Saturday, January 06, 2007
AP: War Bad for Your Health
One must read the latest AP non-report about the effects of war on people with a big dose of "duh" in mind.
Study: War Trauma May Raise Heart Risks
A groundbreaking study of 1,946 male veterans of World War II and Korea suggests that vets with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder are at greater risk of heart attacks as they age.
The conclusion: war is bad for your health.
Wow. Wonder how much taxpayer money was wasted on THAT study!?
At least our veteran's aren't so stupid that they wouldn't have been able to know it all upfront, without a "study".
"It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out," said John Oliveira of New Bedford, Mass., a former Navy public affairs officer and veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Now, I certainly don't want to make light of the problems of coping that our veterans confront upon returning from war. Robert E. Lee once said that it is good that war is so horrible or we'd get too fond of it and he knew whereof he spoke.
People are vastly different and, whereas some may never experience much discomfort or anguish from their war service, others are bothered with the mental images for the rest of their lives. And we, as a society, should be observant and responsive to the needs of our returning heroes even as they advance into old age.
But the study we have here is so cursory that it is beyond any scientific use. The AP report mentions the following:
The data also didn't track how frequently the men exercised, so researchers couldn't tell if the men with PTSD symptoms were getting more or less exercise than other veterans.
In other words, no controlling factors were implemented, the only requirement for the study being that the subjects were in the military. And, while it is logically a prerequisite qualification necessary to be included in a study on the military, it isn't enough of a control factor to inform the findings.
It would be like deciding that all people who get haircuts are women based only on who goes in and out of the corner beauty salon!
The AP, though, does not rate the scientific viability of the study and even adds their own irrelevant part to the story.
(Dr. Gary J) Kennedy, who was not involved in the study, said treatment options for PTSD include drugs, talk therapy and behavioral changes such as getting more exercise and taking action to solve small problems in life rather than shutting down emotionally.
"We've got a whole generation of veterans coming back (from Iraq and Afghanistan) and their health needs are just going to be tremendous," Kennedy said.
A "whole generation" Mr. Kennedy? We hardly have a "whole generation" who will be "coming back" with "tremendous" health care needs. We certainly will have a large group who's needs must be satisfied, but this is no "generation" the size of WWII we are talking about. No need to exaggerate and blow the facts out of proportion.
It was most ridiculous that the AP is quoting someone who "was not involved in the study". WHY are we bothering with him in this story again?
In any case, this story really adds up to no information that is useful to the reader and starts with a "conclusion" that everyone takes as obvious in the first place; War is bad for you.
Duh, AP. Duh!