Does The Military Create Killers
or does it attract them?
The New York Times found 121 cases in which veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan committed a killing in this country, or were charged with one, after their return from war. In many of those cases, combat trauma and the stress of deployment — along with alcohol abuse, family discord and other attendant problems — appear to have set the stage for a tragedy that was part destruction, part self-destruction. Three-quarters of these veterans were still in the military at the time of the killing.
The relationship between war service and violence is shocking:
About a third of the victims were spouses, girlfriends, children or other relatives, among them 2-year-old Krisiauna Calaira Lewis, whose 20-year-old father slammed her against a wall when he was recuperating in Texas from a bombing near Falluja that blew off his foot and shook up his brain. A quarter of the victims were fellow service members, including Specialist Richard Davis of the Army, who was stabbed repeatedly and then set ablaze, his body hidden in the woods by fellow soldiers a day after they all returned from Iraq.
You know you’re in trouble when you need an assault weapon to go to the local 7-11:
“Matthew knew he shouldn’t be taking his AK-47 to the 7-Eleven,” Detective Laura Andersen said, “but he was scared to death in that neighborhood, he was military trained and, in his mind, he needed the weapon to protect himself.”
And this is not an isolated incident:
Town by town across the country, headlines have been telling similar stories. Lakewood, Wash.: “Family Blames Iraq After Son Kills Wife.” Pierre, S.D.: “Soldier Charged With Murder Testifies About Postwar Stress.” Colorado Springs: “Iraq War Vets Suspected in Two Slayings, Crime Ring.”
Far beyond the statistics offered by the Pentagon about how many lives are lost in war, in addition to the returnees using up precious days of their lives in hospital wards trying to heal, there are deep and incalculable wounds to our society and our nation that cannot be quantified. Some of our finest families will never heal. I wonder if we, as nation, can.Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2008 Liberaland