Navy Captain William Nash, who is the Marine Corps combat stress commander, urges that all Marines being discharged for misconduct be “aggressively screened” for evidence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, particularly if they had been deployed in a combat area.
Those who have served in the armed forces constitute about 25% of the American population although they only constitute 12% of our prison population. Of course, with the end of a draft, the percent of veterans in the population will dramatically decline in the coming decades. However, there is evidence PTSD may trigger more violent forms of criminal behavior as well as self destructive characteristics. The war in Iraq has placed a few hundred thousand young people into stressful situations which in the coming years may elicit many forms of violence. There is need to expand mental health services for all who have served in Iraq. At least, that much is owed to those sent to an insane war for insane reasons.