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Any war places intense personal, physical and emotional strains on soldiers, and the Iraq War was no different. American soldiers endured grueling combat tours against an often invisible enemy, subject to IED explosions and an often hostile population. Insurgencies like this tend to lead to higher rates of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) because the tensions of combat are heightened for long periods of time.
Because of troop shortages and the surge in 2007, American soldiers were often deployed for 15 months at a time instead of 12, and many had been to Iraq two, three or even four times by the 2010 draw down. This placed great stress on military families, and the divorce and suicide rates eclipsed that of the general population.
Iraq is a distant, hostile environment, and the 130 degree summer days were difficult to withstand, especially in full combat gear.
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