Sustained Outrage

Once again, we present stories that captured our interest this week.

One in five soldiers who served in the Iraq War indicate that they have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and major depression, and that jumps to to almost 30 percent for those who have served more than one tour of duty, New York Magazine reported in a poignant story about the toll that soldiers are paying. Pharmaceutical prescriptions to service members have skyrocketed, and drug and alcohol abuse and criminal activity by active-duty soldiers have increased. Three years ago, the rate of suicide in the Army overtook the rate in the general population, reversing the historical trend.

The Afghan government is drafting new rules that may require women to appear before an eight-member panel to justify their need for services at women’s shelters, according to The New York Times. Possible consequences of failing to qualify include jail or being sent home, where they could face beatings, and women may be forced to submit to virginity tests. “The new rules speak to the suspicions that women’s shelters still generate in this deeply conservative society, where the shelters have come to symbolize the competition between modern values and traditional Afghan ways,” the article notes.

In fascinating medical whodunnit, the Newark Star-Ledger looked at doctors’ and scientists’ race to find the proper antidote for thallium, a rare lethal drug. When the head of New Jersey Poison Control received a call from doctor asking for help treating a case of thallium, he replied, “It’s either attempted suicide or homicide.” The patient died before authorities could track down the antidote, “Prussian Blue,” and his wife has been charged with murder.