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Afghanistan: The wider and real toll

Obama has decreed another 30,000 troops being sent to Afghanistan. Other countries are also committing to sending more personnel of one description or another.

Being involved in war obviously carries risks with it - serious injury and even possible death. There are also much wider ramifications, as this op-ed piece "A Fearful Price" by Bob Herbert in The NY Times reveals:

"There was an article in The Times on Monday about a new study showing that the eight years of warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan were taking an emotional toll on the children of service members and that the difficulties increased the longer parents were deployed.

There is no way that the findings of this study should be a surprise to anyone. It just confirms that the children of those being sent into combat are among that tiny percentage of the population that is unfairly shouldering the entire burden of these wars.

The idea that fewer than 1 percent of Americans are being called on to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq and that we’re sending them into combat again and again and again — for three tours, four tours, five tours, six tours — is obscene. All decent people should object.

We already knew that in addition to the many thousands who have been killed or physically wounded, hundreds of thousands have returned with very serious psychological wounds: deep depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and so on. Other problems are also widespread: alcohol and drug abuse, family strife, homelessness."

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