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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Iraqi Veterans Losing Battle

For as long as the United States has sent its young men — and later its young women — off to war, it has watched as a segment of them come home and lose the battle with their own memories, their own scars, and wind up without homes. To the dismay of many Americans, Veterans make up 25 percent of homeless people in the United States, though they are only 11 percent of the general adult population, according to a recent VA homeless report, (see Tsunami Effect, Thursday, November 8, 2007).

In an article published Saturday January 20, 2008 AP writer Erin McClam reports on the growing concerns of homelessness conquering Iraqi war veterans. She said … “This is not a new story in America: A young veteran back from war whose struggle to rejoin society has failed, at least for the moment, fighting demons and left homeless.

“But it is happening to a new generation. As the war in Afghanistan plods on in its seventh year, and the war in Iraq in its fifth, a new cadre of homeless veterans is taking shape.

“And with it come the questions: How is it that a nation that became so familiar with the archetypal homeless, combat-addled Vietnam veteran is now watching as more homeless veterans turn up from new wars?

“What lessons have we not learned? Who is failing these people? Or is homelessness an unavoidable byproduct of war, of young men and women who devote themselves to serving their country and then see things no man or woman should?”

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