Veterans’ Mental “Wounds” Treated Differently in Courts


The Guardian interviews an Australian legal researcher who has been examining the different ways — past and present — in which courts in that country have been handling different types of cases involving war veterans.

“I found much earlier in the century, with more positive associations around war and less controversy, treatment of veterans by the courts was correspondingly more focussed on the heroism and sacrifices that person had made for the benefit of the country,” the researcher tells The Guardian.

But after the controversial Vietnam War, there was a shift.

“It becomes quite clear that after Vietnam, veterans as distinct and special became more based in their diminished status, and wrapped up in an idea of incapacity, trauma and diminished autonomy and therefore, diminished responsibility.”

Other contradictions and complexities frequently emerging in the cases have led the researcher to suggest a more specialized court may be needed.

Mental health wounds of veteran defendants create tough choices in courts (The Guardian, April 24, 2015)


  1. The biggest crime there is is sending people to war. It’s the biggest war crime that encompasses all. Guys like Bush and Cheney are personally responsible for every rape, murder, every act of torture in Iraq just as they are responsible for every veteran’s suicide, every shooting and beating precipitated by mental and physical injury. These are real crimes without which we would not have this conversation.

    I’m far from giving every veteran a pass on everything – quite the contrary, I’m sure there are people so deprived that they sick the army to be able to commit atrocities with impunity. But for most – they are victims of fucked up political system and a bunch of psychopaths who run the show. What bothers me the most is why seemingly normal, decent people buy into this bs and go to war to kill and get killed. It’s really depressing.

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  2. B;

    While I’m in no wise ready to give the Bush II people complete absolution, the use of military force is more complex than condemnation of it under all circumstances.

    This current Middle East mess can hardly be laid entirely in their lap.

    As for Vietnam, it was the peace movement which surrendered the South Vietnamese to horrifically murderous purges and decades of barbaric totalitarianism for decades by forcing U.S. withdrawal from the country.

    North Vietnam – the proxy and satellite of Communist China – was on the verge of collapse and capitulation when the anti-war movement in America pulled us out.

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    • As for ISIS: first, there would be no ISIS if not for American invasion. Secondly, much about what you hear about it is propaganda. Not that they are lovely people, rather than the other side is not really that much different. By interfering again in this mess US is essentially ensuring that this will never clear. There’s not way to bring peace by bombing people unless you mean peace by extermination of every living thing.

      As for Vietnam the similar thing is true. What US did there is inexcusable.

      Some Americans like to live in this alternate reality when they think that they can intervene military across the world and make things better. You’re the only ones who have this opinion, the rest of the world has a definitely different view.

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