Army examining health programs amid Bales case
Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales is seen in this undated photo. Bales is being held in the death of 16 Afghan civilians on March 11, 2012 / CBS
(CBS/AP) WASHINGTON - The secretary of the Army says the service is reviewing mental health programs amid renewed attention to the stress of war after a U.S. soldier was suspected of killing 16 Afghan civilians.
John McHugh was pressed on the issue by Sen. Patty Murray, who said the Madigan Army Medical Center in Washington state reversed 40 percent of diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder for candidates for military retirement. Stress from multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan has become an issue since the massacre earlier this month.
A suspect, Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, 38, is being held in Fort Leavenworth, Kan., while a military investigation continues into the shooting spree in Afghanistan.
Separately, McHugh told a Senate panel he's confident the military can handle the case.
Bales' lawyer, John Henry Browne, had said there were potential mental health issues for his client, but that he didn't have expertise to make a qualified judgment. "Dragging parts of bodies around is not something that really you forget very often," he said. "He's in shock."
Browne had also said Bales had no memory of what happened and that the soldier was not drunk. The attorney said will not seek an insanity defense, rather one of "diminished capacity," like some sort of an emotional breakdown.
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