Monday, October 24, 2005

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder 

A terrible price of war:
Army Spc. Joseph Dwyer angled a mirror out the back window of his apartment in El Paso, Texas, trying to make out the Iraqis in the evening gloom. He couldn't see them, but he felt that they were out there somewhere, ready to attack.

Holding his 9-mm handgun tight, the 29-year-old medic from Mount Sinai phoned in an air strike using military code. He directed the fighter jets to his own street address.

Then he heard a noise from the roof -- maybe an Iraqi trying to get in? -- and that's when Dwyer began firing.

Nobody was hurt in the three-hour standoff Oct. 6 in which Dwyer, deep in a post-traumatic stress-induced delusion, barricaded himself into his apartment, fighting off an imaginary Iraqi attack.

So much has changed for Joseph Dwyer. Only two and a half years earlier, in March 2003, a startling battlefield photograph of him cradling an injured Iraqi child showed America a hopeful image of the new war.

Dwyer, who is still in the service, is being treated by psychiatrists on the Army base in Fort Bliss, Texas. He was released on bail and faces a misdemeanor charge of discharging a firearm in a municipality.


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