There’s a lot in the weekend’s papers and around the blogs that should not be missed.
*The LA Times has an important editorial about the necessity to define and standardize just what we mean when we say “drop out,” so that school districts (LAUSD a notable example) can no longer play Hide the Dropout. The Times rightly gives credit to US Education Secretary Margaret Spelling for calling for the standardization.
*On Saturday, Glenn Greenwald at Salon notes the frequency with which the media mentions Barack Obama’s bowling score and the fact that the Clintons are rich, but how comparatively rarely our media managed to comment on the declassification of John Woo’s torture memo that makes clear that the Bush administration “…declared the Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights to be inapplicable to ‘domestic military operations’ within the U.S.
*The LA Times also has a smart and thoughtful Op Ed by novelist Rabih Alameddine about the dangerous and prejudicial way we use the words “God” and “Allah” in this country.
*But for me the weekend’s most upsetting and essential read is the report in the New York Times that Army leaders are worried about the mental health of our troops when they are subjected to repeat tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Here are some relevant clips:
Army leaders are expressing increased alarm about the mental health of soldiers who would be sent back to the front again and again under plans that call for troop numbers to be sustained at high levels in Iraq for this year and beyond.
Among combat troops sent to Iraq for the third or fourth time, more than one in four show signs of anxiety, depression or acute stress, according to an official Army survey of soldiers’ mental health
Among the 513,000 active-duty soldiers who have served in Iraq since the invasion of 2003, more than 197,000 have deployed more than once, and more than 53,000 have deployed three or more times, according to a separate set of statistics provided this week by Army personnel officers. The percentage of troops sent back to Iraq for repeat deployments would have to increase in the months ahead.
The Army study of mental health showed that 27 percent of noncommissioned officers — a critically important group — on their third or fourth tour exhibited symptoms commonly referred to as post-traumatic stress disorders….
I have a lot more thoughts about the issue, but I’m on a hard-core deadline so I’ll leave it at this: In the past, the military has not typically been terribly good at appropriately worrying about stress and PTSD. So if the Army is starting to throw up red flags about the compromised mental and emotional health caused by repeated deployment in this wrong-headed, swamp of a war (my terms, not theirs), with it’s ambiguity of enemies and purpose, I can only imagine the worry of the mothers, dads, wives, husbands and children of the service people we are using so recklessly.
Anyway, read it, and let me know what you feel and think.
PS: I’m going to see The Boss in Anaheim on Tuesday night, so he’s on my mind, hence the YouTube illustration rather than a photo.