Purple Hearts for PTSD?

Should the DOD give out purple hearts for a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder? Furious Seasons has a short piece about the issue, linking to stories in The Nation and The New York Times. Former Marine captain Tyler E. Boudreau recommends a new medal, a Black Heart, for those who suffer from PTSD due to their service. Eileen Lainez, a DOD spokesperson, had this to say:

“Historically, the Purple Heart has never been awarded for mental disorders or psychological conditions resulting from witnessing or experiencing traumatic combat events (e.g., combat stress reaction, shell-shock, combat stress fatigue, acute stress disorder, or PTSD),”

And some other readers of Stars and Stripes agree with her, but aren’t quite so eloquent:

“Every badge hunter and his brother will have this distinguished award in their sights,” Army Capt. Matthew Nichols wrote in a May letter to the editor.

Which begs the issue: do people try to get into the Army simply to get injured and get a Purple Heart?

I don’t know where to stand on this issue, perhaps because I’m not a veteran. Anyone want to weigh in?


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