Monday, October 27, 2003

Returning Soldiers

Reader j writes in:

I'm a counselor at a psychiatric triage unit in *****. I just had a long talk with one of our clients, a soldier just back from Iraq with classic PTSD symptoms. He's a wreck, reliving an incident where he was forced to fire on Iraqi children and now he can't live with himself. His family has abandoned him because he drinks nightly to drown the demons, he can't sleep because of the fear of "seeing the faces of those kids", and naturally, he feels that he can't go on with life anymore.

I've probably counseled 20 soldiers back from Iraq here and EVERY SINGLE ONE has issues, feels betrayed by Bush and the government, almost all say they realized that once they were over there, the freedom of the Iraqi people is only incidental to our government, that it's clear it's only been about oil and Haliburton stock price. They've also said that for every one of them stating this anger at betrayal, there's at least 50 more still back in Iraq.

I noticed the influx of admissions from ***** back in August and had an opportunity to ask a social worker at **** what the deal is. "Get used to it," she replied, "It's only going to get worse. These guys and gals are coming back after having served with no clear mission, getting attacked out of the blue, and realizing they were lied to by Bush. Plus, the military wants to avoid what went on at Fort Bragg after the Afghanistan War (domestic violence episodes that ended up with dead military wives).

I can't say that these soldiers are representative of the military as a whole; it's definitely a skewed sample. However, my gut tells me that BushCo is going to have to answer to more than just the families of those killed and wounded over in Iraq. The soldiers who have been permanently psychologically scarred by this immoral war (and the families who have been affected by this) are going to be demanding some answers as well.