Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Children with PTSD -- the Mother of all IED's

Preeti Aroon is an assistant editor at FP, which she joined in January 2007. She holds a master's degree in public policy from Duke University, where she was an opinion columnist and editorial page associate for The Chronicle, the university's student-run newspaper. A native of Lexington, Kentucky, Ms. Aroon was previously a copy editor and contributing columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader, and she holds bachelor's degrees in Spanish and chemical engineering from the University of Kentucky. [LINK to Foreign Policy Blogger Bios.]

This post from FP is one of the most important and ominous warnings I have read concerning the real legacy of the war in Iraq. Thoughtful readers are invited to read it fully, exploring every supporting link.

I wish I had more words of hope than I do. All I can say is that the sooner the madness is brought to an end, the sooner the traumatizing of children will diminish. Unfortunately, if peace came tomorrow morning it would still be too little, too late for many.

There's a time bomb ticking in Iraq, but it isn't made from chemical explosives. It's made up of traumatized children.

U.S. newspapers have given extensive coverage to the mental health issues faced by U.S. veterans of the Iraq war. Most recently, the New York Times published a lengthy account of women's struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),and earlier this month, we blogged about a video-game treatment for traumatized troops.

If grown adults who are in Iraq for just a few deployments suffer such mental health problems, then what about the children there who have grown up surrounded by nothing but war and violence?

A recent CNN report brings attention to these "silent victims." CNN cites a World Health Organization study that found that 30 percent of children surveyed in Mosul, and 10 percent of those surveyed in Baghdad, showed signs of PTSD. Examples of traumatic experiences children have suffered include a fourth-grader whose father and uncle were killed before his very eyes, and a 16-year-old girl who was abducted, raped, and forced to sleep next to a dead body.Traumatized children grow into very troubled adults. What does that say about the future of Iraq? In the coming decades, it will become a nation run by psychologically damaged people, if the country isn't stabilized soon.

For a preview of what to expect, just look west to the children of the second intifada. Today, they are a nihilistic generation of young adults, filled with little hope and much despair.

The Middle East is filled with demographic time bombs. The latest may be the Iraqi trauma time bomb.

It isn't just Iraqi children, of course. To some degree everyone is affected...
I'm thinking about our own children now in uniform whose character scars sometimes remain long years after their uniform has been left behind.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I am now a counselor for a local Rape Crisis Center and Children's Advocacy Center, went to graduate school after the Big Lubinski 20yr. career. PTSD is a common side affect of severe abuse and neglect. I reside in George and Laura's "Hometown."
I have job security with all the sexual abuse that goes on in this town. You would be amazed. The problem is getting worse nationally.

Rock on Luby's