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A Wartime Epidemic

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As HuffPost's senior military correspondent, David Wood (who won a Pulitzer last spring for his Beyond the Battlefield series) has relentlessly put the spotlight on the sacrifices and struggles of America's veterans. His story in this week's issue of Huffington puts a spotlight on the true cost of the wars. "Among the grim repercussions of a decade of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan -- the dead, the battle-injured, the wreckage, the wasted billions -- is this: while most soldiers return from war and resume a somewhat normal life, many do not," he writes. Many return to face other demons: drug addiction, alcohol abuse or reckless behavior that can lead to fractured families or trouble with the law. The result is what one expert calls "an epidemic": the estimated 223,000 veterans who are in prison -- most of them veterans of Vietnam, but increasingly from Iraq and Afghanistan. David introduces us to 32-year-old Jamie Beavers, who has served two Iraq tours and suffered from PTSD and pill addiction. In February, when he was arrested and spent time in jail, his wife and daughters fled, leaving him to grapple with wounds that go beyond the physical. "It's hard," Beavers says. "I'm just trying to get back into things."

Arthur Delaney has documented the lives and struggles of those caught in a different epidemic -- long-term unemployment. In this issue, he tells the story of Stephen LaRoque, the North Carolina representative who helped engineer a Republican standoff that stopped 47,000 unemployed North Carolinians from receiving their checks. One of those was Kathryn Treadway, an unemployed mother of two, who wrote to LaRoque asking for help. As Delaney writes, LaRoque's reply, and the events that followed, represent something larger than just one representative squabbling with his constituent. "Republicans at the state and federal levels broadly share his view on the plight of the unemployed, a view that often comes down to a simple, and simplistic, distillation: Able-bodied people who don't work are just lazy, and it shouldn't be the government's job to help them."

Elsewhere in the issue, Catherine Pearson reports on new evidence expanding our understanding of in vitro fertilization and how it may affect subsequent pregnancies. Among the recent findings are that 17 percent of women who gave birth as a result of in vitro fertilization became pregnant again within six years without IVF. Catherine introduces us to Michelle, who decided to use donor eggs after suffering two miscarriages and giving birth to a stillborn baby. But shortly after giving birth to a daughter through in vitro fertilization, she found out she was pregnant again, this time with a son. Catherine writes of Michelle's complex feelings about the different ways her two children were born, but those feelings did not last long. As Catherine puts it, "Both children feel entirely hers, and both feel miraculous."

This piece first appeared in our FREE new weekly iPad magazine, Huffington, in the iTunes App store.

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