Foreign Policy(sub. only) have a web only piece on “The Top Ten Stories You Missed in 2004”, coming in at number 10:
Around 800,000 U.S. military troops have served in either Iraq or Afghanistan since Sept. 11, 2001. On top of being overstretched, the general health of the military may be deteriorating. More than 9,300 servicemen and women have been wounded, and there have been more than 14,400 Army medical evacuations in Iraq. At 7 to 1, the ratio of wounded to dead is the highest of any conflict in recent memory; in Vietnam, it was around 3 to 1. Wounded soldiers today have a much better chance of surviving than in the pastimproved medical technology and body armor enable soldiers to endure injuries that would have killed them in previous wars. Priceless lives are saved, but the human cost of debilitating injuries and the financial cost of treatment and rehabilitation may loom large in years to come. Steve Robinson, executive director of the National Gulf War Resource Center, calculates that if a 24-year-old married male soldier with one child were to develop post-traumatic stress disordera condition that, together with depression and anxiety, afflicts about 1 in 6 soldiers returning from Iraq, according to the New England Journal of Medicinehe or she could receive compensation payments of more than $2,400 per month for the rest of his or her life.
That could work out to be a good deal of money if US troops stay another few years. Or will they all be out by the second anniversary of the invasion?