The Pentagon has decided not to award the Purple Heart to soldiers who were mentally wounded in fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan. The Purple Heart is awarded to “those individuals wounded to a degree that requires treatment by a medical officer, in action with the enemy or as a result of enemy action where the intended effect of a specific enemy action is to kill or injure the service member.” The Army believes Post Traumatic Stress Disorder did not arise due to enemy action. Is it an illness or is it a wound from enemy action? John Fortunato of the Ft. Bliss Treatment Center has been arguing it is a wound noting, “these guys have paid at least as high a price, some of them, as anybody with a traumatic brain injury, as anybody with a shrapnel wound.”
Those returning from war zones in Iraq or Afghanistan have been wounded in such ways as many will never be the same human as they were prior to being sent overseas. Why isn’t a wounded mind as much a wound as a wounded part of the body?