Report says US troops stressed to breaking point

Recent incidents such as the video in January of U.S. Marines urinating on the bodies of dead Talibans, and the terrible killing spree of ArmyStaff Sgt. Robert Bales on March 11 are signs that all is not well with the men and women in our military.
Now, a new U.S. Army health report confirms that our troops are stressed to the breaking point.

Rowan Scarborough reports for The Washington Times, March 20, 2012:

A recent Army health report draws an alarming profile of a fighting force more prone to inexcusable violence amid an “epidemic” of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the mental breakdown attracting speculation as a factor in a massacre of Afghan civilians this month.

Based on an exhaustive study of nearly 500,000 soldiers, reservists and veterans, the report finds that troops are more likely to commit suicide and violent sex offenses, and notes that as many as 236,000 suffered from PTSD since the beginning of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

For military analysts, the reason is the nightmarish experience of sustained combat: Soldiers have been fighting the longest war in U.S. history, with frequent stressful deployments and compressed rest time back home.

“The real issue here, which I’ve been tracking for a long time, is 10 years of combat,” said military analyst Robert Maginnis, a retired Army officer. “I see these kids who have been in combat year after year after year. It is taking a real toll, not only medical, but being able to sort out their lives. What this kid caved to I think could be an epidemic. It is really long term what we are doing to a generation of volunteers.”

[…] Sgt. Bales, of Lake Tapps, Wash., had gone on three, yearlong deployments to Iraq, encountering heavy fighting and witnessing death and destruction.

His experience and those of thousands of his colleagues are common in what has become not only the longest war but also the unkindest for troops, in terms of rest time in theater.

Fighting insurgents and terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq has been a nearly nonstop exercise in patrols, raids and firefights with no real battle lines. Even at a forward operating base, soldiers can be hit by a rocket, a suicide bomber or an Afghan who turns and starts shooting Americans.

The Army report, “Generating Health and Discipline In the Force,” notes that the average infantryman in World War II in the South Pacific experienced a total 40 days of combat during the entire war. “In contrast, the [operational tempo] in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade has remained persistently high, providing very few opportunities for individuals to rest, either physically or mentally,” the report says.

Despite all this, the Obama administration would have our military be stretched even thinner.
War drums are beating for yet another war, in Syria, pushed by 3 aged senators (McCain, Lieberman, Graham). Already, there’s a report that U.S. Special Ops are already on the ground in Syria.
Meanwhile, as tensions with Iran escalate, the U.S. Navy has deployed to the Persian Gulf an aircraft carrier, the USS Abraham Lincoln, with supporting vessels, as well as, reportedly, four more minesweepers and minesweeping helicopters. Another aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise, is on its way to the Gulf or already there.
For that matter, on January 13 of this year, James Rickards, a Senior Managing Director of Tangent Capital in New York whose advisory clients include government directorates around the world, told King World News that war with Iran has already begun.

This sorry excuse of a Commander In Chief is hellbent on destroying America and our military.

We are  more than $15 trillion in debt, a sum that now exceeds our GDP — a dangerous sign. Our troops are stressed to the breaking point.

Bring our men and women home!!!!!


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(ret) Major General Paul Vallely’s “Lilly Pad” stratedgy makes more sense than anything I have seen in years. You may read it at He say’s get them out of there,it is senseless.


Yep, bring them home.


Yep…bring back a Constitutionally limited government,too.


I wish that I could be optimistic. We can’t even count on the so called conservatives in the House & Senate to take action to put the skids on things. I wish Leiberman would move to Israel, McCain would retire & zip his lip, and Graham would just STFU ! Where, when, & with whom there is war, is played out by a self-serving “elite” like a chess game. The rest are their servants. The world is their oyster! And, they will let us play a part as long as it serves their interests. I would have never believed this… Read more »

Emily Jin
Emily Jin

Hi Dr. Eowyn,
Would you happen to know the photographer for the photo you used in the “Report says US troops stressed to breaking point” article? I would like to see if he or she has photographs similar to this one where the distressed soldier is sitting on the ground. Thank you very much.