A different kind of casualty of War

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by blackfox, Jan 14, 2005.

  1. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    Location:
    PDX
    #1
    I read this earlier today, and for some reason it just stuck with me. The quote of the Marine telling residents that they were "innocent civilians" and would not be harmed as he went through yards with his assault rifle after shooting two Police officers, really bothered me.

    As the article states, there is rampant speculation about possible motives, including a gang history and a desire to impress said groups with this action. There is also the possibility that he really didn't want to go back to Iraq and/or the psychological stress of Iraq broke him. The quote I mentioned seems to give credence to at least some variation of this explanation.

    In any case, this is very sad. I can't help but wonder how many other soldiers will come back psychologically-scarred and/or if we will see more instances like this one. These potential costs far outweigh the 200-some billion pricetag of the War in Iraq imo.

    Opinions? Comments?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/14/national/14marine.html
     
  2. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #2
    my theater company is remounting its original production of Let There Be Light...!, which deals w/ WWII soldiers returning w/ shell shock. it's based on the John Huston documentary of the same name.
     
  3. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2003
    Location:
    Colly-fornia
    #3
    I've already run across stories of homeless vets from Iraq with serious PTSD symptoms. And of course there aren't enough funds for their mental health care, coupled with the fact that seeking mental health care is viewed as a sign of weakness both in the military culture and in American society at large. We'll be seeing many more of these vets I think as time goes by, because one of the major factors in their mental health is their conviction that they are 'doing right'. The longer this war drags on with shifting rationales, a lack of WMD, and a very blurry line between the insurgents and the civilians, the more mentally scarred vets we will see.

    The cost of war never includes the care the vets require both physically and mentally. I'd like to see the troops supported in these areas. :(

    As for the marine in this story... I don't know until I hear more facts what his motives for the shooting was, but it certainly isn't beyond the realm of possibility that there was some kind of war-related trauma involved. Doesn't make it right, but there have been many vets with vivid flashbacks and other problems that can contribute to this kind of event.
     
  4. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #4
    From what I've heard and read, the percentage of troops considered by the military to be psychologically unfit to return to duty in Iraq is substantial. It's high (maybe 10%) even among elite troops (rangers, etc), and can only be higher among regular troops and guardsmen.
     
  5. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2002
    Location:
    Republic of Ukistan
    #5
    Multiply this by a factor of 50 amongst Iraqis, and set them loose in a population of 23m: is this a recipe for democracy?
     
  6. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #6
    Iraq is not ripe for democracy, no. I was listening to the radio and a U.S. colonel was talking about how, obviously, it's not in our interests to release information on where the polling stations would be, or even how many polling stations there would be. And reading about candidates and how they have to campaign in secret--not even revealing their names--because campaigning in the open would cost them their lives.

    This is not, in any meaningful way, going to be an election.
     
  7. Desertrat macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2003
    Location:
    Terlingua, Texas
    #7
    I never saw combat, but in my 1954-1958 time in the Army I met many who had "seen the elephant" in WW II and in Korea. In the very few discussions of "battle fatigue", a shrug was the more common "answer", along with, "Well, there's just no way to know how it'll get to ya."

    Some folks can make a wall around the Bad Scenes, compartmentalizing their emotions. Others can't. It's not any issue of good or bad; it's just poeple being different...

    I had a buddy who'd retired from the Army as a Green Beret Master Sergeant. Five full rows of ribbons, with more Purple Hearts than there was room on the ribbon for oak leaf clusters. Two Silver Stars. Thirteen years in SE Asia. 83 insertions behind NVA lines. MAC/SOG sneaky-pete stuff. (I'd read his 201 file.)

    Sounds like a Hard Charger, right? In the late 1980s, he was still waking up screaming from nightmares. You just never know.

    OTOH, my father went into Europe in August of 1944 and fought on through VE Day. He was in charge of that patrol that got to the Remagen Bridge ahead of Patton. It was not until his death that I learned of his Bronze Star and Purple Heart. After the war, he came back and went to work and kept on with his life with no particular comment about "those days". A few minor stories, usually "humorized" for entertainment value...

    You just never know...

    'Rat
     
  8. blackfox thread starter macrumors 65816

    blackfox

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    Location:
    PDX
  9. Desertrat macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2003
    Location:
    Terlingua, Texas
    #9
    Aw, "the busies" and some house guests and all that. Even cut back on moderating over at The High Road for a while. There's a real world out there, as well as the Internet. :D

    'Rat
     
  10. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2004
    Location:
    Reality
    #10
    Deja f---ing vu.

    I'm old enough to remember when soldiers came home from Vietnam and did stuff like this, enough to give Americans the impression that most Vietnam vets were messed up in the head.

    Believe me, whenever this nightmare of a war is over, we will have exactly the same kind of problems we had back then: plenty of soldiers returning home requiring psychological help. And for some of them it won't work, and we'll be reading occasional stories about some Iraq veteran "gone psycho".

    I feel bad for the guys who get so screwed up from the horrors they suffer over there; I feel sorry for their unwitting victims; and I feel sorry for all the vets who end up suffering suspicious looks because of stuff like this.

    And as far as I'm concerned, you can blame that cop's death on George W. Bush, however indirectly.
     
