Morale in Iraq is hideous.
A recently released Pentagon mental health study of troops in Iraq found 45 percent of junior enlisted Army soldiers rated their unit’s morale as low or very low. Twenty percent of soldiers and 15 percent of Marines were found to have a mental health problem, defined as anxiety, depression or acute stress.
Events that made them feel “intense fear, helplessness or horror,” were described by nearly 40 percent.
Reported anonymously in the publicly released version of the study, the events included:
- “My sergeant’s leg getting blown off.”
- “A huge … bomb blew my friend’s head off like 50 meters from me.”
- “Doing raids on houses with bad intel.”
- “Working to clean out body parts from a blown up tank.”
- “Convoy stopped in dangerous areas due to incompetent commanders.”
- “A Bradley (tank) blew up. We got two guys out, three were still inside. I was the medic.”
The report also found:
- Fifty-six percent of soldiers were highly concerned about the long tours.
- Eleven percent of those deployed for the first time had a mental health problem, compared to 27 percent of those on repeat tours.
- Among soldiers exposed to a low level of combat, 11 percent had a mental health problem; it was 30 percent among those who saw a high level of combat.