Since the Second World War, the United States has been confronted with a major societal problem: the difficult reintegration of former combatants.
What makes the return of these veterans so difficult?
What means is the United States putting in place to offset this growing rate of ex-combatants living in extreme poverty?
Today a lot of veterans days are made of “nothing”. They sleep on the ground in subway stations. Life seems unfair to them.
The homeless from the Vietnam WarIt is part of what could be called “the old generation”, to which are added the veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: “the new generation”.
It is now estimated that a quarter of the number of former homeless combatants.
For veterans of the Vietnam War, the return to the United States was in a context of social crisis related to the denunciation of the conflict, which led to a significant social exclusion.
As for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the economic crisis is not helping anything: two hundred thousand of them have lost their homes.
This is a problem. “Shame” for the United States.
This high rate of today’s homeless veterans can be explained by many reasons that are often linked to each other.
This is what we might call the domino effect: veterans return to a country that does not expect them, so social reintegration is harsh for those who have lived things that few can understand.
Social and family reintegration can also be complicated by problems such as alcoholism and drugs that are directly related to the trauma of such wars.
One in six veterans is diagnosed with psychological sequelae, so-called PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) ranging from depression to acute anxiety and memory loss.
This prevents these people from having a so-called “normal” life, in a country that thanks them but cannot understand their pain.
This is particularly noticeable when these veterans are trying to find a job. Their past can scare employers.
It is observed that the soldiers who engage in such conflicts are young: they idealize the idea of a strong country that must make justice prevail.
But their ideas are quickly reduced to dust, while the trauma remains very present.
After the Vietnam War, the large number of veterans pushed the government to create a new federal agency: the Department of Veterans Affairs.
This department, still very active today, is divided into three separate administrations: one that manages access to medical care, another that deals with social support and one that is in charge of national cemeteries.
Despite a problem taken seriously in the United States since the end of the Second World War, the number of veterans who are now homeless is still very high.
To this housing problem, and as a consequence to it, is added the problem of suicide. Indeed, studies have shown that a veteran tries to commit suicide every twenty-four minutes.
Thus, veterans of the wars left the country full of hope and courage.
Most come back without anything, heroin addicts and homeless.