the war continues to kill: the wounded survivors, and those killed by their own conscience

Here are two excellent, heartbreaking stories about what happens to those who survive and don't survive war.

The first, excerpted from Ann Jones' book They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars — the Untold Story:
An older Army officer calls me over and gestures toward the empty seat by his side. He sits ramrod straight, wrapped in his blanket, and speaks through tight lips as if he fears what might come out of his mouth. “I’ve been in the Army twenty-six years,” he says, “and I can tell you it’s a con.”

He has been an adviser to the chief counterterrorism officer in Iraq. It’s hard even to imagine what’s involved in work like that, but his version of his job description evidently failed to match the official checklist of his boss. He doesn’t think much of military bosses or politicians or Americans in general who send the lowliest 1% to fight wars that make the other 1%, on the high end, “monu-fuckin’-mentally rich.”

He says he’s going home for “psych reasons” caused by “life,” and he is never going to deploy again. He has two sons, 21 and 23, in college, “They won’t have to serve,” he says. “Before that happens, I’ll shoot them myself.”

I ask if he has any particular reason to dislike the military so intensely. “War is absurd,” he says. “Boys don’t know any better. But for a grown man to be trapped in stupid wars — it’s embarrassing, it’s humiliating, it’s absurd.”
Read it here: US soldier: My sons won’t serve. “Before that happens, I’ll shoot them myself”.

The second story was written by the parents of a member of the US National Guard who deployed to Iraq, and eventually committed suicide. He left a note, included in the article, detailing why: his forced participation in war crimes in Iraq, and then being forced to cover them up. I say it again: war resistance saves lives: On Losing a Veteran Son to a Broken System by Howard Somers and Jean Somers.

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