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Back from Iraq, US veterans fight the effects of war

Nicole Goodwin was a private in the US army when she gave birth to her daughter Shylah on March 16, 2003. Four months later she was in Baghdad, fighting a war.

Most of her tour was spent on base, serving guard duty and helping distribute supplies, but she still saw an Iraqi man shot to death, nearly died in an insurgent mortar attack and witnessed a friend temporarily lose her mind in the aftermath of the massive bombing that decimated UN headquarters. She also says she was raped by a fellow soldier, a common experience among the growing proportion of women in the US military.

But the battles did not stop when she left. "There's a part of me that is always going to be in Iraq," she said.
Of the 2.5 million troops who have served in America's "war on terror" in Iraq and Afghanistan, 1.6m have transitioned to a civilian life plagued by high rates of homelessness and unemployment. Advances in armour and medical technology have allowed an unprecedented proportion of troops to survive their injuries, but they suffer at historic levels from psychological wounds and brain injuries.


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