Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Veterans issues

Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) reports an attack on a Rutba police checkpoint has resulted in the deaths of 5 police officers.

Meanwhile in the US, many veterans are returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Chuck N. Baker (Las Vegas Review-Journal) explains:

It was pointed out to the secretary that with the troop withdrawals in the Middle East, there will be thousands of veterans coming home not only to seek employment but also to apply for government medical and educational benefits. How is the VA planning to take on those new clients?
Shinseki pointed out that for the past year or more he has been automating the VA as never before. He said, "We get about a million claims every year," and admitted that "it will get steeper as troops come home from Iraq and Afghanistan. It also depends on timing, pace and location" as to which VA geographical areas will receive larger or smaller numbers of new veterans.

Automated or not, some ratings are clearly wrong. Sadly, veterans are having to rely on the courts to do what the VA won't. Michael Doyle (McClatchy Newspapers) follows up on his report on the federal court decision which will allow some veterans suffering from PTSD (and discharged since 2002) to receive better benefits. Doyle reports today:

The settlement provides lifetime disability retirement benefits to 1,029 veterans with PTSD who had been denied aid previously. An additional 1,066 will have their disability benefits increased.
Another 2,200 potentially affected veterans didn't opt in to the class-action lawsuit, though they might take individual legal action.
"Nothing suggests that the settlement negotiations were anything but cooperative, fair and transparent," U.S. Court of Federal Claims Judge George W. Miller wrote.

In other news of veterans disabilities, Nadia Crow (KCRG -- link has text and video) reports that Iraq War veteran Derick Hurt is set to be the first to get "new walking sockets." He lost his right leg in a grenade attack in Iraq in 2003 and, in 2009, his left leg was amputated.

Other issues veterans face include employment. Stephen Franklin (In These Times) surveys domestic employment and notes the following on veterans of the current wars:

But the real jobs problem is the one faced by young vets, the ones who have came home looking for new lives rather than staying on in the military. The unemployment rate for these veterans between 20 to 24 years old averaged 30 percent last year, up from 21 percent in July 2010, according to the New York Times.
This may seem to some as a short-term problem, but it has the marking of a dilemma that may linger on.
We have traditionally expected veterans to find their way back into the job market, after slogging through a bout of joblessness. That is not exactly what happened, however, after the Vietnam War, and the mark left from Iraq and Afghanistan may turn out to be an even far more difficult one to overcome.
That is because the physical and psychological scars left on so many who took part in fighting that lasted almost a decade. A large brunt of military service fell upon workers plucked out of their jobs because of their National Guard and Reserve obligations.

this is where we take our stand

David Zeiger directed the award winning documentary Sir! No Sir! about resistance within the ranks during Vietnam. His new documentary is This Is Where We Take Our Stand about the 2008 Winter Soldier hearings. Iraq Veterans Against the Wars notes a benefit screening ($15 a ticket) in NYC on February 1st, 7:00 pm, at the IFC Center and:

The film will also air on PBS around the country, thanks to generous support from the National Educational Television Association. Due to the controversial nature of the film, many local PBS stations will relegate 'This is Where We Take Our Stand' to their smaller and less widely available affiliates. We urge you to contact your local PBS station and encourage them to air the film on their major channel. http://thisiswherewetakeourstand.com/?p=376

The film will stay relevant long after the withdrawal from Iraq. “The war might be over,” says Sgt. Geoff Millard, a star of the film who served 13 months in Iraq in 2004-05, “but veterans will continue dealing with all kinds of issues. This film gives voice to these vets as they try to reintegrate into a society telling them to take their medals, sit down, and shut up.”

