May 27, 2019

The unseen, uncounted toll of America's wars

Mike Allen, author of AM

U.S. Naval Sea Cadets carry flowers during a volunteer event ahead of Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery. Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

A tweet by the U.S. Army in the run-up to Memorial Day asked the simple question: "How has serving impacted you?"

Details: The tweet drew more than 11,000 replies, some of which "paint a harrowing picture of the toll America's wars have taken on those who fought them," Agence France-Presse reports.

  • One tweet said deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq, where many continue to serve, resulted in post-traumatic stress disorder "with chronic pain."
  • Another: "My dad came back from fighting in Iraq and was abusive, constantly angry, paranoid, and following that went through a lot of therapy but his mental and physical health are still off and he was definitely changed through all he had been through."
  • And another: "The 'Combat Cocktail': PTSD, severe depression, anxiety. Isolation. Suicide attempts. Never ending rage. It cost me my relationship with my eldest son and my grandson. It cost some of my men so much more."
  • And another: ""How did serving impact me? Ask my family."

The N.Y. Times points out that the call-out "provided what some felt was a rare platform to spotlight the darker consequences of military service for soldiers and their families":

  • "[T]weet after tweet described lifelong health complications, grief over loved ones lost, sexual assaults gone unpunished and struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

The Army said in follow-up tweets: "Your stories are real, they matter, and they may help others in similar situations."

  • "As we honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice this weekend by remembering their service, we are also mindful of the fact that we have to take care of those who came back home with scars we can’t see."

P.S. The Army's Twitter page reminds us: "All Gave Some ... Some Gave All."

Go deeper

Coronavirus hospitalizations keep falling

Data: COVID Tracking Project, Harvard Global Health Institute; Note: Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, Tennessee and Puerto Rico have not reported hospitalizations consistently. Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 continues to decline, particularly in New York and other northeastern states that were among the hardest hit by the virus.

Yes, but: Some states are still recording stagnant or rising amounts of hospitalizations.

Updates: George Floyd protests continue past curfews

Protesters on Tuesday evening by the metal fence recently erected outside the White House. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Largely peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Tuesday night across the U.S. for the eighth consecutive day.

The latest: Protesters were out en masse after curfews were in force in areas including Washington, D.C., New York City, Los Angeles and Portland — one of the cities where there was a late-night flash-point between police and protesters.

Primary elections test impact of protests, coronavirus on voting

Election official at a polling place at McKinley Technology High School in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In the midst of a global pandemic and national protests over the death of George Floyd, eight states and the District of Columbia held primary elections on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, needs to win 425 of the 479 delegates up for grabs in order to officially clinch the nomination. There are a number of key down-ballot races throughout the country as well, including a primary in Iowa that could determine the fate of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).