National Security Brief: Report Says Vets Lack Adequate Care Upon Returning From War

A new study released on Tuesday by the Institute of Medicine found that the Department of Defense and the Veterans Affairs Departments are not providing adequate care for the 44 percent of U.S. troops returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who have “reported difficulties after they returned,” such as mental and physical ailments.

“Although several federal agencies are actively trying to address the support needs of current and former service members deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan as well as their families, the response has been slow and has not matched the magnitude of this population’s requirements as many cope with a complex set of health, economic, and other challenges,” said report co-author George Rutherford.

Among its findings, the report said the VA and DOD should properly assess whether certain treatments for returning troops are effective and that they should “link and integrate” their databases to track personnel issues more closely. The report also said DOD and the VA should “expand its definition of family” to include unmarried partners, same sex couples, single parents and stepfamilies and it questioned the DOD’s policy that bans preventing vets access to private weapons “even if a service member is at risk from suicide.”

In other news:

  • The Wall Street Journal reports: Israel’s apology to Turkey over a deadly 2010 raid will boost cooperation over Syria’s civil war, but it also has a compelling economic incentive: the possible export of billions of dollars of Israeli natural gas to Turkey and beyond, say analysts and officials.
  • Britain’s Channel 4 news program aired a grim report this week from the Syrian city of Aleppo, where rebels have been engaged in a fierce battle with government forces for total control of Syria’s largest city. The report highlights the role children are playing in caring for wounded rebel fighters in mostly deplorable conditions. “In the beginning, when I saw blood, I would shiver and be frightened but now I see blood as water I don’t have any problem when I see it,” one child caregiver said. Watch the report (warning: very graphic scenes):

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