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maddezmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 12:45 PM
Original message
Most soldiers in Iraq report low unit morale: army study
WASHINGTON (AFP) - More than half of US soldiers serving in Iraq reported low or very low unit morale in an army survey conducted last year, an army mental health advisory team reported.

However, the team, which conducted the assessment in Iraq and Kuwait from late August to mid-October 2004, found that conditions had improved over the previous year, when 72 percent of soldiers reported low or very low unit morale.

"Deployment length remains a top concern for OIF-II soldiers," the report said, referring to soldiers who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom during 2004.

"Fifty-four percent of OIF-II soldiers reported their unit moral as low or very low," it said. Only nine percent reported high or very high unit morale.

more:http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20050720/p...
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central scrutinizer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 12:46 PM
Response to Original message
1. the fault of the liberal media
Rove has distributed his talking points to the talking heads - the drumbeat should start 3, 2, 1, ....now
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saigon68 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 12:49 PM
Response to Original message
2. What do you expect when ordered to torture P.O.W.s at your Prison
Or shoot up and grenade a house full of children?

Or if your are a minority, kill other people of color?
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tabasco Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 12:53 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. Why do these soldiers hate America?
Why can't these troops play their part in the propaganda war and hail the glorious victories on the Iraqi front !

LET FREEDOM REIGN ! :nuke:
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Burried News Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 12:50 PM
Response to Original message
3. Today's weather in Baghdad - high 120F low 87F
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Jacobin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 12:53 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Scattered bomb showers 90% chance, some likely heavy.
Mortar fire this evening. In the morning expect numerous IEDs with moderate to light sniper fire. More bombs in and around Baghdad in the early afternoon.

Stay tuned for the latest on sandstorms.
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obxhead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-05 10:21 AM
Response to Reply #4
30. prolonged periods of
radiation posioning as well.
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Eloriel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 01:03 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. Holy criminy
Edited on Wed Jul-20-05 01:04 PM by Eloriel
It's 88 degrees outside my house right now, and pretty damned insufferable. Of course, it'd be slightly better with lower humidity (always a factor here), and I don't know how that region fares humidity-wise, but STILL, I can't stand the THOUGHT of lows in the high 80s.
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Bucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-05 09:16 AM
Response to Reply #3
24. It's not the heat, it's the humanity
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PunkPop Donating Member (847 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 01:07 PM
Response to Original message
7. "However, the team, which conducted the assessment in Iraq
and Kuwait from late August to mid-October 2004, found that conditions had improved over the previous year, when 72 percent of soldiers reported low or very low unit morale."

In other words, now that we've equipped more Iraqis to go out and get themselves blown to pieces, and stocked our bases with the comforts of home like Burger King, internet service and cds, more soldiers don't find this occupation stuff so bad.
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Hobarticus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 01:07 PM
Response to Original message
8. My friend's brother's report from Iraq:
Out of 31 men posted, 5 are dead, and 7 are wounded. These guys are reservists.

I pointed out that that's approaching a 50% casualty rate, which I believe is also very close to a unit being designated "ineffective" and taken out of the line. My friend just nodded and said his brother told him that he's a changed man.
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Bucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-05 09:15 AM
Response to Reply #8
22. Damn. That's bad.
Normally military planners expect about 6-7 WIAs per each KIA. To lose one in six guys from a single unit must be horrific. Please don't tell me those guys aren't every bit as much heroes as Rove and his trained monkey are traitors.
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Hobarticus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-05 09:26 AM
Response to Reply #22
27. Best guy in the world, really.
He's career Army, for sure. But a really smart, soft-spoken, and humble guy. The kind of man you meet, hear he's in the service, and feel better, y'know? Just really has his act together.

He said they're deep in it. Their mission is to flush out IEDs, every day. Sheesh.

It really makes me sad that he feels he's a changed man.

