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Understanding wounded brains helps soldiers: Top Army official

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The brains of US soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury remain a mystery to the US armed forces, according to a top US Army official.

“The issue is, we just don’t know that much about the brain,” Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the Army’s vice-chief of staff, said in an interview on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday.

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He continued, “We automatically assume so many times that a person that’s in a blast has a concussion. Many times, they don’t have a concussion. Instead, they have posttraumatic stress.”

Gen. Chiarelli told host Christiane Amanpour that understanding soldiers’ wounded brains is the key to meeting America’s “moral obligation” to help them transition into civilian life.

“You know, the problem with post-traumatic stress is that in the United States, the National Institute of Mental Health will tell you, for regular civilians, it is 12 years between the initiating event and when someone first seeks help,” he said.

Chiarelli continued, “Now the issue there isn’t that they finally seek help. It’s all the things that happen in between.”

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The Army general stressed that giving the troops more time to rest at home before new deployments would go a long way in preventing divorce, homelessness, substance abuse, as well as suicide among servicemen and women and veterans.

Of 1,500 pilots deployed today, 62 percent were on their third deployment, 40 percent were on their fourth, he noted.

Roughly two million American servicemen and women have been rotated through the theaters of war in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade.

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Chiarelli defended the Veterans’ Administration, which has a million disability claims in a backlog that Amanpour noted could take years to process.

“But,” he admitted, “the disability evaluation system is a World War II relic. It was designed for a whole different force coming out of World War II.”

When asked when the system would be fixed, the general pointed to Congress.

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“We need to fix it right now,” he said. “We need to take this one on.”

Chiarelli concluded, “We need to understand that a volunteer army is totally different from the Army we had in World War II, that it is a totally different kind of soldier in today’s Army and throughout the services, and we’ve got to fix that system.”

This video is from ABC’s This Week, broadcast Dec. 26, 2010.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

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US raps China for ‘escalation’ in South China Sea

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The United States on Thursday sharpened its criticism of China's activities in disputed areas of the South China Sea, slamming an "escalation" in efforts to intimidate other claimants" such as Vietnam.

China redeployed a government-owned survey vessel -- with armed escorts -- into the waters off Vietnam earlier this month, the US said.

Hanoi says those waters are part of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The move could reignite a spat between Beijing and Vietnam over rights to the resource-rich waters in the South China Sea. Other countries in Southeast Asia also have claimed parts of the sea.

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2020 Election

‘Unhinged, erratic and nuts’: Conservative warns Trump’s ‘chosen one’ outburst should set off alarms

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In her column for the Washington Post, conservative never-Trumper Jennifer Rubin implored Republicans to look deep down inside themselves and stop defending Donald Trump after the president bizarrely declared himself the "chosen one" while speaking to the press on Wednesday.

Under a headline, "Trump’s unhinged display should frighten everyone,"Rubin ticked off comments made by the president in the past week since he returned from vacation including expressing a desire to buy Greenland, proposing -- then backing off -- new tax policies and calling Jews "disloyal" and wondered what it will take for people to see that the president is "nuts."

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Trump press secretary’s scandal-plagued career includes DUIs, cheating, and a hideous comment about a botched execution

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Stephanie Grisham, who replaced Sarah Huckabee Sanders as President Donald Trump's press secretary, has led a scandal-plagued career that has been dogged by accusations of plagiarism and cheating on expense reports, as well as two arrests for driving while under the influence.

The New York Times reports that Grisham's resume is one that "contains red flags that most administrations might deem troubling," and the paper then goes on to document Grisham's multiple alleged ethical missteps that have so far cost her two different jobs.

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