The New York Times reported on research this weekend showing links between at least 121 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and violent crimes. Using reports from local newspapers, court records, and interviews, the Times uncovered case after case where military personnel returned from war showing symptoms of combat trauma and were later charged with murder.
An inquiry into homicides involving all active-duty military, as well as new veterans, in the six years surrounding the present wartime period showed an 89 percent increase in incidents to 349 instances, up from 184. About 75 percent of these cases involved Iraq- and Afghanistan-war veterans.
Brockton D. Hunter, a criminal-defense lawyer in Minneapolis, was quoted in the piece as saying,
To truly support our troops, we need to apply our lessons from history and newfound knowledge about PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) to help the most troubled of our returning veterans. To deny the frequent connection between combat trauma and subsequent criminal behavior is to deny one of the direct societal costs of war and to discard another generation of troubled heroes.
The Times piece is part of a special series entitled, War Torn.