I thought Walter Reed was bad, this is disgusting. This needs to get much more airplay on the networks, to fight against the BS censorship that's effectively being imposed on it.

  3. Bruce

    I don't mean to sound all anti-US, but I've always been of the opinion that the US military neglects the welfare of its soldiers. Still, this is shocking news to me even!

    Personality disorders are commonplace for people dropped into traumatic experiences. Geez! What's next?

    Discharged for losing limbs?

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