Several branches of the military are reporting significant spikes in the number of suicides committed by both active-duty troops and veterans returning from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Experts are calling the number of military-related suicides sweeping the country an "epidemic."
A Pentagon office responsible for coordinating Defense Department information campaigns overseas has been abolished in an effort by the Obama administration to distance itself from past practices that some military officers called propaganda, senior officials said Wednesday.
At a formal press announcement Monday and in media appearances over the next day, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates unveiled the biggest military budget in world history, in anticipation of an endless series of Iraq and Afghanistan-style wars by American imperialism.
Both the military budget itself and the official who drafted itâGates held the same position in the last two years of the Bush administration and is the first Pentagon chief to be retained by a new presidentâunderscore the fundamental continuity between Obama and Bush.
A military team sent to evaluate electrical problems at U.S. facilities in Iraq determined there was a high risk that flawed wiring could cause further "catastrophic results" _ namely, the electrocutions of U.S. soldiers.
The team said the use of a required device, commonly found in American houses to prevent electrical shocks, was "patchy at best" near showers and latrines in U.S. military facilities. There also was widespread use of uncertified electrical devices and "incomplete application" of U.S. electrical codes in buildings throughout the war-torn country, the team found.
A secret recording reveals the Army may be pushing its medical staff not to diagnose post-traumatic stress disorder. The Army and Senate have ignored the implications.
"OK," McNinch told Sgt. X. "I will tell you something confidentially that I would have to deny if it were ever public. Not only myself, but all the clinicians up here are being pressured to not diagnose PTSD and diagnose anxiety disorder NOS [instead]." McNinch told him that Army medical boards were "kick[ing] back" his diagnoses of PTSD, saying soldiers had not seen enough trauma to have "serious PTSD issues."
A Veterans Affairs patient who was among thousands treated with unsterilized equipment has tested positive for HIV, the first such case reported since the department warned veterans they could have been exposed to infectious diseases.
The VA previously reported that hepatitis had been found in 16 patients, but the agency cautioned there was no way to prove that the patients contracted the illnesses because of treatment at their facilities. In an e-mail late Friday, the agency said it was investigating "the possibility of such a relationship."
The VA earlier this year warned more than 10,000 veterans to get blood tests because they could have been exposed to contamination while getting colonoscopies in Murfreesboro, Tenn., and Miami.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is expected to announce on Monday the restructuring of several dozen major defense programs as part of the Obama administration's bid to shift military spending from preparations for large-scale war against traditional rivals to the counterinsurgency programs that Gates and others consider likely to dominate U.S. conflicts in coming decades.
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