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Moderator DU Moderator Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-05 09:10 AM
Response to Original message
9. kick
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leftchick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-05 09:10 AM
Response to Original message
10. Army: GI morale low in Iraq
Edited on Thu Jul-21-05 08:56 AM by leftchick
WASHINGTON -- A majority of U.S. soldiers in Iraq say morale is low, according to an Army report.

But soldiers' mental health has improved from the early months of the insurgency, and suicides have declined sharply, the report said.

The Army sent a team of mental health specialists to Iraq and Kuwait late last summer to assess conditions and measure progress in implementing programs to fix mental health problems discovered during a similar survey of troops a year earlier. Its report, dated Jan. 30, 2005, was released Wednesday.

The initial inquiry was triggered in part by an unusual surge in suicides among soldiers in Iraq in July 2003. Wednesday's report said suicides in Iraq and Kuwait declined from 24 in 2003 to nine last year.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0507...

Edit: Here is another version...

The occupation forces in Iraq suffer "psychological stress"

http://www.aljazeera.com/me.asp?service_ID=9256

An Army report says that the majority of the American soldiers in Iraq reported morale problems, with psychological stress weighing heavily specially among National Guard and Reserve troops.

Fifty-four per cent of the U.S. occupying soldiers in Iraq, questioned as part of an Army survey, stated that morale in their individual units was either "low" or "very low".

The report, dated January 30, 2005, provides a snapshot of the morale and mental health of soldiers serving in Iraq and Kuwait from August to October last year.

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Atman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-05 09:10 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. This was in Hartford paper as "Army morale is improving"
That headline in an nteresting perspective on the exact same article.
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Jo March Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-05 09:10 AM
Response to Reply #10
12. I can't even imagine what it's like for those soliders
Im sure it's a little hell on earth over there.

Way to go, *. You just keep screwing things up.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-05 09:10 AM
Response to Reply #10
13. duh! now bring them home!
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vickitulsa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-05 09:10 AM
Response to Reply #10
14. What do you bet
the teams of mental health experts, therapists, likely behavioristswho know how to "shape" behavior to suit them have "fixed" a lot of the problems that were reported by fiddling a bit with the statistics?

But oh, the Army should be so proud to have lowered the SUICIDE RATE of troops in a combat zone in a war where the general morale of troops is "low." Good thing they know how to treat that!

Where's my old sign from the Vietnam Era? "SUPPORT THE TROOPS! BRING THEM HOME!"

Because no amount of stat morphing or pumping up by the administration is going to raise morale in a war for which so many citizens here at home are increasingly doubting the justification.
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Obamarama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-05 09:10 AM
Response to Reply #10
15. Wait till they all come home, en masse.......
Edited on Thu Jul-21-05 09:08 AM by KzooDem
I hope to hell I'm wrong, but when our wish finally comes true and we bring these men and women home where they belong, I think we're going to see a huge spike in PTSD and other psychological distress among these new Iraqi war vets.

The mental health community, especially in the areas where soldiers are based, should be preparing NOW for the psychological consequences. I think many of them are conflicted about what they're doing and why they're doing it. It's my hunch that once they get home, look back and connect the dots many of them will carry resentment at being a pawn in an unjust war around for a long time.

What will the jingoistic assholes sporting Support The Troops ribbons on their cars do then?
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Bucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-05 09:10 AM
Response to Reply #15
17. Believe me, I'm waiting. Two of my former students are over there.
No bad news yet, but it's not an abstract thing when you actually know people who are in harm's way for no good reason.
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vickitulsa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-05 09:22 AM
Response to Reply #15
26. This is already happening.
The conflicted veterans of Iraq who have come home -- many of them for only a short stay before they are sent back -- are beginning to express their reluctance more loudly now. The PTSD problems are rampant; needn't wait till "after the war" to see them emerging, in part because the phenomenon is so well known now even to the general public. PTSD is recognized much sooner than it used to be. Two decades for the Vietnam vets, two weeks for the Iraq War vets.

