Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy may contribute to Suicides among Veterans

U.S. Marine Cpl. Burness Britt, wounded June 4, 2011 in an IED blast near Sangin, Afghanistan, is part of a growing number of veterans thought to bet at risk for a unique brain injury known as CTE, or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. Doctors say CTE injuries may increase suicide risk, but there is no known method to diagnose CTE outside of autopsy. (Anja Niedringhaus/AP)

CTE resulting from explosions affects many veterans and has been linked by some doctors to the epidemic of suicides plaguing our men and women in uniform. How much CTE contributes to veteran suicide is unknown. However, it remains a terrible disease and there is no cure for CTE.

While support at home is vital there is no cure for CTE, and thus the best treatment is prevention – which means not putting soldiers in harm’s way in the first place. If our wars were about national defense then these costs would be at least understandable if still tragic. But if these wars are unjust and unnecessary as I believe that they are then the astronomical costs paid by our men and women in uniform are completely nonsensical. No one should have to pay the price that they do unless absolutely necessary.

Has the physical and psychological damage inflicted upon our troops been worth it? Have the deaths on and off the battlefield? Has America’s serial military intervention abroad really made us any safer?

Lets end our wars. A decade of hell is long enough. Lets get our troops out of the Middle East, put an end to the billions we spend to put them in harm’s way and put some of that money towards veterans’ benefits and support programs instead.

Lets support our troops; lets bring them home to where they belong.

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