Can US Afford High Non-Combat Injuries during Military Operations in Afghanistan and Iraq?

Repressing the rapidly-growing global security threats has been the foremost agenda of the United States military forces. But nothing comes without a cost. Non-Combat injuries have become the most severe health risks for the mobile US military.

The Journal of the American Medical Association has recently reported several causes of US non-combat injuries over the last 12 years. It was also found that one-third of the forces faced Non-Combat injuries during wartime military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Accidents, falls, equipment disasters and other non-battle events were amongst the major causes of casualties.

Injuries, which were not linked to combat, accounted for 13 per cent of the total hospital admissions during the Vietnam War and 25 per cent throughout Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. Over 50 per cent of the US service member deaths during Operation Desert Shield were caused by non-battle injuries. The four widespread reported diagnoses during the time included, non-combat orthopedic injuries, skin diseases, respiratory ailments, and gastrointestinal infections.

Of all the injuries reported, non-battle injuries accounted for 34.1 per cent and 11.5 per cent of deaths among military servicemen admitted to military medical facilities, the researchers stated.

The causes of injuries in the life of military servicemen are exactly the same that civilians are encountering, which should not be the case. The US needs more focus on ensuring the safety of military troops and keeping them healthy. Making an army entails a lot of training, money, time and other important resources. And US just can’t afford to lose its forces because of negligence.

These statistics are a wakeup call for the US military officials. Since the United States has presently deployed more than 140,000 troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, military health-care providers should be aware of all health risks prevailing in the regions. Moreover, it is a need of the hour to understand all the possible causes of injuries in Afghanistan and Iraq, and identify the strategies to abate them, in order to lay better safety standards for the military forces.

 

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