The crazy veteran myth

NY Post Editorial:

Is a new generation of crazed, suicidal and otherwise dysfunctional veterans about to be unleashed on an unsuspecting homefront population? The answer is yes — but only if you believe a recent front-page New York Times story.

According to the paper, tens of thousands of vets are returning from Iraq "with serious mental-health problems brought on by the stress and carnage of war."

The number of soldiers eventually requiring treatment for "post-traumatic stress disorder" or the like, says The Times, could top 100,000.

If that conjures up the image of the Vietnam vet — unable to cope with life and threatening either to kill himself or to "go postal" on innocent folks — well, it's probably meant to.

But that stereotype was also a news-media lie to begin with.

Sure, even the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine bought into the canard, publishing a 1986 study claiming that Vietnam vets were 86 percent more likely to commit suicide than non-veterans.

But as former Navy Secretary James Webb has written, that study was deeply flawed — and politically skewed — "junk science" that was nevertheless lapped up by the network news broadcasts.

...

The idea is to discredit the war by citing what they claim is the terrible, lasting toll it produces — and the subsequent demands on an already strapped health-care system.

Using American soldiers who are risking their lives daily as pawns to score political points is despicable.

This latest attempt at myth-making needs to be challenged and discredited before it becomes, once again, received wisdom.

John Kerry was pushing this myth in his 1971 Senate testimony. It is just another phantom arrow in the anti war pukes quiver.

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