End Of Iraq War Won't End Need To Help Returning Veterans

By Jeff Neumeyer

December 8, 2011 Updated Dec 8, 2011 at 6:20 PM EDT

ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- It's estimated prosecution of the war in Iraq has cost the U.S. Government roughly $1-trillion.

But the costs will continue to rise long after all the troops have come home.

Helping those veterans get re-acclimated to being regular citizens again, doesn't happen fast, or come cheap, and the task of delivering care to returning veterans will take time, energy and resources in Northeast Indiana as well.

President Obama recently ordered that all remaining U.S. forces in Iraq return home by the end of this year.

A report in the Archives of General Psychiatry estimates up to 14 percent of those soldiers will suffer impairment due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or depression.

A number of them are also battling respiratory problems.

The Allen County Veterans Service Office assists veterans with a host of health care and financial needs.

The agency was taxed hard when a large National Guard contingent returned to Fort Wayne several years ago following a stint in the Middle East.

George Jarboe/Allen County Veterans Service Officer: " I think the same thing is going to occur, of course, when this group of veterans comes back, and maybe a little bit worse because of the economy and the way it is. A lot of them, like I said, are going to be jobless, are going to need income, are going to need benefits, so that's one of the first stops in the process."

At least one source estimates it could cost up to $700-billion to provide medical care to Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans over the course of their lives.

Allen County alone has approximately 32,000 veterans, including a whole new generation of veterans impacted by war, and its awful side effects.

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