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Pulitzer Center Update August 17, 2012

This Week in Review: After the Battlefield

Media: Author:
Media file: Afghanistan_ptsd.jpg
Image by Anna Badkhen. Afghanistan, 2011.

In the current issue of Foreign Policy, Pulitzer Center grantee Anna Badkhen writes: "A recent U.S. Army report found that the suicide rate among active-duty soldiers had ballooned from 9.6 per 100,000 in 2004 to about 24 in 2011. By June of this year, more active-duty troops had died of suicide than in combat. Mental disorder has become the signature injury of Washington's latest wars, which have turned the term and its acronym, PTSD, into household words in the United States."

America's servicemen and women have indeed been asked to pay a heavy price, but what about the people who live in places like Iraq and Afghanistan? Can an entire country be afflicted with PTSD? Anna, who has spent a large portion of the previous two years embedded not with U.S. troops but with ordinary villagers of Afghanistan, bears witness to the breakdown of the collective psyche of a people who have known nothing but war. In addition to her reporting in Foreign Policy, Anna's compelling and beautifully written account of her time in Afghanistan is now an e-book, "Afghanistan by Donkey," co-published by the Pulitzer Center and Foreign Policy.

* * *

Haiti, mired in decades of poverty and corruption, and beset by a terrible earthquake in 2010, could be sitting atop a gold mine—literally. But as Pulitzer Center grantee Jacob Kushner writes for Guernica, there's a good chance the gold will end up enriching mining conglomerates from North America, lining the pockets of a few well-connected local politicians, and leaving ordinary Haitians with a colossal environmental mess.

Until next week,

Tom Hundley
Senior Editor


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