More from Jeff Huber at Pen and Sword. A low-down on the new ubercommander Stanley McChrystal in Afghanistan.
The Toronto Star is doing a series on the mental turmoil of soldiers returning from Afghanistan - the warrant officer who beats up his wife or tries to strangle her in his sleep, the young man who has been charged with assault since his return, the guy who self-medicates just to keep going.
A conventional assessment says that 25% of returning soldiers have mental illnesses that require treatment. One problem. Here, like everywhere else, there aren't enought doctors, nurses and others to help them. Medication is not helping much. Some are just told to "suck it up" by their commanding officers, as the mother of one young man who committed suicide said.
Support the troops, indeed.
The flight path of the planes carrying the bodies of the dead soldiers goes over here quite often. The ground shakes when they rumble over, the air vibrates and sometimes the old limestone that characterises this area rings with the sound. You know that there are relatives waiting, turned to stone by their grief, hoping up until the last minute that maybe it was all a mistake. The last one was only twenty years old.
This is madness.