'This Week' Transcript: Odierno and Chiarelli

AMANPOUR: Can I ask you, because I want to sort of stop you when you say high-risk behavior. Obviously some of it is because of high-risk behavior, but there are parents who have told us that it's not just about high-risk behavior. They're children were absolutely fine until they went to the front over and over again. One mother said, that she's offended at how suicide victims are being stereotyped as reckless losers predisposed to engage high-risk behavior, her son didn't leave home that way.

You know, do you think that -- do you think that all of these people are simply predisposed to high-risk behavior?

CHIARELLI: Absolutely not. Absolutely not. What are soldiers are seeing downrange every day human beings shouldn't see at times, and we have problems with posttraumatic stress. We know we have soldiers who come back, and I like to call it a chemical injury that takes place because of the way their body reacts to some kind of event.

AMANPOUR: And yet, you know, I know, because I've reported on these soldiers, and you know because you've had to deal with them and take care of them that this still is an enormous stigma

AMANPOUR: Let me put up something that President Obama said this week about this very issue. Listen.


OBAMA: To anyone who is struggling, don't suffer in silence. It's not a sign of weakness to reach out for support, it's a sign of strength. Your country needs you. We are here for you. We are here to help you stand tall. Don't give up.


AMANPOUR: So President Obama speaking to veterans earlier this week.

But the thing is, whose here? How many behavioral experts do you have? How many people do you need? How many do you actually have?

CHIARELLI: Well, I don't know if we know how many we need. We have a force that has been stressed after almost a decade of war. We're looking for new ways to be able to deliver behavior health, such as virtual behavior health where we literally bring up a network using the internet, using the network of doctors, say 200, from all over the United States who can, in fact, provide a good, good look at our soldiers when they return.

AMANPOUR: I've heard that perhaps you have a shortfall of hundreds of people who can actually provide this kind of help.

CHIARELLI: Well, we do have a shortage.

And if you want to get at stigma, you start with the brigade commander, brigade command sergeant major and work right down the chain of command so every soldier sees his leader going through the same checks that the soldier's going to go through.

AMANPOUR: I want to also have you listen to a young soldier in -- on the battlefield. Listen to this little clip for a moment.


MALE: You can't get a better high. It's like crack, you know? You can skydive or bungee jump or do kayak, what? Once you've been shot at, you really can't come down. There's nothing -- you can't top that.

QUESTION: Are you going to go back to the civilian world then?

MALE: I have no idea.


AMANPOUR: There it is.

CHIARELLI: Well, that's the kind of individual -- that individual needs that help that we've got to convince to get that help. And we've got to get leadership to be attuned to those kind of reactions.

AMANPOUR: What can leadership say to young soldiers, young servicemen and women who find themselves at the front and who have that reaction that there's no bigger high, that we cannot cope with civilian life once we come back?

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...