We are the 99%

May 27, 2008

Some More (Less Visible) Casualties from Dubya's War

This past Sunday, McClatchy reported on the spike in suicides among the troops both in Iraq and those having returned from Iraq. First the facts:

According to the Army, more than 2,000 active-duty soldiers attempted suicide or suffered serious self-inflicted injuries in 2007, compared to fewer than 500 such cases in 2002, the year before the United States invaded Iraq.

A recent study by the nonprofit Rand Corp. found that 300,000 of the nearly 1.7 million soldiers who've served in Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from PTSD or a major mental illness, conditions that are worsened by lengthy deployments and, if left untreated, can lead to suicide.

And story about Sgt. Brian Rand helicopter mechanic and casualty of dubya's war. His time in the Green Zone could not have been easy:

Once while wounded soldiers were being evacuated by helicopter in the Green Zone in central Baghdad, Rand waved at a man he knew. The man turned and Brian saw that half of the man's face was ripped off.

Brian later told his sister he was shocked by how white the bones looked under the flesh.

Then one day, while standing guard near the Green Zone, Rand killed an Iraqi man.

"The spirit of the man that he killed didn't leave him, it kept harassing him," Somdahl said of her brother. "He said this guy is following me around in the mess hall, he's trying to kill me. I told him to leave me alone but he says he wants to take me with him.'"

In spite of all that, the Pentagon sent him back to Iraq. He returned, according to the article, sometime in 2005 - and went back in November of that year. He finally made it back out in August, 2006 and killed himself 6 months later.

Then there's the story from the Fort Worth Star Telegram:

On July 11, 2007, in a violent Baghdad neighborhood, Master Sgt. Jeffrey R. McKinney killed himself. He put his M-4 rifle to his neck and pulled the trigger.

There was no Purple Heart, and the Defense Department announced it as a "non-combat-related incident."

But Jeffrey McKinney, 40, a company first sergeant and a 19-year Army veteran, is no less a casualty of the war in Iraq than the thousands of young men and women who have been killed by sniper fire and roadside bombs.

Some injuries just can't be seen.

Some facts:

Suicides hit a record high in the Army last year, and attempted suicides are up dramatically, most certainly because of the hardships of long and frequent tours away from home, the psychological stresses of guerrilla warfare, perhaps even the prevalence of traumatic brain injuries resulting from repeated concussions.

The Army and the Marine Corps have put in place numerous mental health programs, in Iraq and at bases stateside, to help troops deal with the fallout of combat. But Jeff McKinney and the 120 other soldier suicides last year are proof that the measures are falling far short of their intentions.

Senator McCain, by the way, says we're winning in Iraq.

Dubya, in his Memorial Day speech, only mentions three troops killed much earlier in his war:
  • Marine Captain Ryan Beaupre, killed 3/21/03
  • Marine Lance Corporal Darrell Schumann, killed 1/26/05
  • Army Sgt Michael Evans, killed 1/28/05

This is how dubya discussed Sgt Evans:

Army Sergeant Michael Evans of Marrero, Louisiana, felt the same way. He was killed on January 28th while on patrol in Western Baghdad. In his own farewell letter to his family, the 22-year-old reminded those he left behind to stay strong. He said: "My death will mean nothing if you stop now. I know it will be hard, but I gave my life so you could live. Not just live, but live free."

Notice anything interesting? He doesn't mention the year Sgt Evans was killed (2005) and so anyone listening or reading the transcript would assume that dubya was saying that Sgt Evans was killed this year.

It's a small point but the Sgt's message to his family (and by extension, the rest of us) would invariably mean something different if we knew it was made 4 instead of 40 months ago. Without knowing the Sgt was killed in early 2005, we're left to assume that he's imploring us all not to stop now. Now, after more than 4,000 dead rather than about 1,500.

No one knows what Sgt Evans would think about the war now. But without the inclusion of the year of his death, we're left with the impression that he'd want the war to continue now.

Dubya's speech writers had to know this (as for dubya himself, who knows?) and yet allowed this subtle manipulation of the truth to enter this speech.

I wonder how they sleep.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

John K. says: Did anyone catch that Al Queda Gitmo prisoner, Dr. Fadl, make that statement. He is now changing the rules for how Al Queda should engage the world. He says it makes no sense for Muslims to take out two buildings and the US to take out two countries. He is calling for Al Queda to modify and back off. Tell me again lefties how we are losing. Or just do what you always do and use our casuality figures against us.

Anonymous said...

John K. also says: I did like Obama's Memorial Day speech. I always thought the Russians overran Auschwitz concentration camp on Jan 25th 1945. I guess I had it wrong. It was Obama's relatives. Silly me. And Obama is a Yale graduate, he can't be wrong. LOL LOL LMAO Does this guy think when he gets off script?

Anonymous said...

John K. says for the 3rd time: Still on subject: So what Rep. P. Kanjorski (D-Pa-11) said was what I have told you since I have been on here. The Democrats never intended to pull out or Iraq. They just wanted to use that line on the left to gain power. And you fell for it. Which confirms my thoughts all along. You folks aren't opposed to the war in Iraq, you just don't want a Republican taking credit for it.

Anonymous said...

And for shitrock, can't wait for him to try to use the Major Andre line on me because I once again caught his candidate, Obama, in a flat out lie. (Auschwitz) That's the only way he can save some sort of face. Shitrock, Auschwitz is in Poland you know. LMAO

jaywillie said...

Again, what's the motivation for that being a lie? What sense does that even make?

Because Obama's great uncle served in the 89th Infantry Division that liberated Ohrdruf, a satellite camp of Buchenwald.

So what seems more likely here? Considering that when one thinks of the Nazi death/concentration camps Auschwitz is the most well known and that you're average candidate at this point is getting about 2-4 hours of sleep, common sense dictates the answer that so conveniently alludes those who are now attempting to use the issue as a political football.

Wouldn't it be nice if reason and logic returned to the national discourse?

I would also suggest that it's rather tasteless to make a political issue out of the Holocaust.

Of course, it should be no surprise that a supporter of John McCain can't do anything but play the same old gotcha-style Republican politics that haven't done a damn thing to make this a better country. I'm sure he'll reply with some nonsense of how we all owe George W. Bush our lives.

And what one Democrat says on Iraq is hardly representative of the party. If that's the standard for evidence, there's a much stronger case to be made about the Republican party all being sexual miscreants(Foley, Vitter, Craig...just to name a few).

Attacking Obama over a harmless misstatement doesn't excuse the fact that John McCain and George W. Bush won't give our veterans a fair deal. Full college tuition for our veterans could be funded for $2 billion annually, a small price to pay in comparison to the costs of McCain and Bush's tragic folly. And the 40,000 veterans who have returned with PTSD deserve to be treated, not to have their physical and mental well-being dismissed by some callous Republican bureaucrat looking to short-change our veterans in what is just another cost-cutting measure at the expense of the American people to sustain the failed and unfair economic policies that have sent middle America running for cover.

Anonymous said...

jayw said:So what seems more likely here? Considering that when one thinks of the Nazi death/concentration camps Auschwitz is the most well known and that you're average candidate at this point is getting about 2-4 hours of sleep, common sense dictates the answer that so conveniently alludes those who are now attempting to use the issue as a political football.

Wouldn't it be nice if reason and logic returned to the national discourse?

I would also suggest that it's rather tasteless to make a political issue out of the Holocaust

This is precicely what Hilary attackers have done with her RK reference. Really hurts, huh?