Friday, January 02, 2009
Another good piece of journalism, I would say great if I could see the data, review the research, but there's no time for that, and the point of the piece is worthwhile for now, important, even.
This one does make me angry.
NPR fills us in on what the U.S. Army is doing to employ veterans who want a career in the military. Like most things we hear about the army, about war, about combat, it isn’t pretty.
Many of the vets, having spent two years in Iraq, suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, i.e., they have flashbacks from combat, recurring nightmares, severe anxiety and depression, and the relationship problems attendant to these. These gentle men and women are now in jobs recruiting for the armed forces. Their job is to sell the army to young men and women. And this is very stressful, we hear. It is precisely the type of stress that therapists would suggest they run from, not walk.
Two recruits a month is all they have to find, and this may sound easy, but it’s not if you are an honest person, just can’t lie.
Here’s what I picture.
The recruiter is at a high school or hanging out at the union in front of a table at a college campus. A young man leafs through the literature then gets up his courage and asks,
Have you seen any action?
Vet: Uh, huh. I was in Iraq for two years.
Kid: Can you tell me what it’s really like?
And he does. Or it shows on his face. No sale.
I think that if what NPR, National Public Radio, tells us is true (that recruiting for the U.S. Army is, hands down the most stressful occupation in the United States,* worse than law enforcement, 17 suicides, 5 at the Houston Recruiters Battalion alone, since 2001) then this is not only irresponsible, that the army places vets in this job, but criminal.
There is a dissertation in here somewhere, just waiting to happen. Thanks NPR.
*That's the data I'd like to have a look at.