By Carol J. Williams : August 24, 2009
Suicides among veterans average 18 a day, by the government’s estimation, and a backlog of disability claims for post-traumatic stress disorder and other untreated ailments approaches 1 million. With a massive military drawdown from Iraq and Afghanistan potentially on the horizon, lawyers for the veterans want a federal appeals court to order the Department of Veterans Affairs to make good on the nation’s commitment to take care of those wounded in mind as well as body. It is an onerous task that a lower court has already deemed beyond the power of the judiciary to correct. And the latest appeal, to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, has also been met with reluctance by the judges to tell a government bureaucracy how it should conduct its affairs.