A Very Sad Christmas Season For Many
by James Glaser
December 21, 2009

There are millions of Americans out of work, and with that lack of employment, tens of millions in their family will be affected. That is bad, but not as sad as Christmas can get.

There are over 5,000 American families who have lost a loved one in our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. On top of that there are over 40,000 troops who have been wounded. The numbers only get worse. Over 100,000 troops now receive compensation for permanent injuries suffered in these wars, and hundreds of thousands are being treated for traumatic brain injuries and PTSD.

Still the wars go on. This week, more Marines are heading for Afghanistan to be part of President Obama's military surge there. Most Americans don't know this, but between the number of our troops and the number of paid contractors we have over there, a half million Americans are now in the combat zone.

The Pentagon uses paid contractors to do many of the jobs our Soldiers and Marines performed in wars like Vietnam. That keeps the number of troops down, but about the same number of families this Christmas will be worrying about their loved ones as American families did at the height of the Vietnam War. It is just a numbers game Washington has come up with.

So, the families with a hole in their heart caused by a loved one dying in the war or the families with a member spending the rest of his or her life totally disabled will not have the same kind of Christmas the rest of us will.

We won't even talk about the millions of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan who we have killed or maimed. We won't remember them at all, but our Soldiers and Marines who killed them will. There is a direct correlation between the killing and the dying and the maiming in war, and the number of combatants on all sides who will suffer with the Post Traumatic effects of combat.

Yes, there will be a lot of sadness this Christmas.

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