Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Gulf editorial: Binge eating, drinking, drug use make U.S. troops "a sorry lot."

The stress of the Iraq war is taking its toll on U.S. troops in the form of overeating, binge drinking, and illicit drug use, says a provocative editorial in the Gulf News (United Arab Emirates). The editorialist writes:
When former US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld spoke of lighter, more mobile troops going into battle, it was accepted he was talking about units, not individuals.

Which is fortunate as a recent Pentagon survey shows more than 60 per cent of troops were overweight, an increase in the 2002 figure of 56 per cent.

The Pentagon puts it all down to stress: service members are eating and drinking more because of the Iraq war.

Combined with binge drinking, overeating and illicit drugs use, it makes for what would appear to be a sorry lot of soldiers America now has to rely on.

The Pentagon says it has the best fighting force in the world. Maybe, but a lean, mean fighting machine it obviously is not.
Reuters' report on the Pentagon study adds that Iraq-exposed troops also have higher incidences of depression, anxiety and other symptoms of mental illness, as well as increased work and family stresses. But, says the Pentagon, the soldiers' physical condition is still superior to that of the average American civilian. Source.

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