Rhetorical Analysis: Veterans Want Past Discharges to Recognize Post-Traumatic Stress

Post-traumatic stress disorder is something that many people in our society are suffering with, sometimes without even realizing it. This topic is especially popular among the military. An article from The New York Times called “Veterans Want Past Discharges to Recognize Post-Traumatic Stress” written by Dave Philipps, uses logical appeals, statistics, as well as heart-wrenching stories to show that the people in the military have continued to be discharged without any treatment.

Philipp begins his article by introducing Kristofer Goldsmith, a sergeant who went through a series of events hinting that he had PTSD. Phillips tells us that the sergeant did not get the treatment he deserved but “instead the Army wrote him up for missing his flight, then forced him out of the military with a less-than-honorable discharge.” After seeing that Goldsmith had overdosed on pills, attempted suicide, and had haunting dreams, the author states that the Army should have taken those incidents seriously and screened him for PTSD. He argues that a large portion of military troops have been forced out due to “dysfunctional screening for PTSD” or other combat related injuries.

He then continues with logos and uses the Army Review Boards Agency as an outside source to backup this statement saying they have “rejected a vast majority of cases that involve PTSD” when it comes to upgrading their discharge. The author discusses how Congress has realized this problem, and therefore now requires mental health professionals to review each and every military discharge. This is where he then uses pathos and describes how “that has done little to help those like Mr. Goldsmith who were discharged before the changes.” Most of those discharged prior to Congress’ decision, don’t get to receive those benefits because according to the military they had no mental issues at the time of being forced to leave.

Dave Philipps uses pathos throughout the entire article actually because he uses Mr. Goldsmith’s experience to evoke his readers. He shows us cause and effect as well by explaining how not being treated for PTSD when the military chose to ignore it, has affected his day to day life. He also describes the effects that has led to him having to appeal and reappeal to his unfair discharge.

When it comes to aesthetics, the author uses the classic NY Times layout of a white background and black text. However, he uses current pictures of Mr. Goldsmith trying to have his discharge appealed. There are images of him in meetings with important people like the senator of Rhode Island. He also uses a photograph of a group of veterans walking into Capitol Hill with intentions of having changes made.

In summation, Dave Phillips article informs us about what has really been happening when it comes to post-traumatic stress disorder. Denying veterans the treatment they need is not morally right. They are serving for our country so it should be fair enough for them to be clinically diagnosed and begin their path to recovery. Maybe people with the disorder cannot fully recover but they can learn to cope in order to live a more peaceful life.

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