On the Front Lines: Better Living Through Chemistry

We reported on the growing use of prescription drugs by troops in Afghanistan and Iraq more than three years ago. The Pentagon is finally catching up. It wants to spend $23 million next year for drug testing to make sure troops aren’t illicitly taking legal drugs like Valium and Vicodin.

But the House Appropriations Committee has …

Long Time Gone

This is, of course, the title of a David Crosby song featured on the eponymous 1969 album Crosby, Stills and Nash. And more than just riffing on the title of my colleague Mark Thompson’s post from earlier today, it also describes the sensation I had during a meeting held at the Library of Congress for authors and historians as an …

PTSD and Veterans: Jobs Are What Is Needed

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been a controversial diagnosis since its inception. Originally called by many names (“compensation neurosis”), it was not officially given the name PTSD until well after the end of the Vietnam War. By then, many veterans with PTSD also were bedeviled with substance abuse, joblessness, and …

Reinforcements Dispatched to Afghanistan to Salvage Soldiers’ Brains

The battle against the never-ending detonations of roadside bombs in Afghanistan — which is killing, as well as maiming, thousands of U.S. troops each year — has signed up two new recruits: a pair of state-of-the-art MRI machines are going to begin operating in Afghanistan in hopes of detecting, and treating, traumatic brain …

79 Battle Stars? That’s a Lot of B.S.’ing

Sure, guys claiming to have earned war medals but never served in combat are scum. So what do you call guys who never served in combat, claim war-hero status, claim they were disabled because of their service — and use those fake wounds to plunder $6.8 million from the Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business Program? Well, in …

Dr. Frankenstein — or Military Miracle Worker?

A U.S. military doctor deployed to Iraq subjected troops suffering from traumatic brain injuries to treatment with an unapproved drug, in which he had a financial stake, that may have harmed them, Pentagon investigators report. But a colleague of the doctor insists the probe is a perplexing witch hunt — and that the medication helps …

The Third Rail: Guns and Suicide in the Army

As a top Army psychiatrist until last year, I always found the Army’s silence about guns’ role in our rising suicide rate disquieting. The Army is committed to lowering the rate of suicide. But there’s a curious third rail that is seldom publicly discussed: the risks of suicide by firearm. Approximately 70 percent of Army and …

Up On the Net

Before I introduce myself, I want to thank all of the readers of this column for your kind words about my first post. David Self was a wonderful person and a dedicated NCO. Men and women like him are the backbone of our armed forces; they do the tough business in training and in combat. We lose them far too often and it’s always …

Progress: Women and Men Show Equal Mental Resilience in War Zones

Apparently war is an equal-opportunity destroyer, screwing up female troops’ minds as much — pretty much no more, no less — than those belonging to their male comrades. That’s the bottom line in a new study trying to contrast the mental wounds of war in both genders.

“Study findings suggest that both exposure to combat-related …

Some Wars Never End

News from the Pentagon Tuesday afternoon:

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors. Air Force Capt. Darrell J. Spinler of Browns

An Ex-GI Trains Libyan Rebels How To Fight

Fascinating piece by Steven Sotloff in Benghazi about a beefy and cigar-chomping former U.S. soldier training Libyan rebels how to fight:

The selling of military expertise by foreign privateers, or mercenaries, is known as the world’s second oldest profession. But [Jerry] Erwin insists motives are more altruistic and that he is not

Vietnam’s Lessons…and Afghanistan

Colonel Gregory A. Daddis is the author of No Sure Victory: Measuring U.S. Army Effectiveness and Progress in the Vietnam War, published by Oxford University Press. Daddis teaches history at the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York. He has served in a variety of Army command and staff posts around the world and in …

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