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In his new piece at The Nation, New Study Demands Zero-Tolerance for Military Sexual Assault, George Zornick writes about key findings of one part of the newly released 794-page Returning Home from Iraq and Afghanistan: Assessment of Readjustment Needs of Veterans, Service Members, and Their Families. An excerpt:

Female veterans who suffered a sexual assault in the military are nine times more likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder compared to other female veterans, and military officials must do more to prevent these assaults—these are the conclusions of a gripping new government report on the hardships faced by troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
George Zornick

Mandated by the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act, the 794-page study from the Institute of Medicine is a product of over four years of intense research into what troops face as they return from Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s a gripping portrait of post-traumatic stress disorders among some troops, along with traumatic brain injuries, barriers to healthcare, and problems re-adjusting to family and society. [...]

The study found extremely high rates of military sexual trauma, both in men and women. About 48,100 women and 43,700 men reported suffering military sexual trauma, the authors note.

These relatively even numbers are a useful reminder that sexual assault in the military happens not only to women, but men—as was demonstrated at a powerful Senate hearing last week. But women comprise only 14 percent of active-duty military, so even raw numbers don’t reflect the fact that women, in much greater proportions, are the victims of military sexual assault. Over 21 percent of female troops reported military sexual trauma, compared to under 2 percent of men.

And many more assaults no doubt go unreported. The study points to research suggesting as much as 45 percent of female troops experience military sexual trauma. Elsewhere, the Department of Defense estimates that 86.5 percent of violent sexual assaults go unreported.

The study focuses on what these traumas mean for female veteran’s health: as noted, it concludes that women who have suffered a sexual assault in the military are nine times more likely to develop PTSD than female veterans with no history of sexual abuse. Female victims are also at much greater risk for a wide variety of other problems upon return: anxiety, depression, substance abuse and family troubles.

These results explicitly control for other factors that lead to PTSD. Contrary to many conservative talking points when Obama lifted the restriction on women in combat, the research cited in this study found that women handle combat-related stress just as well as men—military sexual trauma is a singular factor bumping up the prevalence of PTSD among women. [...]


Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2003Selling the public an easy war:

From Meet the Press, March 16. […]

MR. RUSSERT: If your analysis is not correct, and we’re not treated as liberators, but as conquerors, and the Iraqis begin to resist, particularly in Baghdad, do you think the American people are prepared for a long, costly, and bloody battle with significant American casualties?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, I don’t think it’s likely to unfold that way, Tim, because I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators. I’ve talked with a lot of Iraqis in the last several months myself, had them to the White House. The president and I have met with them, various groups and individuals, people who have devoted their lives from the outside to trying to change things inside Iraq. And like Kanan Makiya who’s a professor at Brandeis, but an Iraqi, he’s written great books about the subject, knows the country intimately, and is a part of the democratic opposition and resistance. The read we get on the people of Iraq is there is no question but what they want to the get rid of Saddam Hussein and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that.


Tweet of the Day:

It'll be interesting to hear how Scalia rephrases "God Hates Fags" in strict Constitutionalist terms. #SCOTUS
@MarkFiore via web




On today's Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin and Armando help round out discussion of the political and legal context for the SCOTUS's marriage equality cases. Sally Kohn's Salon piece makes another key point: is it fair to elevate marriage above other familial relationships? Is it even good strategy? Also discussed: the Battle of Blair Mtn. as one of "The 5 Shadiest Crimes Ever Pulled Off by Famous Corporations," and; a fascinating and well-lawyered immigration case that highlights the value of some of President Obama's small steps toward meaningful reform.


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