“Several Warnings, Then a Soldier’s Lonely Death”
So read the headline in last Sunday’s New York Times. The story involves the death of one soldier, apparently by his own hand, after he had served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and after he had twice attempted suicide before being sent back to Afghanistan.
Why would the army send a soldier back into combat and its extreme stress who had twice attempted to take his own life? While in Afghanistan the young man apparently was deemed such a threat to himself that his personal combat weapon was taken from him. Why would the Army keep a soldier in combat who could not be entrusted with a weapon? Why would the army leave a soldier who could not be entrusted with a weapon as the roommate of a soldier who was fully armed?
His father would like answers to these questions, but no one in the U.S. Army seems to have the answers. I’m sure the Army regrets his death and appreciates his service since they buried him at Arlington with full honors.
What is the answer? Why is the suicide rate among the armed forces increasing at such an alarming rate? The military is trying to find the answer in special counseling sessions, rehab centers for when veterans return home, drug therapy for the depressed, and now a suicide prevention task force, but nothing seems to be working. I don’t have the answer either, but I do have some ideas.
Perhaps war itself is the problem. War is a destroyer of people and of nations. Maybe we should start thinking of our long wars in the Middle East as both personal suicide for those who serve and national suicide for the nation.
The USG has designated 43 areas of the world as combat zones. That is the highest number of combat zones since WWII. We can conclude then, that after all these years of fighting, we have more areas to fight in than any time since WWII. That is a very depressing statistic for me, but I can only imagine how depressing it must be for those who have to bear the burden.
The USG has become very good at creating enemies faster than the US military can kill them. I was told once by a marketing expert that everyone has 250 people who would go to his wedding or funeral. Perhaps each person killed by the USG around the world has 250 friends who are now enemies.
In that same front page section of the Times was a full page ad that read: “War Is Over If you Want It, Love and Peace from John and Yoko.” Regardless of what you may think of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, the ad is exactly right. Our leaders are able to commit the nation to endless, senseless war that destroys the lives of people like the soldier mentioned earlier because we let them do it.
They will not tell us why they do it, only that it is “necessary.” That’s what the Commander in Chief gives us as an answer – “it’s necessary.” It’s time that we start demanding real answers from our leaders as to why our children have been committed to fighting a war that has gone on for 10 years with no end in sight. The Commander in Chief will not give us a definition of victory or even state that victory is something we are seeking. He only states that “it’s necessary.”
The leaders of the USG are responsible for this mass homicide, but there is another party that shares equal responsibility. We the people are now complicit in the crimes of our leaders. We still have some ability to influence policy through the electoral process, but instead of demanding an end to the madness, we send out an order for more of it. We the people share in the blood guilt of our leaders. I pray that we will rise up and put a stop to it. If we don’t may God forgive us.
- Darrell Castle