It has already become impossible for the administration to hide these very real casualties of its unjust war. I'm starting to think it will be the military as well as the citizenry of this country that succeeds in demanding that this war be brought to an end. We knew from the very beginning that at least 2 out of 3 of the commanders working to prepare for an Iraq invasion had serious doubts about it. I don't think getting rid of some of our best generals who opposed this deployment did much to convince the others who were dubious about the necessity for this war that the administration was right and their colleagues who protested the deployment were wrong.

Now they've had a long time to see for themselves just what the situation is. No one knows better than the troops on the line and their superiors giving them orders just how untenable a "war plan" may be. As if there had ever been a realistic war plan in this case in the first place....

I have always and still do display flags. I support our troops no matter what our govt is doing to them. But I have also continued to display even MORE prominently the big bright yellow ribbons that shout to anyone who sees them: "BRING THEM HOME!"

I won't remove the yellow flags until this abomination in Iraq is brought to an end and the troops who are being sacrificed there are brought back home. Not just for a couple of weeks to see their new baby and then be sent back to the same AO they just came from, but for GOOD.

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Bucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-05 09:10 AM
Response to Reply #10
16. On the one hand it's really heartening to hear suicide numbers going down
...on the other hand, it's sickening to think about how in war we have to measure success in numbers. Those numbers are human lives and each uptick of each digit is a tragedy--doubly so because the whole damn thing was unnecessary.
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sintax Donating Member (891 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-05 09:11 AM
Response to Original message
18. Majority of soldiers Say Iraq Morale Low
Majority of Soldiers Say Iraq Morale Low
By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer
Wednesday, July 20, 2005


(07-20) 14:43 PDT WASHINGTON, (AP) --

A majority of U.S. soldiers in Iraq say morale is low, according to an Army report that finds psychological stress is weighing particularly heavily on National Guard and Reserve troops.

Still, soldiers' mental health has improved from the early months of the insurgency, and suicides have declined sharply, the report said. Also, substantially fewer soldiers had to be evacuated from Iraq for mental health problems last year.

The Army sent a team of mental health specialists to Iraq and Kuwait late last summer to assess conditions and measure progress in implementing programs designed to fix mental health problems discovered during a similar survey of troops a year earlier. Its report, dated Jan. 30, 2005, was released Wednesday.

The initial inquiry was triggered in part by an unusual surge in suicides among soldiers in Iraq in July 2003. Wednesday's report said the number of suicides in Iraq and Kuwait declined from 24 in 2003 to nine last year.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2005/0...

To see full report go to: http://www.armymedicine.army.mil/news/mhat_ii/OIF-II_RE...
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joemurphy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-05 09:11 AM
Response to Reply #18
19. I'm trying to envision what a Pentagon "mental health team"
would look like. "Look at this Rorschach, soldier! Tell me what you see!" Why am I skeptical about the efficacy of this?
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vickitulsa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-05 09:27 AM
Response to Reply #19
28. Because such teams deployed in this war
are probably given some pretty specific marching orders.

Fix this problem, it looks bad for the administration!

And the quickest way to "fix" it is to find a way to change the stats without really eliminating the problem. Both politicians and military stat keepers have long known how to do this sort of thing very well indeed.

There is no quick fix for low morale, especially low morale that is leading to high numbers of suicides in combat zones. And just think, those suicide stats don't include all the troops who injure themselves or pull a "Klinger" in order to be sent home....

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Iowa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-05 09:11 AM
Response to Reply #18
20. Same old crap...
"Still, soldiers' mental health has improved from the early months of the insurgency, and suicides have declined sharply, the report said. Also, substantially fewer soldiers had to be evacuated from Iraq for mental health problems last year."

Well that's a relief! For a minute there I thought our troops had a terrible morale problem, that many were cracking under the stress, and others were actually killing themselves. :sarcasm: They always attempt to put a positive spin on a miserable situation.
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Ksec Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-05 09:11 AM
Response to Reply #18
21. The author is just another America Hater....
so he should go live in France or Hollywood....

