War is often viewed in terms of dollars spent or lives lost but an Iowa City conference that opens Friday will focus on the medical consequences of the war in Iraq. Maureen McCue, chapter coordinator of Iowa Physicians for Social Responsibility, says the summit was originally envisioned to target doctors, but many more people from a variety of walks of life will be attending.
McCue says “It grew rather rapidly to include a large contingent of nurses, of social workers, of students, of religious members. We have quite a few veterans and veterans families coming. All of us are impacted by what’s going on around the war.” She says the casualties of war are all around us, in terms of the host of government programs that are being cut to pay for the continuing conflict.
McCue says soldiers return from war very changed and some suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for the rest of their lives. She says a World War Two veteran is on the conference schedule who is still living his life in a way he feels is making reparations for what he did during that war, adding, “these impacts stay with people for a very long time.”
McCue says the environment is being harmed by the war in myriad ways, while society itself suffers, not only in Iraq but in the U.S., and here in Iowa. McCue says when a generation is raised who experience nothing but violence, there are untold circumstances, “As one of our speakers has said, he really believes it’s the P-T-S-D within the population that actually promotes the continuation of violence and the real breakdown in civil society.”
The conference is called “Medical Consequences Of War: Health Challenges Beyond The Battlefield” and runs Friday through Sunday. For more information, surf to the Iowa Physicians for Social Responsibility website at “www.iowa-psr.org”.