  11. SPG macrumors 65816

    SPG

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2001
    Location:
    In the shadow of the Space Needle.
    #11
    Besides the usual horrors of war, think of how much it is compounded for those guys who went to Iraq thinking that they were hunting down the terrorists who attacked us in 2001 only to get caught up in a brutal occupation. That's got to be a hell of a hit to take when you find out that the reasons you came to fight for were a hoax. I guess in WWII the reasons for fighting were clear at the end of the war.
     
  12. Desertrat macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2003
    Location:
    Terlingua, Texas
    #12
    SPG, I have no way of knowing how many guys in Iraq will think or do think that being there is part of a hoax.

    I do know that it's not universal, based on articles in Soldier of Fortune magazine. (I don't have much use for the ads, like most folks don't.) There are too many positive interviews by guys who've been in combat and who were bloodied in combat, of guys who are now under the gun.

    As near as I can tell from various sources, the apparent consensus among US troops is that the aim of the mission is valid.

    'Rat
     
  13. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2003
    Location:
    Colly-fornia
    #13
    And as near as I can tell from various sources, the apparent consensus among US residents is that GWB should be president. Doesn't mean everyone feels that way though...
     
  14. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2002
    Location:
    Denver
    #14
    How do they feel about how they were led there, though? Doesn't that count for anything? That was the biggest bait and switch in history. I suppose if you're going through hell for something you have to believe in it to make it make sense. Were these issues addressed in your reading?

    BTW, good to see you back :)
     
  15. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Dornbirn (Austria)
    #15
    perhaps ...

    the only one i know personally in the region is somewhere in kuwait (an internet friend of my mother) isn't very happy there at all...
    his hopes were rather big before the 2nov ;)


    (but i have to admit the souveniers available there which we got sent as christmas presents to our family are a _blast_...sadly i wasn't fast enough to get my hands on the "operation iraqy freedom" t-shirt ;) )
     
  16. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #16
    I still have a very cheesy "US OUT OF IRAQ!" t-shirt somebody gave me back in 1991. I had no idea it would become so fashionable again.
     
  17. Desertrat macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2003
    Location:
    Terlingua, Texas
    #17
    Call all this "guesstimation", okay?

    During the latter stages of Vietnam, I think a lot of the guys there were really hacked at how they were being wasted. I use that term in both ways: Killed, and not utilized in a proper military manner. Example: Take a hill; leave; retake the hill with more guys getting killed, believing they'll just pull off once more.

    In Iraq, I think, a helluva high percentage of the guys are proud of the way we cut through Saddam's forces. Now, they see progress in those areas away from the Sunni Triangle. Lights, running water, hospitals, schools. Guys in those areas see a positive picture in line with Bush's stated aims.

    In the Sunni Triangle? I don't know about how many believe in their mission and how many just want way away and right away. If there are any grins and if there's any bitching, the morale is generally okay. Your typical GI is gonna bitch if you were to hang him with a new rope.

    I think the "hoax" aspect will come in if for whatever reason we give up and quit.

    But, hey, this is just a bunch of surmise.

    One thing about SOF magazine: Those reporters have the respect of the troops. The GIs know the background of these guys, and from a military point of view they're an impressive bunch. SOF reporters are gonna get more of the straight, honest opinion from the troops than any civilian type.

    Parenthetically, I ignore the glorification stuff in SOF, and have sorta trained myself to just not really see the ads (same as for TV, for that matter). Most of the ads appeal to what are called "Gunshow Commandos": Overweight clowns who wear camo outfits and walk around gunshows with scowls on their faces, "looking bad". If they had to run a hundred yards, they'd make fifty on their feet and the next fifty on a gurney.

    But SOF articles are indeed informative.

    'Rat
     
  18. SPG macrumors 65816

    SPG

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2001
    Location:
    In the shadow of the Space Needle.
    #18
    I suppose there are a lot of guys who think we're doing the right thing in Iraq. I really don't know if that's the majority or not 'cause I hear plenty of stories about guys who aren't happy about it...then again I stopped reading Soldier of Fortune in Junior High so I don't get too much exposure to the guns and glory crowd.
    I'm not optimistic about how these guys will feel when we wind up abandoning Iraq to a bloody civil war or after we grind on taking casualties from IEDs for another ten years and wind up with the same result. History will not look favorably at this episode and I doubt that the participants will be especially proud of the way it turns out even if they do maintain a bit of pride about their own actions.
     
  19. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #19
    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-iraqpoll19jan19,0,7592168.story
     
  20. Lyle macrumors 68000

    Lyle

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Location:
    Madison, Alabama
    #20
    A follow-up on the original story, for what it's worth:
    It doesn't make the story any less tragic, but it perhaps sheds more light on how it came to this.
     
  21. Zaid macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2003
    Location:
    London
    #21
    ^^^^^^^
    Does it even matter any more?
    Bush has already stated that "We had an accountability moment, and that's called the 2004 elections," and with a republican dominated congress ...

    I reckon monkey boy's second term is going to be interesting*
    It would seem that he thinks he can now just do whatever the hell he wants, and whats worse is that he'd be right.

    *Interesting in the kind of way that makes you wish for a return to american isolationism
     
  22. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #22
    I'd like to think it will matter. Another "accountability moment" is coming in less than two years.
     
  23. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2003
    Location:
    Colly-fornia
    #23
    I sure hope so.
     
  24. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #24
    that's ominous.
     
  25. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2003
    Location:
    Colly-fornia
    #25
    Well hopefully there will be some accountability this next time around seeing as how there was none this time... unless you count CBS.
     

Share This Page