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Another Emerging “Storm”: Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans with PTSD in The Criminal Justice System William B. Brown Volume 5 – No. 2 – Fall 2008
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Abstract America seems to have moved to a position in history where we are captivated with thoughts of military power. Not since World War II has America been engaged in combat along two theaters of combat operation – Iraq and Afghanistan. We now have extended our military prowess and declared war against global terrorism, which means the number of potential combat front lines is impossible to determine. The initial blowback from such a strategy seems to be an economic catastrophe at home. This article focuses on another potential blowback – an emerging storm that encompasses the war at home that Afghanistan and Iraq Veterans are beginning to experience. The lessons from the aftermath of the Vietnam are available for all to review. A disinterest acknowledging those lessons seems to be prevailing. This article is written as evidence for the men and women who serve, or have served, in Afghanistan and Iraq that they have support for their second war – the war that begins when they leave the military. This article also challenges researchers and service providers to begin preparation to support these veterans.
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About the Author William B. Brown is an Associate Professor in the Department of criminal justice at Western Oregon University. He is also the Director of Pacific Sentencing Initiative and Director of The Bunker Project, a program that assists Afghanistan and Iraq veterans going through the criminal court process. Dr. Brown is a combat veteran who served with the 173 rd Airborne Brigade in Vietnam. His previous research includes prisoner re-entry, youth gangs, and sentencing processes. His e-mail is: [email protected] .
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Another Emerging “Storm”: Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans with PTSD in the Criminal Justice System Introduction: The Foundation of the Aftermath of War Over thirty-five years ago the Vietnam War ended for the majority Americans. Most of the troops had returned home by 1973. Many veterans confronted a variety of social and psychological challenges. Following that war thousands of Vietnam veterans were diagnosed with PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder), while many others battled with symptoms of PTSD but never received formal diagnoses. The actual number of Vietnam veterans who developed PTSD is imprecise. One consistency does exist in the volumes of research that focused on PTSD and Vietnam veterans – those who experienced combat were more likely to exhibit symptoms of PTSD compared to those who did not encounter combat-related incidents. Those who experienced combat can further be subdivided into categories contingent upon their combat roles – the reactive role and the initiative role. The “grunt” (foot soldier) was placed in a reactive combat role compared to the helicopter pilot who was in a position to initiate and control his combat role. Both roles involved the risk of serious injury or death. The grunt was placed on the ground
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