A Question of Priorities: Future Soldiers or Today's Veterans

Combine The Terminator with Robocop, throw in a little Iron Man, top it off with "The Million Dollar Man," and you get this guy: the soldier of tomorrow (if tomorrow arrives in 2030 or so).

As a soldier enters a crowded marketplace, sensors mounted on his helmet automatically scan faces in the crowd, identifying a known insurgent; a cursor in the heads-up display highlights the target and cues the weapon, which can be set to stun or kill; a simple voice command unlocks the trigger.

Given the nation's experience with Pentagon procurement, it's fair to predict that the futuristic weaponry won't work while the advanced body armor will give way to a butter knife. More troubling is the notion that future soldiers will be "enhanced with prosthetics" and fed "smart drugs." The Pentagon should put those ideas aside until it enhances its ability to provide mental health care to veterans. [more ...]

Ignoring the mental health problems of traumatized soldiers has a high social cost: an increase in crime, in prisoners, in broken families and wasted lives. That's what happened when the nation ignored the needs of returning Vietnam veterans:

Hundreds were imprisoned for crimes they committed as a result of drug abuse, alcoholism and manifestations of post-traumatic stress disorder, all associated with their military service. At one time, there were more than 200,000 of these veterans in our prisons.

Decades after the end of the Vietnam War, the neglect of mental health care for veterans remains an issue.

Despite the heroic efforts of the Department of Veterans Affairs, less that 40 percent of service members diagnosed with PTSD receive mental health services.

Let's put aside planned expenditures for futuristic weapons and biochemically enhanced soldiers and put the money where it will benefit society today: in adequate mental health treatment for veterans.

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    Well... (none / 0) (#1)
    by jarober on Mon May 25, 2009 at 01:00:20 AM EST
    If you could guarantee that no wars would be fought in the future, that would be fine.  Since you can't, you sound an awful lot like this guy...

    F people... (none / 0) (#2)
    by of1000Kings on Mon May 25, 2009 at 01:13:22 AM EST
    life isn't about people, it's about imperialism...

    I wonder how much money (none / 0) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 25, 2009 at 09:10:01 AM EST
    they'll totally blow on this crap?  We already have the smart drugs in Monafidil.  Hopefully they won't attempt to give troups amphetamines anymore because it always makes them friggin nuts.  We could have bought Dragon Skin body armor for our troops too when we bought new body armor awhile back but that small business didn't have any bureaucrats paid off so the soldiers and the taxpayers got screwed again.  As for the helmet that scans crowds like robocop.....I suppose if you dropped that on the ground once you'd break that like the current body armor does.  Does anybody have any idea how much crap we all paid for that ended up not being able to handle and work properly on the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan?  Much of the system is in truth mostly a tax payer money eating racket!

    how about the army puts (none / 0) (#3)
    by cpinva on Mon May 25, 2009 at 03:50:12 AM EST
    aside its future play toys, until it can guarantee that it won't recruit social defectives?

    these would be the mr. greens, the guys you don't want having any weapons at all, much less high tech ones. these are the guys who are probably a greater danger to their comrades, than the enemy is.

    and try to avoid recruiting people with cute nick names, like eric "the skull crusher" smith, since discipline is probably not high on his list of priorities.

    they didn't call them "berserkers" just because they thought it was a cool name.