SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

March 11, 2014

A look at what others are saying

Excerpts from the editorials of other New England newspapers.

Combat fatigue. Shell shock. Previous generations had a wide variety of names for what we now call post-traumatic stress disorder. But it has only been in recent years that psychologists recognized this reaction to war as a valid psychological condition — acknowledged that the horror of combat could leave a permanent mark on those who had to endure it, an invisible wound that was, for some, as debilitating as any physical trauma.

The difference? Those who took a hit to their body received lifelong care from a grateful nation. Not so for those suffering from mental scars.

Today, now that we have a better understanding of PTSD, it’s time to go back and right the wrongs of another era.

A lawsuit was filed by a Yale University law clinic on behalf of Vietnam veterans who had been denied medical care and other benefits as a result of discharges accepted in the days before the military recognized post-traumatic stress as a medical disorder.

Now it’s time to right at least one of the wrongs of that era. It’s time for the government to stop fighting these claims — even if it adds to the Pentagon’s budget — and grant these men the honorable discharge they have earned. It’s time to stop fighting this lawsuit and others like it and welcome these vets back into the fold.

— The New Britain, Conn., Herald

Significant cuts to defense spending like those proposed by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel are more likely to strengthen the nation economically and militarily than weaken it. That made the response to the proposed cuts by all four members of New Hampshire’s congressional delegation disappointing, if predictable. All expressed fears that the cuts were too deep; all vowed to protect the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard from any new attempt to lose unneeded military bases.

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