I am reading the heartbreaking suicide note of Daniel Somers, a US combat veteran who spent several years fighting in Iraq. Mr. Somers was only 30 years old when he took his own life, after being tormented by the horrific memories of what he experienced in Iraq. He wrote:
“The simple truth is this: During my first deployment, I was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe. War crimes, crimes against humanity. Though I did not participate willingly, and made what I thought was my best effort to stop these events, there are some things that a person simply can not come back from.”
Many who shout the loudest that we must “support the troops” urge sending them off to unwinnable and undeclared wars in which there is no legitimate US interest. The US military has been abused by those who see military force as a first resort rather than the last resort and only in self-defense. This abuse has resulted in a generation of American veterans facing a life sentence in the prison of tortured and deeply damaged minds as well as broken bodies.
The numbers sadly tell the story: more military suicides than combat deaths in 2012, some 22 military veterans take their lives every day, nearly 30 percent of veterans treated by the VA have PTSD.
We should be saddened but not shocked when we see the broken men and women return from battles overseas. We should be angry with those who send them to suffer and die in unnecessary wars. We should be angry with those who send them to kill so many people overseas for no purpose whatsoever. We should be afraid of the consequences of such a foolish and dangerous foreign policy. We should demand an end to the abuse of military members and a return to a foreign policy that promotes peace and prosperity instead of war and poverty.
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