“While the crimes of which Bales is accused are singularly brutal, advocates for military families say the pressures Bales faced are commonplace in a military stretched by the longest period of conflict in the country’s history. Michael Waddington, an attorney for service members accused of violent crimes, said the Pentagon lacks the resources to adequately screen and treat troops suffering from serious anxieties and stress.”
An incalculable cost hidden in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will haunt future generations of this country. These generations will bear costs of war in psychological treatment of our soldiers for decades. Did we learn nothing about mental health of returning servicemen from Vietnam ? We send soldiers for four tours of fighting and are surprised when they snap under the stress? The price of this war will not be calculated in dollars spent on weapons and fighting men’s salaries. It will surely be calculated on the loss of a productive generation due to our negligence of mental well being of our own people sent to fight wars. The loss of productivity will not be their fault; it must lay at the feet of our government, whom we elected. As one can run an engine out of oil, so have we ran the American soldier out of mental health through sustained tours, financial stress, and family separation. In this way, the American people will pay for this war twice, once on the battlefield and once in the clinics across our land.