No Child Left Behind, Christopher Kaufman
The best is yet to come, and won't that be fine
You think you've seen the sun, but you ain't seen it shine
--The Best is Yet to Come, Frank Sinatra
A two-fer under the category "Close the barn door before the horse gets out," courtesy our August VFW magazine:
First, we are told troops are battling bacterial and parasitic infections and diseases, some linked to sand fly bites. More than 600 troops who have had arms or legs amputated were found to have had one of four bacterial infections which are highly resistant to antibiotics.
The Army appropriated $1.6 million in February '07 to a research team at the University of Missouri to study the drug-resistant infections. Study leader James Calhoun said, "Ultimately, this research could mean fewer extremity infections, fewer surgeries and fewer amputations." Why are they looking into this on the back end?
About 2,500 troops have contracted leishmaniasis, a disease is characterized by reddish skin ulcers, and which can attack internal organs and become fatal, if untreated.
"The military recommends the troops use bed nets to ward off the flies. . .Troops also are urged to use the insect repellent DEET. . ." So you may choose your poison, as DEET is a powerful neurotoxin in its own right.
Why the sheepish mention now of "3,000 troops serving in Iraq or Afghanistan [who] have "gotten sick" from these bacterial strains and parasites? The knowledge of insect-borne disease in this region is not a news flash. Special Forces Area Study Handbooks have reported on them since at least the mid-1960's.
It is 2007, and the military is only now getting around to address the issue? Has anybody got his hand on the rudder, or is our warship completely at the mercy of the current? Perhaps if the folks in Washington were the ones getting sick from these pesky flies, and having their body parts lopped off as a result, they might step up the tempo.
Medical eventualities should be a pre-planning issue rather than an afterthought. Isn't that why the Area Studies and Handbooks are commissioned? These should be required reading before, rather than after, the start of an elective war.
Second, a report on the "Crude" Handling of PTSD veterans includes a sidebar article entitled, "Shortage of Psychologists 'Alarming'."
The American Psychological Association reported in April '07 a "40% shortage of active duty clinical psychologists" and an "alarming pace" of attrition, with the total number of active-duty psychologists in the armed forces having dropped to a meager total of 350.
It is criminal to start an elective war without the necessary medical assets to adequately support the troops in a realistic manner. Psychologists are a necessary medical asset.