Tag Archives: department of defense

The cost of war includes at least 253,330 brain injuries and 1,700 amputations

By Spencer Ackerman, February 8, 2013.  Source: Wired

Neuroimaging techniques like this Siemens software display are used by Army doctors to examine and diagnose traumatic brain injuries. Photo: Siemens, via U.S. Army

Neuroimaging techniques like this Siemens software display are used by Army doctors to examine and diagnose traumatic brain injuries. Photo: Siemens, via U.S. Army

Here are indications of the lingering costs of 11 years of warfare. Nearly 130,000 U.S. troops have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and vastly more have experienced brain injuries. Over 1,700 have undergone life-changing limb amputations. Over 50,000 have been wounded in action. As of Wednesday, 6,656 U.S. troops and Defense Department civilians have died.

That updated data (.pdf) comes from a new Congressional Research Service report into military casualty statistics that can sometimes be difficult to find — and even more difficult for American society to fully appreciate. It almost certainly understates the extent of the costs of war.

Start with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Counting since 2001 across the U.S. military services, 129,731 U.S. troops have been diagnosed with the disorder since 2001. The vast majority of those, nearly 104,000, have come from deployed personnel.

But that’s the tip of the PTSD iceberg, since not all — and perhaps not even most — PTSD cases are diagnosed. The former vice chief of staff of the Army, retired Gen. Peter Chiarelli, has proposed dropping the “D” from PTSD so as not to stigmatize those who suffer from it — and, perhaps, encourage more veterans to seek diagnosis and treatment for it. (Not all veterans advocates agreewith Chiarelli.)
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More analysis on Obama’s SOTU address: On his “Clean Energy Shout Out to the Dept of Defense”

Note: The information below is completely in line with the report on climate change put out by the Pentagon in February of 2005, where they predicted that climate change could “bring the planet to the edge of anarchy” (sic).  Yes, climate change is real and yes, its impacts are going to be beyond ugly, which is why grassroots mobilizing and unifying of struggles from the bottom up is so very important.

–The GJEP Team

by Jen Soriano

Cross-Posted from WarTimes

During his recent state of the Union Address, Obama shouted out the Dept of Defense as a clean energy partner.

“I’m proud to announce that the Department of Defense, working with us, the world’s largest consumer of energy, will make one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history -– with the Navy purchasing enough capacity to power a quarter of a million homes a year.”

Unlike some of Obama’s other claims (such as the fantasy that American influence has not waned and that America is even more respected around the world) – this one is true. It’s not only true, it’s just the tip of the iceberg of what the DoD is doing to promote clean energy. http://www.pewenvironment.org/news-room/reports/from-barracks-to-battlef…

Is this DoD greenwashing for good PR? Smart investment to reduce cost? Yes and yes. But above all, the DoD is serious about clean energy for one primary reason: survival.

During the UN Conference on Climate Change in Durban last December, the Department of Defense held a series of sessions touting its agenda to confront climate change.

Sitting in on one of the sessions, I expected a bunch of smoke and mirrors but instead what I heard bowled me over. Climate deniers would have heckled these military officials out of the building!

Here are some of the main points that DoD officials drove home:

– The threat of climate change is real. Research conducted by the U.S. Navy Task Force on Climate Change shows that ice thickness north of Barrow, Alaska has decreased by 40% since the 1980s and more than 20% below the record minimum since 2005. By 2050 navy researchers project we could be seeing 2-3 months of ice free conditions, leading to devastating sea level rise and increasingly sever storm flooding and damage. In the words of Rear Admiral David Titley “Our land is the climactic tail being wagged by the ocean dog. There’s a lot of heat going into the ocean.”

– The threat is large enough to warrant bold goal-setting. The navy’s goal is to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2020. [Note - this nearly meets science-based targets of 50% reduction below 1990 levels by 2017, set at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochbamba, April 2010 http://pwccc.wordpress.com/] The army has set a goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20110712/FACILITIES01/107120301

– The threat is also large enough to warrant innovation and significant investment to achieve these goals. The DoD is investing billions in R&D for emerging renewable and energy efficiency technologies. One of the most amazing examples they gave was a nanosolar power project being tested on a national guard base in California. In this project, solar panels are created by spraying nanoparticles onto thin aluminum sheets. Yeah. But the DoD isn’t just playing with high-tech toys like this. They are also exploring ways to address transportation challenges and reduce energy consumption through renewables – including rigging supply-carrying donkeys with solar panels.

The DoD is shape-shifting into a climate change warrior. Simply because, as one of the presenters put it: “Energy dependency and climate change threatens our effectiveness as war fighters.” In addition it became clear through the session that the US Navy considers themselves an impacted community, as rising sea levels threaten almost every navy installation across the world.

So in fact Obama should not just have shouted the DoD as a partner in clean energy projects, but as a leader driven not by politics or profit but by the sheer self-interest of survival. And because I support any concerted effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, here are some words of advice to the DoD to help them surpass their greenhouse gas reduction targets:

CLOSE OVERSEAS BASES – the DoD has nearly 1000 overseas military bases across the world, which cost more than an estimated 50 billion to maintain, and emit approximately 220 million tons of CO2. Closing bases including bases in Guam, Guantanamo and South Korea would not only greatly reduce costs and energy consumption, it would reduce the DoD’s toxic impacts on surrounding base environments and communities.http://www.fpif.org/articles/too_many_overseas_bases http://www.enviro-news.com/news/us_military_emissions_assessment_at_army…

CLEAN UP YOUR MESSES – the DoD is responsible for unspeakable amounts of radioactive and chemical waste across the world. The DoD should pay into environmental justice and climate adaptation funding to clean up its waste and support affected communities in repurposing former military land for community and ecological benefit.

CUT TRANSPORTATION EMISSIONS BY STOPPING DRONE MISSIONS – the DoD owns at least 600 drone planes that are powered by jet fuel. Jet fuel accounts for 58% of site delivered energy consumption by the US military. Stopping these missions would greatly reduce fossil fuel emissions as well as civilian deaths from drone strikes in Pakistan.
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/12/air-force-is-through-with-predat…http://karbuz.blogspot.com/2009/04/us-military-energy-consumption-in-200…
http://www.energybulletin.net/node/29925

FAST-TRACK CIVILIAN TRANSFER OF SOLAR NANOTECHNOLOGY AND OTHER RENEWABLE ENERGY AND EFFICIENCY SOLUTIONS, INFLUENCE CONGRESS TO END OIL SUBSIDIES AND USE THIS MONEY TO SUBSIDIZE AFFORDABLE AVAILABILITY OF THESE TECHNOLOGIES so the greenhouse gas reduction targets set by the military can also be set and achieved by grassroots communities across the country, in lieu of massive destructive projects like the Keystone XL pipeline and natural gas pipelines.

Just some modest proposals to support the DoD in their quest as climate change warriors. After all, why shouldn’t climate change be tackled by the biggest polluter and greenhouse gas emitter in the world? But clean energy investment is only one aspect of what’s needed. Stopping consumption and waste production at the source by pruning the wasteful practices of empire will get at the root of climate disruption. Now if only the Obama administration would follow suit.

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