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San Diego County, CA June 8, 2010 Election
Smart Voter

We Must Heal the Invisible Damages of War

By Tracy Emblem

Candidate for United States Representative; District 50; Democratic Party

This information is provided by the candidate
When our troops return home from two and three tours of combat or service we must demand care for them.
We Must Heal the Invisible Damages of War By Tracy Emblem

One of the most debilitating obstacles facing military personnel who have fought in the Gulf, Iraqi and Afghanistan wars as well as those veterans who have served in previous wars, is traumatic brain injuries and post traumatic stress.

We must ensure that our veterans are not dumped on our streets but are cared for when they return home suffering service related stress, physical and traumatic brain injuries. Soldiers who are exposed to roadside bomb blasts are especially susceptible to concussions that often cause a debilitating physical disability.

War is a stressful and demanding experience. Your life is constantly at risk. There can be times that are terrifying. Troops see life and death, despair and horrific events.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, less than half of all our veterans who have returned home with traumatically witnessed stress have sought treatment because of their pride. The emotional pain exists and is present, sometimes not surfacing for many years, and it takes a tremendous toll on our families and communities.

The hidden cost of war costs families both in loss of quality of life of loved ones and to treat the cause. According to the Washington Post, "about 300,000 U.S. military personnel who have deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan are suffering from post-traumatic stress or major depression, a mental toll that will cost the nation as much as $6.2 billion over two years."

Imagine this: A solider walking through a village sees children. The soldier, a father, befriends the children and talks to them. He even reaches into his pocket of his uniform and offers them some candy. Later, the soldier sees the same children again, but this time they are lying in their own blood by the roadside, their throats cut as punishment for speaking with the soldier.

Picture this: Wounded troops, civilians and children, people who have had to have their leg amputated, victims of an improvised explosive device.

We don't see these pictures on the nightly news channels but we should think about them to understand the impacts of war. Stories like this are numerous. As civilians, we work to heal the wounded hearts and souls of our own people as well as the wounded people and children of occupied countries because war takes its toll upon humanity.

As Americans we have a moral obligation to stand up and ask how we can help our soldiers returning home with damaged bodies, minds and souls.

We must also ask how we can prevent repeated situations from occurring throughout the world and how we can discourage conflicts. We have a duty to prevent deadly conflicts.

We must evaluate how we can stand down around the world and bring our troops home. We must acknowledge that it is our first and foremost duty to help negotiate peace around the world and we must take responsibility for the casualties of war. When our troops return home from two and three tours of combat or service we must demand care for them.

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