the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist
“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx
Nov 13, 2023
The U.S. military has been subjecting artillery gun crews to brain injuries for years … and covering up their knowledge of it. Starting in 2016 to 2017, crews firing big artillery guns day and night, used in battles against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, began to experience memory and balance problems, nausea, irritability and crushing fatigue.
At first, military doctors weren’t sure what was causing these symptoms. They told artillery servicemen that they had attention deficit disorder, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
When these soldiers’ performance deteriorated or their behavior became erratic, many were seen not as wounded, but as a problem. They were denied promotions. Some were punished for misconduct. Some were discharged with less than satisfactory ratings and thereby cut off from veterans’ health care. A large number ended up committing suicide.
The Defense Department began investigating what was going on because they couldn’t train new artillery crews fast enough to replace those who became non-functional. They discovered that some crew members began to suffer brain injuries even during basic training—before they even were involved in any combat.
Now the military is clearly aware of brain damage suffered by big artillery crews. But it has yet to publicly acknowledge this and accept responsibility to help those who have been wounded or prevent further injury.