The Price of Freedom
English 102 Instructor
: Mr. Christopher Genre Assignmen
t: Proposing Solutions Essay
America is on the verge of a domestic crisis brought about by seven years of conflict
abroad. When combat veterans return home, many have a difficult time transitioning back to
civilian life. This early difficulty assimilating, in many cases, leads to homelessness,
unemployment, and substance abuse. With hundreds of thousands of combat veterans returning
to the United States, these problems are rapidly becoming cause for a national concern.
Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are facing many of the issues faced by
veterans of the Vietnam conflict. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, veterans have an
unemployment rate of 10.4 percent, while the unemployment rate of the general population is
approximately 4.6 percent (Zoroya 5A). Veterans are experiencing an unemployment rate more
than double that of the general population, and it is believed this is the result of symptoms of
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The rate of homelessness among veterans is also more
than twice that of the general population. According to The Alliance to End Homelessness,
veterans account for 25 percent of the homeless population while accounting for only 11 percent
of the general population (Key 11A). Another problem faced by veterans is substance abuse,
which again reaches levels several times that of the general population. Substance abuse rates,
reaching The American Psychiatric Association’s criteria for abuse of alcohol and drugs was
observed to be 73.8 percent for alcohol and 11.3 percent for drug abuse among veterans suffering
from PTSD compared to 26 percent and 3.4 percent for alcohol and drugs respectively (Shay 36).
One study shows that once a veteran falls into the pattern of homelessness and substance abuse,
as many as 41 percent of veterans become criminals (Benda, Rodell, and Rodell 332). These
statistics prove beyond any reasonable doubt that homelessness, unemployment, and substance
abuse are problems that veterans are facing at disproportionately high rates. Eventually, this will
One solution to this problem, organized by the Veterans’ Administration (VA), is based
heavily on group therapy and antidepressant medication. These drugs, which include Paxil and
Zoloft, have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of PTSD
(Vedantam 3A). The VA is also experimenting with a new method of treating the disorder,
which shows promise. Known as exposure therapy, this treatment “asks patients to repeatedly
reimagine traumatic events as a way to make the events lose their potency” (Vedantam 3A).
Another aspect of the VA plan is to provide disability pay to those diagnosed with moderate to
severe PTSD. Priest and Hull state, “between 1999 and 2004, VA disability pay for PTSD among
Veterans jumped 150 percent, to $4.2 billion” ( 1A). Over 45,000 veterans of Afghanistan and
Iraq have sought treatment through the VA, and the current backlog of claims submitted to the
VA is estimated to be 400,000 (Priest and Hull 1A).
I believe a better solution to this problem would be a multi-faceted program, which
begins during a soldier’s basic training and continues on through the soldier’s transition into
civilian life. As part of this plan, units would be formed and stay together for three years through
training and deployment. The Army team evaluated this type of unit in the 1980s and determined
it was three times more skilled and effective than traditional units (Shay 216). In addition to
technical and tactical training, soldiers should be trained in what to expect from their bodies and
minds in high stress and combat situations, which would prepare them for any physical reactions
to combat stress such as tunnel vision and hyper-sensitive hearing. According to Lt Col. Dave
Grossman, soldiers can be trained to overcome physical responses to combat if they are prepared
(69). Once the deployments were completed, these soldiers would return to the U.S. by ship,
giving them the needed time to decompress and learn to deal with one another in a safe
environment. This makes homecoming far less stressful for a soldier than the current system,
which takes them from combat to family in a few days. Once back in the U.S., these units would
stay together, and group counseling would be incorporated into recovery and training. After a
period of six months, members of the unit would be allowed to leave for other duty stations or
civilian life. After the stabilization, veterans could then return to civilian life and transition to the
care of the Veterans’ Administration far more smoothly.
Another possible solution to the problem of veteran unemployment and homelessness
would be to return to a World War II style GI bill with the addition of required counseling to
collect the benefits. This program would provide for five years of full tuition, housing, and a
living stipend. It would require veterans to attend universities or technical colleges and to receive
counseling through the VA. This plan would be expensive; Senator James Webb, who proposes a
similar bill, estimates the plan would cost an additional $2 billion a year (Khardaroo USA2).
