Pentagon retracts claim PTSD twice as high for Gitmo prison guards

Dec. 9, 2013 at 11:10 AM
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TAMPA, Fla., Dec. 9 (UPI) -- The U.S. military has retracted a claim guards at the Guantanamo prison camp experience two times more post-traumatic stress disorder than combat troops.

Army Col. John V. Bogdan, the guard force commander, made the statement in September in an interview aired Nov. 17 on CBS's "60 Minutes," the Miami Herald reported Monday.

In the retraction, Army Col. Greg Julian of the U.S. Southern Command said "there are no statistics that support the claim."

Southern Command, based at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., oversees the Cuban detention camp.

"Col. Bogdan was mistaken about twice the levels of PTSD," Julian said. He attributed the mistake, in part, to the misreading of a January 2011 survey of the "occupational health and well being" of troops assigned to the camp and a misunderstanding of the difference between a PTSD diagnosis and the stress experienced by Guantanamo guards.

In the "60 Minutes" interview, Bogdan described his guards as "working their asses off" in 12-hour shifts of "enemy contact" during which they might be harmed. He said the level of PTSD experienced by the guards was "almost twice" that of regular combat troops.

Military spokespersons have said in the past it was not possible to track the mental health effects of guarding prisoners at Guantanamo because a mix of troops from the several armed forces, including the National Guard and Reserve, rotated through the camp in deployments that lasted six to 12 months. Only some of them were trained military police.

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