Why do these people hate America?


;)
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quaoar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-05 09:16 AM
Response to Original message
23. Note that the report is dated Jan. 30
So the study was done during the optimistic run-up to the Iraq elections and well before the recent surge in suicide attacks.
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vickitulsa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-05 10:14 AM
Response to Reply #23
29. No accident there...
That the govt released data from a study that is six months old, and which presents (they think) an "improving" situation for morale of soldiers in Iraq.

I'm going to check with my active duty friends, some of whom are serving in Iraq, and see what they say about the current "suicide stats." It's hard to ask about something like this, but I know one at least who would love to have his views known on something as important as this issue is.

It's telling of my own mood and thinking that I'm afraid to even ASK him about it....
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cubschicago Donating Member (123 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-05 09:20 AM
Response to Original message
25. Well when you don't really have a good reason to be fighting
Edited on Thu Jul-21-05 09:20 AM by cubschicago
and risking your life.....

Oh and craptastic leadership.
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vickitulsa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-05 11:23 AM
Response to Original message
31. And then there's this, from the same report.
"Burnout and Compassion Fatigue

Thirty-three percent of BH personnel reported high burnout, 27% reported low motivation, and 22% reported low morale. Fifteen percent agreed that the stressors of deployment impaired their BH job. If our providers are impaired, our ability to intervene early and assist Soldiers with their problems may be degraded. It is vital to understand the processes of provider burnout and compassion fatigue in order to prevent and intervene in order to preserve the care in our caregivers."


And just who are these caregivers?

According to the report, they are the Psychiatrists, Occupational Therapists, Psychiatric Nurses, Clinical Psychologists, Social Workers, Health Care Specialists, and Mental Health Care Specialists. Those with these MOS's serving incountry in Operation Iraqi Freedom are the ones who are reporting such disturbingly high levels of burnout, low motivation, and low morale.

I wrote a term paper years ago on nurse burnout in the United States health care system for the public. It was an eye-opening bit of research, and I understand all too well how drastically such burnout problems might be compounded in a military Area of Operations where the health care providers themselves are suffering low morale and impairment of their ability to give sufficient care to their patients -- our soldiers.

Whether it's the dangers to their own lives due to being in or near combat zones or the frustration of trying to help soldiers suffering from mental health problems when the underlying cause of those problems is ongoing, we can't accurately assess without more information. But the RESULT of low morale and impaired ability to do their jobs for mental health care providers is that they then become statistics in their own right. THEY have suicidal ideation and sometimes make suicide attempts.

It reminds me of the absolute futility health care providers incountry during Vietnam felt in the field (the medics and corpsmen), in the MASH units, and in base hospitals as that war dragged on for years. "China Beach," the TV series about one MASH-type hospital in Vietnam which aired during the late '80's, portrayed many of the effects of such futility and frustration upon doctors and nurses.

I know many Gulf War vets (W's daddy's ME war) who continue to suffer significant PTSD and other long-term mental health problems as well as medical problems from their service in that war. Now just a decade later we're going to be welcoming home, probably not en masse but in smaller groups as well as individually, literally hundreds of thousands of veterans from W's Iraq war. With their attendant problems based on their service for our country.

I have thought ever since we began hearing about IED's in Iraq that there probably isn't anything more likely to create monumental cases of PTSD than the omnipresence of those surprise attack devices. And with the body armor capability improved to the point the heads and torsos of our troops are pretty well protected, we are seeing dramatically high levels of amputations of limbs from this war. I watched a History Channel program last night about Rwanda, where the use of machetes during the massacres there in 1994 left so many people alive but limbless. And Vietnam today, where the leftover "anti-personnel" mines there continue to this day to kill and maim children and adults alike.

Pictures of armless and legless United States veterans, though, are bound to be working on the thought processes of the American public. I hope such tragic visions are having the right effect on them....

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