The decision to invade Iraq in 2003 remains controversial almost a decade after the first barrage of airstrikes hit Baghdad. Even though the American military presence is slowly being scaled back the political and social impact of the invasion continues. The war remains a financial drain. The Iraq government remains unstable. But dealing with the human toll of the war might be its most lasting impact.
Not all Injuries are Visible
Soldiers returning home with missing limbs or other physical injuries can be treated with physical therapy. Modern medicine might not have the answer when it comes to healing their psyches. Occurrences of “shell-shock” became a cultural phenomena in the aftermath of the First World War. The disorder was still considered a physical ailment at the time, but acknowledgement of the disorder was a start to attempting to find ways to treat it.
With greater understanding, shell-shock became understood as post-traumatic stress. It was no longer a physical disorder, but a mental one. Understanding the problem has led to better treatments. Groups such as Los Angeles brain injury lawyers look out for soldiers.
People who suffer from PTSD have witnessed an event so traumatic that the emotions triggered by that trauma caused changes in their brains. Experts don’t know why some combat veterans develop PTSD and why others do not. Developing PTSD seems related to the intensity of the event.
The legacy of the decision to invade Iraq will be debated for decades. No matter what historians decide, the price of the war proved too great for many families with veterans.