Support for the Afghanistan War has hit rock bottom. In a May Associated Press poll, an overwhelming 66 percent of Americans disapproved of the war, with only 27 percent giving our Afghanistan conflict a stamp of approval. But whether we like the war or not, the troops fighting on behalf of America need our support. Our veterans are facing an unprecedented crisis in the form of PTSD, and this humanitarian issue has nothing to do with politics.
As many as one-fifth of the 2.6 million veterans deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq since 2011 battle PTSD, an anxiety disorder characterized by painful flashbacks and nightmares triggered without notice. As the Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs struggle to provide veterans with access to treatment services, many warriors and their families are left to suffer through the daily pain of PTSD alone.
Wars are often controversial, but we haven't seen this little public support for a conflict since the most protested years of the Vietnam War. And it seems that we've let our negative view of the war taint our view of the veterans fighting it just when they need our help.
When aid levels are low and need levels are high during a humanitarian crisis, Americans have a proven track record of generosity. Our donations flood in when our community nonprofits face critically low funding. We support communities during natural disasters whether they are domestic or international. When the devastating earthquake shook Haiti in 2010, American celebrities, politicians, community leaders and individuals from all sides of the political spectrum joined forces in an unprecedented aid campaign that raised $1.3 billion for the island nation. That humanitarian effort was all about the people; no matter our opinion of Haiti, we all gave what we had to help its communities thrive again.
Our community of veterans is facing its own humanitarian crisis: PTSD. With so many of our warriors struggling daily to overcome this debilitating condition, veterans need our support more than ever. It's time to put politics aside and build a veterans aid movement from the ground level up.
Want to help but not sure how? My organization Harvesting Happiness 4 Heroes is just one of many community-based nonprofits providing stigma-free treatment for Veterans and their families. Visit our website to learn more.