Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Troops denied month break

WASHINGTON — U.S. commanders in Iraq are rejecting a recommendation by Army mental health experts that troops receive a one-month break for every three months in a combat zone, despite unprecedented levels of continuous fighting and worsening risks of mental health problems.

Instead, commanders are trying to give troops two to three days inside heavily fortified bases after about eight days in the field, said Brig. Gen. Joseph Anderson, chief aide to the ground forces commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno.

“We would never get the job done of securing [of Baghdad] if we went out for three months and came back” for one, Anderson said.

U.S. forces in Iraq spend more time in continuous combat without a break than those who fought in Vietnam and World War II, according to Army psychologists who studied troops in Iraq.

Read the rest at Army Times

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