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The War Comes Home

Washington's Battle against America's Veterans

Aaron Glantz (Author)


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The War Comes Home is the first book to systematically document the U.S. government's neglect of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Aaron Glantz, who reported extensively from Iraq during the first three years of this war and has been reporting on the plight of veterans ever since, levels a devastating indictment against the Bush administration for its bald neglect of soldiers and its disingenuous reneging on their benefits. Glantz interviewed more than one hundred recent war veterans, and here he intersperses their haunting first-person accounts with investigations into specific concerns, such as the scandal at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. This timely book does more than provide us with a personal connection to those whose service has cost them so dearly. It compels us to confront how America treats its veterans and to consider what kind of nation deifies its soldiers and then casts them off as damaged goods.
List of Resource Boxes
Preface: Returning Home from Iraq


1 A Soldier Comes Home 3
2 Trying to Adjust 16
3 A Different Kind of Casualty 28


4 The Scandal at Walter Reed 49
5 Coming Together 61
6 Education 69
7 Drugs, Crime, and Losing Your Benefits 86
8 Losing Your Benefits—Personality Disorder 95


9 Meet the Bureaucracy 105
10 Didn’t Prepare to Treat the Wounded 118
11 More Bureaucracy 129


12 Crime 143
13 Homeless on the Streets of America 156
14 Suicide 167
15 Suicide after the War 176


16 A History of Neglect 193
17 Winning the Battle at Home 208

Postscript: The War Inside 218
Afterword 227
Notes 229
Aaron Glantz, an independent journalist whose work has appeared in The Nation and The Progressive and on Democracy Now!, is the author of How America Lost Iraq.
“Written by a war correspondent who suffered from PTSD after a stint in Iraq, this book manages superbly to relate the stories of wounded individuals, describe the political and institutional issues that have led to the neglect of returnees’ problems, and suggest resources for veterans and their families. Essential for every U.S. public and academic library.”—Library Journal
“A breathtaking rebuke to government hypocrisy and an overdue contribution to gaining critical public awareness of this official neglect.”—Publishers Weekly
“Aaron Glantz puts himself at the forefront of those who are bringing this new generation of veterans into public view.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Sharply drawn examples and evidence-based judgments render all three stories highly readable.”—Choice
“Does what no professional journalist has done heretofore. . . . Powerfully compelling yet simply rendered.”—
"One of the many scandals of the war in Iraq is how the administration has betrayed our returning servicemen. I'm grateful that the facts surrounding these tragedies are finally being exposed."—Paul Haggis, Academy-Award-winning director of Crash and In the Valley of Elah, screenwriter of Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima

"A must-read for those who claim to support our troops."—Robert G. Gard, Lt. General, U.S. Army (ret.)

“The treatment by the Bush Administration of America's returning veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is one of the saddest chapters in American history. This story is painfully documented by Aaron Glantz. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to make the phrase, 'Support the Troops,' more than a slogan."—Former US Senator Max Cleland

"A fitting tribute to what these men and women fought and risked their lives and well-being for."—Gerald Nicosia, author of Home to War

"This superbly documented and eloquent book is a clarion call for honesty, compassion, outrage, and an end to the lies that cause so much suffering in far-off countries and in our own nation."—Norman Solomon, author of War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death

"Aaron Glantz draws on his eyewitness experiences of reporting in Iraq to bring the courage and the suffering of our troops into vivid relief. The War Comes Home exposes how physical and mental injuries plague our returning servicemen and what we can do about it."—Linda Bilmes, coauthor of The Three Trillion Dollar War

"Weep, America, cringe, America. We talk a good game about honoring all those who go into harm's way for our sake and caring for those who get physically and psychologically broken, but do we go beyond fine words and a few gold-plated flagship medical facilities? Are we walking the walk? Are we getting it right? Aaron Glantz is in our face on the military treatment facilities, the VA, and civilian society at large."—Jonathan Shay, MD, PhD, author of Achilles in Vietnam and Odysseus in America. MacArthur Fellow

"Aaron Glantz reports on the human cost of war, what it does physically and emotionally to those young men and women who carry out industrial slaughter. He rips apart the myths we tell ourselves about war and illustrates, in painful detail, the dark psychological holes that those who have been through war's trauma endure and will always endure. He reminds us that the essence of war is not glory, heroism, and honor but death."—Chris Hedges, former New York Times foreign correspondent, author of War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning

"We should all be reading people like Greg Palast and Aaron Glantz."—Al Kennedy, The Guardian (UK)
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Interview with the author, Aaron Glantz

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