Socialist Worker

Coalition troops are also paying the price for George Bush’s war

Issue No. 2023

The occupation in Iraq hit another bloody landmark earlier this week with the number of dead coalition troops rising to 3,000. This includes 119 British soldiers.

By the time Socialist Worker hits the streets Afghanistan will have probably passed a milestone with the death of the 500th coalition soldier since the occupation began in 2001.

The increasing bloody toll of the “war on terror” hides another grim statistic - one in five US soldiers returning from the battlefields is disabled.

George Bush’s administration has made no provision for their long term care.

According to documents obtained by George Washington University, over 150,000 out of around 560,000 US soldiers have applied for disability benefits since they were discharged from the military.

They are being paid through an emergency budget.

At current estimates, over 400,000 soldiers will have their lives shattered by the war.

Around 10 percent will return completely paralysed, 30 percent will be partially disabled - missing one or more limbs - or other physical injuries.

The rest will have mental health problems like post traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and substance abuse.

The report compiled by the US department of veterans affairs warns that not enough money has been allocated by the US government to deal with the projected numbers of disabled veterans.

The US government attempted to bury the report.

According to The Human Cost of the War in Iraq report, “Soldiers who would have never survived their injuries in the past are now living, in some cases, as triple amputees with brain damage.

“Many injuries include second and third degree burns, broken bones and amputations, shrapnel wounds, brain injuries, paralysis, and blindness.”

To date 44,779 US soldiers have been wounded in Iraq, and up to 1,000 in Afghanistan.

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Sat 21 Oct 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 2023
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