Sorry, Geoff, neither the war on nor the occupation of Iraq has ended. The movie's NYC debut isn't the only veterans events in February. Next month is also the first ever scientific symposium on Burn Pits:

1st Annual Scientific Symposium on
Lung Health after Deplyoment to Iraq & Afghanistan
February 13, 2012

sponsored by
Office of Continuing Medical Education
School of Medicine
Stony Brook University

Health Sciences Center, Level 3, Lecture Hall 5
Anthony M. Szema, M.D., Program Chair
Stony Brook
Medical Center

This program is made possible by support from the
Sergeant Thomas Joseph Sullivan Center, Washington, D.C.


* Register with your credit card online at:

* Download the registration form from:
fax form to (631) 638-1211

For Information Email:

1st Annual Scientific Symposium on
Lung Health after Deployment to Iraq & Afghanistan
Monday, February 13, 2012
Health Sciences Center
Level 3, Lecture Hall 5

Program Objective: Upon completion, participants should be able to recognize new-onset of lung disease after deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan.

8:00 - 9:00 a.m. Registration & Continental Breakfast (Honored Guest, Congressman
Tim Bishop

9:00 - 9:30 Peter Sullivan, J.D., Father of Marine from The Sergeant Thomas Joseph
Sullivan Center, Washington, D.C.

9:40 - 10:10 Overview of Exposures in Iraq, Anthony Szema, M.D., (Assistant
Professor of Medicine and Surgery, Stony Brook University)

10:10 - 10:40 Constrictive Bronchiolitis among Soldiers after Deployment, Matt
King, M.D. (Assistant Professor of Medicine, Meharry Medical College,
Nashville, TN)

10:40 - 11:10 BREAK

11:10 - 11:40 Denver Working Group Recommendations and Spirometry Study in
Iraq/Afghanistan, Richard Meehan, M.D., (Chief of Rheumatology and
Professor of Medicine, National Jewish Health, Denver, CO)

11:40 a.m. - Microbiological Analyses of Dust from Iraq and Afghanistan, Captain Mark

12:10 p.m. Lyles, D.M.D., Ph. D., (Vice Admiral Joel T. Boone Endowed Chair of
Health and Security Studies, U.S. Naval War College, Newport, RI)

12:10 - 12:20 Health Care Resource Utilization among Deployed Veterans at the White
River Junction VA, James Geiling, M.D., (Professor and Chief of Medicine,
Dartmouth Medical School, VA White River Junction, VT)

Graduate students Millicent Schmidt and Andrea Harrington (Stony Brook
University) present Posters from Lung Studies Analyzed for Spatial
Resolution of Metals at Brookhaven National Laboratory's National
Synchrotron Light Source

1:20 - 1:40 Epidemiologic Survey Instrument on Exposures in Iraq and Afghanistan,
Joseph Abraham, Sc.D., Ph.D., (U.S. Army Public Health Command,
Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD)

1:40 - 2:10 Overview of the Issue Raised during Roundtable on Pulmonary Issues
and Deployment, Coleen Baird, M.D., M.P.H., (Program Manager
Environmental Medicine, U.S. Army Public Health Command)

2:10 - 2: 40 Reactive Oxygen Species from Iraqi Dust, Martin Schoonen, Ph.D.
(Director Sustainability Studies and Professor of Geochemistry, Stony
Brook University)

2:40 - 2:50 BREAK

2:50 - 3:15 Dust Wind Tunnel Studies, Terrence Sobecki, Ph.D. (Chief Environmental
Studies Branch, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research
and Engineering Laboratory, Manchester, NH)

3:15 - 3:45 Toxicologically Relevant Characteristics of Desert Dust and Other
Atmospheric Particulate Matter, Geoffrey S. Plumlee, Ph.D. (Research
Geochemist, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO)

3:44 - 4:15 In-situ Mineralogy of the Lung and Lymph Nodes, Gregory Meeker, M.S.
(Research Geochemist, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO)

Continuing Medical Education Credits

The school of Medicine, State University of New York at Stony Brook, is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
The School of Medicine, State University of New York at Stony Brooke designates this live activity for a maximum of 6 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)TM. Physicians should only claim the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.