Many who have deployed into combat and have witnessed first-hand the violence and killing that characterizes war often return home with the uncomfortable realization that the value structure they once maintained, and perhaps called "normal," does not necessarily fit any longer.
Private Danny Chen was found dead in 2011 in a guard tower after weeks of physical abuse and unrelenting racial taunts by superiors. Can military courts deliver justice to a subordinate hazed by his superiors?
After every debate, the Democrats and Republicans clamber to claim victory, but only one thing is for sure -- our veterans and their families lost. After 10 years of war, you heard more about Big Bird than you did about veterans.
Without regularly updated data, it's not only impossible to track how many veterans and active-duty service members are committing suicide, but also difficult to judge the effectiveness of the mental health programs in place to prevent it.
Moral injury is not PTSD. Moral injury has a slow burn quality that often takes time to sink in. To be morally injured requires a healthy brain that can experience empathy, create a coherent memory narrative, understand moral reasoning and evaluate behavior.
Human beings seem infinitely adaptable. But there is no silver bullet, no quick fix potion that will make a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine invulnerable to five, six or more tours of duty in today's war zone and the separations from loved ones.
As this week is National Suicide Prevention Week, and Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of 9/11, let us grieve those who have taken their own lives as a result of their service in Iraq and/or Afghanistan.
The president clearly believes we need to remove the stigmas of war's mental health consequences. But it is striking that his statement completely ignores the 71 percent of the suicides that occur after service.
The Department of Veterans Affairs may be incompetent, as the court declared, but the rest of us deserve equal scorn for failing to hold our government accountable to the men and women who put their lives on the line defending our freedom.