Under this plan, veterans would be taken out of competition for civilian jobs if a period of
recession occurs. Veterans would also be off of the street and in therapy, thus reducing the
chances of them falling into criminal activity. However, the most important difference is the
probable increased tax revenue from the veterans with higher education, which would help repay
part of the initial cost of the program. According to a 1988 report for Congress’s Joint Economic
Committee, the return on investment for the original GI Bill “was $5 for every $1 spent,” and
only 40 percent of veterans who would not have attended college otherwise were counted
(Khardaroo USA2). The bill does the best job of attempting to reintegrate veterans into civilian
life and thus preventing veterans from losing their way.
American Veterans are a special class of citizens because they have voluntarily paid an
enormous personal price to secure the American way of life; yet, too many continue to pay long
after they have returned home. Future generations will question the way in which we treat these
men and women who have sacrificed so much to keep America safe. The price would be
negligable compared to what society could lose.
Benda, Brent B., Daniel E. Rodell and Luci Rodell. “Crime Among Homeless Military Veterans
Who Abuse Substances.” Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal Spring 2003: 332-345.
Grossman, Dave. On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in
Kharadoo, Stacy Teicher. “GI Bill May Be Updated to Help Veterans Meet Rising College
Costs.” Christian Science Monitor 14 Feb. 2008: USA2. Lexis-Nexis Academic. Lexis-
Nexis. Sims Memorial Lib., Southeastern Louisiana U, Hammond, LA. 11 Mar. 2008
Key, James. “Homeless Vets Reveal a Hidden Cost of War.” USA Today 18 Jan. 2008: 11A.
Academic Search Complete. EBSCOhost. Sims Memorial Lib., Southeastern Louisiana
U, Hammond, La. 5 Feb. 2008 <http://web.ebscohost.com>.
Priest, Dana and Anne Hull. “The War Inside: Troops Are Returning From the Battlefield With
Psychological Wounds, But the Mental-Health System That Serves Them Makes Healing
Difficult.” The Washington Post 17 June 2007, met 2 ed.: 1A. Lexis-Nexis Academic.
Lexis-Nexis. Sims Memorial Lib., Southeastern Louisiana U. 11 Mar. 2008
Shay, Jonathan. Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming. New
Vedantam, Shankar.” Most PTSD Treatments Not Proven Effective; Scientists Find That One
Therapy Is Shown to Help Disorder; Evidence of Drugs’ Benefits Inconclusive.” The
Washington Post 19 Oct. 2007, suburban ed.: A3 Lexis-Nexis Academic. Lexis-Nexis.
Sims Memorial Lib., Southeastern Louisiana U, Hammond, LA. 11 Mar. 2008
Zoroya, Gregg. “Young Vets’ Jobless Rate Falls Sharply.” USA Today 12 Jan. 2008: 5A.
Academic Search Complete. EBSCOhost. Sims Memorial Lib., Southeastern Louisiana
U. Hammond, LA. 5 Feb. 2008 <http://web.ebscohost.com>.
Mr. Genre’s Comments
: Robert Williamson’s submission is a prime example of a Proposing
Solutions Essay. The assignment was to suggest a problem, present three solutions, and then
argue one solution is better than the others. Robert’s paper exemplifies these directions. He
outlines in precise detail exactly what the problem is and why it is a notable problem. His
solutions are extensively and thoroughly researched. And, probably most impressive, is he does
not merely rehash solutions which have been proposed before, but rather he examines what
plans are already in place and then suggests new/alternative plans or explains ways to expand
and/or improve these plans--an excellent essay.
help me make a difference 24 March 2011 A Note from Ai Lin, David’s mom. After the news broke about the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis that struck Japan on Friday 11 March 2011, a curious and nosey preschooler de- Can I have school cided that he just needed to know what the adults were talking about. He wanted to know about all the pictures shown on the news and requested
UTILIZATION OF CONCENTRATED GRAPE JUICE AS A SWEETENER FOR MAKING NATURAL FOOD PRODUCTS M. Vibliani(1), L. Goginava(1), T. Kortava(1), O. Gotsiridze(1), Ts. Oshakmashvili(2), M. Ardzenadze(3), M. Kobakhidze(3) (1) Institute of Horticulture, Viticulture and Oenology. 6, Marshal Gelovani Ave. 0159. Tbilisi. Georgia. (2) Georgia Agrarian University. 13th km of D. Agmashenebeli a