Former U.S. President George W. Bush, who led the United States into war in Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, promoted a new initiative to help veterans transition back to civilian life and aid in the treatment of post-traumatic stress.
The onetime commander-in-chief…said he wants to highlight the challenge facing service members returning from war zones, as well as their families.
An issue on his agenda is removing the “Disorder” wording from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder:
“We’re getting rid of the D,” Bush told ABC’s Martha Raddatz on ABC’s This Week. “PTS is an injury; it’s not a disorder. The problem is when you call it a disorder, [veterans] don’t think they can be treated,” he said.
Another issue Bush is taking on is the high unemployment rate of veterans:
“We got a problem: Too many vets are unemployed,” said Bush in one of his few public appearances since leaving the White House. “And there’s what we call a civilian/military divide.”
The Dallas-based Bush Institute, a public policy founded in 2009 by the former president and his wife Laura, is working with a coalition of government, nonprofits, private companies and universities on the initiative, which also target ways to encourage employers to recruit and retain veterans.
“My spirit is always uplifted when I visit with vets,” he said. “We’ve got a society that’s incredibly comfortable and too many people saying, ‘Oh, woe is me.’ Not our veteran community. They say, ‘What can I do to continue to serve?’ ”
The George W. Bush Institute is collaborating with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University on a survey of post-9/11 veterans that will be published in the spring.