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Troops in Iraq may be at risk for more trouble with mental health than the veterans of Vietnam or World War II. The risk of death is constant, but soldiers don’t get enough time off--by the Pentagon's own standards. We hear what active duty troops, veterans and their families are going through. Also, the US wants Tony Blair to become a special envoy to the Middle East and, on Reporter's Notebook, in the aftermath of September 11, country music was super-patriotic as usual.  Has the war in Iraq worked a change?

Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Main Topic Iraq and PTSD 5 MIN, 55 SEC

Pentagon policy calls for equal time on and off duty, but troops in Iraq spend 15 months in combat with just 12 months on leave. If President Bush decides to maintain the current build-up, tours may be extended.  A military report says the constant threat of death and exposure to atrocities leads to depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress syndrome. Mental health issues may be more severe than they were during Vietnam or World War II. Senior commanders, veterans and their doctors agree that civilians don't understand the mental health consequences of combat and its aftermath.  We hear about flashbacks, panic attacks, fearful wives and frightened children.  Are Marines and soldiers getting the help they need when they have to return to combat or when they finally come home to adjust to civilian life?

Jason Forrester, Director of Policy for Veterans for America
Stephen Edwards, Iraq veteran who suffers from PTSD
Nadia McCaffrey, Gold Star Mother
Susan Hill, Clinical Coordinator of the PTSD Clinic at the West Haven VA Hospital

Making News Tony Blair, Special Envoy to the Middle East? 34 MIN, 48 SEC

Today's New York Times reports that President Bush and Secretary Rice want Tony Blair to become special envoy to the Middle East when he steps down next week as Prime Minister of Britain. He would represent the so-called "Quartet" -- the US, UN, European Union and Russia. Only Russia is said to be "grumbling" about the idea, but is not expected to block the appointment if Blair accepts. What about the countries of the Middle East itself? Graham Usher, former Palestine correspondent for the Economist, is contributing editor to Middle East Report.

Graham Usher, Freelance journalist

Reporter's Notebook Country Music's Changing Patriotic Tune 8 MIN, 10 SEC

The New Republic points out that, "Country music prides itself on being the voice of red-state America." The Dixie Chicks and Willie Nelson are among the exceptions, but Merle Haggard's "Okie from Muskogee" is typical of Country's super-patriotic conservatism.  In the aftermath of September 11, Toby Keith came out "loud and proud" with "Courtesy of the Red,White and Blue (the Angry American)," recorded in 2002.  Since then, things have changed, according to Michelle Cottle in the latest New Republic.

Michelle Cottle, Newsweek/Daily Beast

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