What Are the Wounds of War?

WASHINGTON — Centuries before Iraq and Afghanistan, George Washington created the Purple Heart to honor troops wounded in combat.

But with an increasing number of troops being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, the modern military is debating an idea Gen. Washington never considered — awarding one of the nation’s top military citations to veterans with psychological wounds, not just physical ones.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates offered cautious support for such a change on a trip to a military base in Texas this month.

“It’s an interesting idea,” Mr. Gates said in response to a question. “I think it is clearly something that needs to be looked at.”

The Pentagon says it isn’t formally considering a change in policy at this point, but Mr. Gates’s comments sparked a heated debate on military blogs, message boards and email lists. The dispute reflects a broader question roiling the military: Can psychological traumas, no matter how debilitating, be considered equivalent to dismembering physical wounds?

Full WSJ Article

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One Response to What Are the Wounds of War?

  1. dan says:

    Would the recipient soldier want such a medal?

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