On Wednesday November 14, our host Jan Miyasaki interviewed Joshua Kors, investigative reporter for The Nation, covering military and veteran’s issues. He is the winner of the National Magazine Award, for his series on how military doctors purposely misdiagnose soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan with personality disorders in order to deny them medical care and disability pay.
Military doctors are diagnosing soldiers with a “phony preexisting condition” called “personality disorder” explains Joshua. The condition is used to explain deafness, blindness, missing limbs, and by claiming this preexisting condition, the military is able to deny the soldiers “a lifetime of disability and medical benefits. And they’re been doing this to tens of thousands of soldiers, at a savings of over 17.2 billion dollars in disability and medical benefits.”
Joshua explains that aside from being denied these benefits, the soldiers who have been discharged with personality disorder must give back a portion of their signing bonus, “so that right now, thousands of wounded soldiers leaving Afghanistan are finding out on their final day of uniform, that they actually owe the army several thousand dollars. And that has been a devastating blow for soldiers who are coming back, struggling to find work as it is, now find themselves in debt.” Sgt. Chuck Luther, who was discharged with personality disorder, now organizes an effort, Disposable Warriors, which helps other soldiers who have been wrongfully discharged by helping them get their benefits fixed.
In honor of Veteran’s Day, Joshua has a new post on his blog with the Huffington Post, Six Ways to Honor Our Veterans. Joshua has also created a list of organizations that offer free assistance to veterans, including medical and psychological care. He explains that the number one way to honor Veterans is to distribute this list of resources to as many people as possible. Among his other suggestions, Joshua recommends Reporter David Wood’s Pulitzer-winning series on wounded warriors and James Dao’s coverage of suffering soldiers for the New York Times. He also recommends several movies that cover the topic of modern war and its aftermath on soldiers, including When I Came Home, Poster Girl, Restrepo, and Happy New Year.
Listen to the entire interview here: