On this Anniversary Remember War is Trauma
Today is the ninth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. The military occupation of Iraq is over, but the war continues in the untold pains and traumas of the Iraqi people and in the hearts and minds of those service members and veterans that have survived it. It is often here in the unseen trauma that war is most devastating.
With that in mind Iraq Veterans Against the War and Justseeds are proud to release War is Trauma: a portfolio that highlights the unseen traumas of war. We invite everyone to go to the new War is Trauma website to download, print, and post these graphics everywhere and anywhere to help highlight the too often hidden psychological tolls on the Iraqi people and veterans.
In this military climate that continues to stigmatise service members who come forward about their unseen trauma, outbursts of destruction will continue to happen. Last week’s tragedy in Afghanistan where sixteen more innocent civilians were massacred is just one of the most recent examples. Robert Bales, the Army Staff Sergeant named in the Afghanistan murders was reportedly on his fourth deployment, had TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), had been wounded twice, and had seen a fellow soldier lose a leg the day before.
Like Robert Bales whose three previous deployments were in Iraq, many of the troops now in Afghanistan have previously served in Iraq. Many arrive already suffering from Military Sexual Trauma, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and/or Traumatic Brain Injury. The military is in the midst of a suicide epidemic. Active duty service members are committing suicide at a rate of one every 36 hours. There have been at least 2,129 military suicides since 2001 and a least 4,194 veterans have died of self destructive and reckless behaviors. The trauma we and our fellow service members and veterans have experienced is often connected with the trauma that we have inflicted upon civilians.
On this anniversary please take a moment to:
- Reflect upon those Iraqi civilians suffering from the trauma we have inflicted, the unknown number of dead and wounded Iraqis#, and the Iraqi refugees and internally displaced.
- Reflect upon the lives of the 4,457 service members who died over the course of the war, the 2,333,973 service members who have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan over the last ten years, the 1,002,106 service members that deployed twice or more, and the 385,711 veterans that are now suffering from mental health conditions.
IVAW members in chapters across the country, in San Francisco, Olympia, WA, Chicago, and Washington DC to name a few, will be observing the Anniversary in various ways and one thing is certain, the events of this last week have cast a pall over an already somber occasion.