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Pentagon Casts Report Of Increased Combat Stress Among Troops As Positive News

By Faiz Shakir on May 5, 2007 at 1:06 am

"Pentagon Casts Report Of Increased Combat Stress Among Troops As Positive News"

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A disturbing Pentagon report finds that the more often soldiers are deployed, the more likely they are to “suffer mental health problems such as combat trauma, anxiety and depression.” The Washington Post reports some of the findings about the impact combat stress is having on the troops:

More than one-third of U.S. soldiers in Iraq surveyed by the Army said they believe torture should be allowed if it helps gather important information about insurgents, the Pentagon disclosed yesterday. Four in 10 said they approve of such illegal abuse if it would save the life of a fellow soldier.

In addition, about two-thirds of Marines and half the Army troops surveyed said they would not report a team member for mistreating a civilian or for destroying civilian property unnecessarily. “Less than half of Soldiers and Marines believed that non-combatants should be treated with dignity and respect,” the Army report stated.

Acting Army Surgeon Maj. Gen. Gale Pollock characterized the report as positive news, telling reporters: “What it speaks to is the leadership that the military is providing, because they’re not acting on those thoughts. They’re not torturing the people.”

A livid Lou Dobbs reacted to Pollack’s statement with outrage:

This leadership is putting our men and women, the finest young people we’ve ever put in uniform, into absolutely impossible situations and then taking credit for them not living out their statements on some sort of bureaucratic psychiatric form? I mean, that is despicable.

[...]

[H]ow in the world can the leadership in that building…sit there and compliment themselves and those officers while they were extending their tours to 15 months and putting them in the most impossible of situations?

Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/05/dobbsmc.320.240.flv]

Transcript:

DOBBS: Yes. Jamie, do you know, when I heard that woman say that it was a statement to the leadership of the United States military that these soldiers and these Marines are not acting on these thoughts, it was a great testament to leadership, it is exactly the opposite.

This leadership is putting our men and women, the finest young people we’ve ever put in uniform, into absolutely impossible situations and then taking credit for them not living out their statements on some sort of bureaucratic psychiatric form? I mean, that is despicable.

MCINTYRE: Well, what she was saying there is it that it’s certainly understandable that people who are on the battlefield facing an enemy of trying to kill them in the most brutal way would have thoughts about torture or whatever.

DOBBS: Absolutely.

MCINTYRE: But…

DOBBS: So how in the world can the leadership in that building in which you sit, sit there and compliment themselves and those officers while they were extending their tours to 15 months and putting them in the most impossible of situations?

MCINTYRE: Well, what they’re saying is, despite all of that pressure they’re still performing very well. The — most soldiers are not…

DOBBS: Absolutely. But that’s a credit to our soldiers and our Marines in the field, and not to the leadership, either civilian or military. Particularly the general staff, in my opinion.

MCINTYRE: I will leave it to you to assign the credit.

DOBBS: I just did, partner.

MCINTYRE: All right.

DOBBS: Jamie, thank you very much.

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