Yes, Virginia, that number in the title to this post really is true. How do I know this, being the lying, liberal traitor that I am, prone to to slander our noble warriors in the US Armed Forces? Because I didn’t pull that number out of the nether regions of my body. It comes to you courtesy of the United States Department of Defense, which has just revealed this staggering statistic: that 40,000 vets of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been diagnosed with PTSD.

WASHINGTON — The number of troops with new cases of post-traumatic stress disorder jumped by roughly 50 percent in 2007 amid the military buildup in Iraq and increased violence there and in Afghanistan.

Records show roughly 40,000 troops have been diagnosed with the illness, also known as PTSD, since 2003. Officials believe that many more are likely keeping their illness a secret.

“I don’t think right now we … have good numbers,” Army Surgeon General Eric Schoomaker said Tuesday.

Defense officials had not previously disclosed the number of PTSD cases from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The key words above are “diagnosed” and General Schoomaker’s remarks that we don’t “have good numbers.” As indeed we don’t since we know Bush administration officials have purposefully told Veterans Administration clinicians to diagnose many PTSD sufferers with the less severe “Adjustment Disorder” in order to limit their ability to claim disability benefits:

A psychologist who helps lead the post-traumatic stress disorder program at a medical facility for veterans in Texas told staff members to refrain from diagnosing PTSD because so many veterans were seeking government disability payments for the condition.

“Given that we are having more and more compensation seeking veterans, I’d like to suggest that you refrain from giving a diagnosis of PTSD straight out,” Norma Perez wrote in a March 20 e-mail to mental-health specialists and social workers at the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Olin E. Teague Veterans’ Center in Temple, Tex. Instead, she recommended that they “consider a diagnosis of Adjustment Disorder.” […]

Veterans diagnosed with PTSD can be eligible for disability compensation of up to $2,527 a month, depending on the severity of the condition, said Alison Aikele, a VA spokeswoman. Those found to have adjustment disorder generally are not offered such payments, though veterans can receive medical treatment for either condition.

Perhaps someone should ask John McCain if he supports this policy of shortchanging so many wounded veterans (and yes, PTSD is a physical wounding of the brain’s structure and function as debilitating as any other combat injury) as well as his support for George Bush’s threatened veto of the GI benefits bill which recently was passed by the Senate. Since only Republicans support the troops, I’d like to know what he thinks about our current commander-in-chief’s outrageous dereliction of duty toward our combat veterans.

Oh, I forgot. He isn’t called John McSame for nothing.

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