Iraq: Children with Disabilities and Veterans
Synopsis: Children are equally affected by the Millions of bombs and anti-personal mines spread over certain parts of Iraq.1
Author: Thomas C. Weiss Contact: Disabled World (www.disabled-world.com)
Published: 2014-12-11 Updated: 2020-11-08
While pursuing torture in the names of all Americans, the Bush/Cheney administration sent incredible numbers of military troops to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Women also served in greater numbers in these wars. Some female veterans are claiming PTSD due to military sexual trauma, something that is a new challenge from a disability rating standpoint.
Following the attack on America on 9/11, the Bush/Cheney leadership chose to pursue a war in the nation of Iraq. The results have been devastating and while there are a great many questions concerning the actions of this leadership and war criminal activities, the realities of life remain - not only for the children of Iraq, but for many veterans of the Armed Forces of America. The U.N. wants to prosecute members of America's leadership because of torture.
The health of Iraqi children has been very severely affected due to the war in 2003 which was led by the United States of America. Bush and Cheney and their CIA buddies had no issue whatsoever with starting this war. The child mortality rate under the age of 5 continues to worsen and an estimated 1.5 million children are suffering from malnutrition. In fact - 1 in 10 children in Iraq has an abnormal weight for their age. The war in Iraq has also had an incredibly detrimental effect on the mental health of children. Most of the children experience mental trauma due to events caused by the war. War created stress, fear of death and panic in the minds of these children, making these traumas a part of their daily living.
Iraq is an unstable country, one that is prone to large numbers of terrorist attacks. Children represent around 8.1% of the total number of people killed in these attacks. These children are often times the victims of car bombs and explosive devices. According to the Moroccan Organization of Human Rights, more than 174 children were killed and 773 were injured in the year 2010. Children are equally affected by the Millions of bombs and anti-personal mines spread over certain parts of Iraq. According to the United Nations Development Program - since the year 1991, more than One Million Iraqi children have become victims of such bombs and mines.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans, as of 2012
While pursuing torture in the names of all Americans, the Bush/Cheney administration sent incredible numbers of military troops to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. An incredible 45% of the 1.6 million veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as of the year 2012, sought compensation for injuries that are service-connected. The rate is more than double the estimate of 21% for veterans who filed claims after the Gulf War.
Even more, veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan claimed 8 to 9 ailments on average - the most recent ones claimed 11 to 14. By comparison, Vietnam veterans are receiving compensation for less than 4 on average. Veterans of World War II and Korea claimed just 2.
More of the veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are women, who accounted for 12% of those who have sought care through the Veterans Administration. Women also served in greater numbers in these wars. Some female veterans are claiming PTSD due to military sexual trauma, something that is a new challenge from a disability rating standpoint. Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan have different types of injuries than prior veterans did. The reason why is partly because improvised bombs have been a main weapon and because body armor and improved battlefield care found many of them surviving wounds that in past wars would have been fatal. This is the legacy of the Bush/Cheney administration. Of those who have pursued health care through the Veterans Administration:
- More than 1,600 lost a limb; others lost fingers or toes.
- At least 156 are blind and thousands of others have impaired vision.
- More than 177,000 have hearing loss; more than 350,000 experience tinnitus.
- Thousands are disfigured - as many as 200 of them so badly they may need face transplants.
Other veterans of these wars have invisible wounds. Greater than 400,000 of these veterans have been treated by the Veterans Administration for mental health issues, commonly PTSD. Tens of thousands of veterans experienced traumatic brain injury (TBI) from bomb blasts. Doctors do not know what their long-term prognosis is. Veterans have also experienced back, shoulder and knee injuries that have been aggravated by carrying heavy packs and wearing body armor. A recent study found that 19% of these veterans required orthopedic surgery consultations and 4% needed surgery after returning home from combat.
Where the taxpayers of America are concerned, the whole ordeal has only just begun. The cost of caring for veterans rises for several decades and peaks 30-40 years later when diseases of aging are more common. An estimate by Harvard economist Linda Blimes suggests the health care and disability cost of recent wars at $600-$900 Billion Dollars.
Meanwhile, organizations such as Handicap International are left to deal with some of the devastating results of the war in Iraq for example. Handicap International's activities in Iraq were launched in the year 1992 in the aftermath of the first Gulf War. Since that time, the organization has provided rehabilitation care in northern Iraq by supporting rehabilitation centers and mobile rehabilitation units.
In the year 2003, Handicap International launched a massive risk education campaign in order to prevent accidents caused by landmines and other explosive weapons. At the same time, the organization set up a de-mining program in the populated suburbs of Baghdad to identify and safely destroy cluster munitions and other types of deadly weapons, which literally littered the ground. The de-mining team remains at work today. Over time, the organization also trained physiotherapists and launched initiatives to make rehabilitation services more accessible. After fighting displaced people in northern Iraq, Handicap International launched an emergency operation to support families that are most vulnerable.
With millions of landmines and additional explosive weapons still remaining in large portions of the country, Iraqis live with the legacy of conflict each and every day. De-mining and mine risk education will continue for years to come. Ongoing violence has left vital infrastructure, to include health care services, struggling to recover and many people with injuries have been unable to access the care and treatment they truly need.
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