The American soldier serving in Iraq or in Afghanistan endure military situations that have not historically been the norm. In most prior wars of the twentieth century when there was a draft, if one served X number of months or obtained Y points, it was back to home, but the current model returns soldiers over and over again to combat zones. Andrew Pogany was a regular army sergeant who volunteered for combat in Iraq in 2003. During his initial days in combat the sight of bodies torn to shreds had a deep emotional impact on his mind and a psychiatrist recommended rest and return to duty. His superiors returned him to the States and classified him as a coward. He was not convicted in a court martial and in 2005 was given a medical discharge.
Pognay has spent the past several years working with soldiers suffering from Post Traumatic Stress and assisting them to secure assistance rather than enduring the shame of being termed a coward. He shares with them stories of being compelled to pick up cigarette butts and cleaning toilets as punishment for being a “coward.”
When will the armed forces recognize what is being done to our brave young men and women requires medical treatment, not insults.