Since September 11, 2001, over two million Americans have been sent off to war in Iraq or Afghanistan. More than half of them have been deployed more than once, many four times, and some as high as eight times. But for those soldiers who return from war alive, the effects of the war follow them home, staying with them for the rest of their lives, often ripping them apart.
The Damage of War – Dead, Maimed, Injured
- Over 7100 US soldiers have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- More than 360,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have suffered brain injuries, nearly tripling over the past decade.
- Over 20 percent of US soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan have suffered blows to the face, neck or head.
- About 1,700 US soldiers have lost limbs in Iraq and Afghanistan, including seared skin, shattered bones and damaged internal organs.
- At least 18 percent of female and 20 percent of male soldiers returning from Iraq or Afghanistan have been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress disorder.
Lives Ripped Apart – Divorce, Unemployment, Homelessness, Suicide
- In 2011, the average unemployment rate for new veterans aged 18-24 was 30.2 percent.
- In 2009, 75,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffered from long-term unemployment, of more than six months.
- The divorce rate among military couples has increased 42 percent throughout the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
- For veterans who need help with basic daily functions, most often the responsibilities of caregiving fall on the spouse or parents.
- On any given night, over 70,000 veterans are homeless, living in emergency shelters, transitional housing, on the streets, in cars or abandoned buildings. That is about 12 percent of the total homeless population.
- Of the more than 30,000 suicides in this country each year, more than 20 percent of them are veterans.
- On average, 18 veterans commit suicide every day.
Politicians, including Obama, like to make statements about how important US soldiers are, how their lives are a priority to the country. In fact, the policy of the US military towards soldiers is outrageous: use them up and then thrown them away. Like the lives of Iraqis and Afghans, the lives of US soldiers don’t mean anything to the US military. These wars have destroyed the lives of millions of Iraqis and Afghans. And these wars are ruining the lives of the over 2 million US soldiers who’ve been forced to carry them out. These wars need to stop now!