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April 1984

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Emerging From the Rhetoric

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Brentwood, Calif, and the Neuropsychiatrie Institute, UCLA School of Medicine.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1984;41(4):411-413. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1984.01790150101014

History has shown war veterans to be a problem for society. George Washington hesitated to inform his troops of the war's end, fearing his "bedraggled and drunken" riffraff might harm the peaceful countryside.1 Reviewing the historical record at the end of World War II, Waller1 concluded:

Not always, but all too often [the returning veteran] is a problem because of his misfortunes and his needs, because he is maimed, crippled, demented, destitute, cold and enhungered; these things he is, these wants he has, from no fault and no desire of his own but solely because of what we have done to him; only because we have used him as an instrument of national policy; because we have used him up, sacrificed him, wasted him. No man could have a better moral claim to the consideration of his fellows. And no man could have a better right to bitterness.