PTSD Becomes Legal Issue With Army Sergeant’s Case

We don’t know if Army Sgt. Robert Bales was even diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or not but even if that was the case, that alone wouldn’t have kept him from being sent to the frontlines again.

Between 2000 and 2011, the Army diagnosed over 76,000 soldiers with PTSD and of those numbers over 65,000 had been diagnosed with PTSD during some stage of deployment, according to a recent news story.

Mental health experts along with Army officials, say many soldiers returned to war after their health providers deemed their PTSD treatment had worked and the disorder was in remission.

However, the Army doesn’t track the exact number of combat soldiers who were diagnosed with PTSD or if they are taking medicine for it. The case regarding Sgt. Robert Bales has ignited debate about whether the army failed to detect the instability in his mental state.

Sgt. Bales went on a shooting spree March 11th that killed several families and included nine children in two separate Afghan villages. For some, Bales is the personification of a soldier who was afflicted by the psychological wounds of war and pushed beyond safe limits by the Army.

Bales’ attorney believes his client committed this horrifying crime as a result of his 10 year military career in which he was deployed to war zones four separate times. While mental health expert claim it is reasonable that PTSD might have been a contributing factor, it is most likely not the only factor that caused this veteran to snap.

There isn’t much known about the psychological impact of war wounds but much less is even known about veterans who undergo multiple deployments.

Military officials rely on mental health experts when it comes to deciding if a soldier is mentally fit enough to return to war. They say they can’t make it a "blanket policy" when it comes to not re-deploying those veterans with PTSD.