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Senators Call for Inquiry into Mental Care for Troops

A bipartisan group of senators is asking the investigative branch of Congress to examine how the military is treating troops who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan with serious mental health problems.

The request stems partly from NPR's reports late last year, which revealed that supervisors at Fort Carson, in Colorado, were punishing soldiers who had post-traumatic stress disorder.

The senators want the Government Accountability Office to investigate how officers are treating troops across all the armed forces. Officials at the Pentagon have said that they're looking into the problem. But the senators say they keep hearing troubling reports that commanders have blocked troops from getting mental health care and ordered them to go back to Iraq.

Senators say they're hearing that military doctors are telling soldiers' that their mental health problems aren't caused by the war, but by so-called "personality disorders." The GAO has a reputation for doing tough, independent investigations, and the senators have asked them to do a sweeping review.

Those senators include Democrats Barack Obama, Barbara Boxer, Claire McCaskill, Tom Harkin, Daniel Akaka and Patty Murray; independent Democrat Joe Lieberman; Republican Christopher Bond; and independent Bernard Sanders.

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