Many Americans believe their nation is now free of the Bush years because there is a new president in power. However, the Bush legacy lingers on within the judiciary and certainly within the Veterans Administration. A recent study reveals that 106,726 veterans of the Iraq war have sought assistance from the VA health care system for mental health issues. This figure is much lower than the Armed forces which claim only about 62,979 soldiers have required aid in the area of mental health. The difference in numbers can readily be explained by noting once members of the military leave the service they no longer fear shame and humiliation because they claim to have mental health issues. Karen Seal, who wrote the report, points out “veterans seeking VA care may have less stigma and career-related concerns than do active-duty military personnel about disclosing mental health problems.”
The legacy of Bush will linger decades as PSTD issues emerge during the lives of veterans. George will be chopping wood in Texas while those who served their country struggle to get it through the night in one piece. Drug use, alcohol, smoking and a host of other issues may last for years to come and never be calculated in the list of those who were wounded or died in combat.