ABC News’ Haley Muse reports:
Ivan Lopez, the man who opened fire at Fort Hood, killing three of his fellow soldiers and wounding 16 others, should be considered a wounded warrior himself, former Army Vice Chief of Staff retired Gen. Peter Chiarelli said today on ABC’s “This Week.”
“I think you have to,” Chiarelli, who is also an ABC News consultant, said when asked whether Lopez should be thought of as a soldier who was wounded himself. “If you really want to get the stigma associated with these problems, we have got to consider these wounds of war.”
Chiarelli, along with Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, and The New Yorker staff writer Nicholas Schmidle discussed the shooting and the lasting effects of post-traumatic stress disorder with Martha Raddatz on “This Week.”
FBI and U.S. military officials continue to investigate Ivan Lopez’ state of mind prior to Wednesday’s shooting. Lopez was in the process of being evaluated for PTSD.
There were 130,000 reported cases of PTSD among veterans last year. Schmidle argued Americans are not paying enough attention to the lasting effects of war on veterans.
“I think that that’s something that the American public thinks that, OK, there were no casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan during the month of March, the American commitment is over, and it’s far from over,” he said. “It would be horrific to imagine that you would send a young man or woman into Iraq or Afghanistan at the worst time of combat, ill equipped for war. We should be equally as horrified that they are ill equipped to come home and transition home as we were that they were ill equipped to fight.”
According to Carter, the army has made progress in increasing the awareness of PTSD, but despite that, one in five veterans still suffer from the disorder. Carter called the issue “critical,” and said the government must “provide more resources both at the DOD level and at the VA level.”
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