Jesinoski does believe these veterans have more mental problems, especially from multiple deployments.
"You just can't keep sending people into war five, six or seven times and expect that they're going to come home just fine," he said.
For taxpayers, the ordeal is just beginning. With any war, the cost of caring for veterans rises for several decades and peaks 30 to 40 years later, when diseases of aging are more common, said Harvard economist Linda Bilmes. She estimates the health care and disability costs of the recent wars at $600 billion to $900 billion.
"This is a huge number and there's no money set aside," she said. "Unless we take steps now into some kind of fund that will grow over time, it's very plausible many people will feel we can't afford these benefits we overpromised."
How would that play to these veterans, who all volunteered and now expect the government to keep its end of the bargain?
"The deal was, if you get wounded, we're going to supply this level of support," Bilmes said. Right now, "there's a lot of sympathy and a lot of people want to help. But memories are short and times change."
VA's Home Page http://www.va.gov/
VA budget, performance: http://www.va.gov/budget/report/
IOM Coming Home report: http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=12812
Costs of war: http://bit.ly/y5cLsH
Veterans quick facts: http://www.va.gov/vetdata/Quick_Facts.asp
War casualty reports: http://www.defense.gov/news/casualty.pdf
Brain Injury Center: http://www.dvbic.org/
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