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Old 06-25-2013, 03:11 AM  
KILLER_CLOWN KILLER_CLOWN is offline
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Suicide Letter from Iraq War Veteran Says He Was Made to Commit War Crimes

June 24, 2013
Suicide Letter from Iraq War Veteran Says He Was Made to Commit War Crimes
“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.” Those are the words of Daniel Somers, according to a letter posted at Gawker.

Somers served in Joint Special Operations Command in a unit in Mosul from 2006-2007. He ran the Northern Iraq Intelligence Center and was a senior analyst for Levant, which oversaw operations in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel and part of Turkey.

Prior to that, the short biography attached to the letter he wrote indicates he was a part of an intelligence unit called Task Force Lightning. The unit was a Tactical Human-Intelligence Team (THT) in Baghdad, Iraq. He was a “machine gunner in the turret of a Humvee” and “ran more than 400 combat missions.” He also “interviewed countless Iraqis ranging from concerned citizens to community leaders and and government officials, and interrogated dozens of insurgents and terrorist suspects.”

On June 10, 2013, he committed suicide because he could not continue to live with what he did while deployed. He also—from reading the letter—had his own health issues that he could not get the Veterans Affairs Department to help him treat.
The letter shows he was anguished by his role in war crimes: “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.”
Yet, he adds, “I take some pride in that, actually, as to move on in life after being part of such a thing would be the mark of a sociopath in my mind. These things go far beyond what most are even aware of.”

He comments on having to be a part of a coverup of these war crimes.
“To force me to do these things and then participate in the ensuing coverup is more than any government has the right to demand,” he declares. “Then, the same government has turned around and abandoned me. They offer no help, and actively block the pursuit of gaining outside help via their corrupt agents at the DEA. Any blame rests with them.”

No specific war crimes are recounted in the letter, however, it is clear from reading it that he would not be writing it if he had not witnessed or been a part of some atrocities.
Somers is conscious of the fact that a high number of veterans like him are killing themselves each day and that he is about to become a part of that statistic.

“Is it any wonder then that the latest figures show 22 veterans killing themselves each day?” he asks. “That is more veterans than children killed at Sandy Hook, every single day. Where are the huge policy initiatives? Why isn’t the president standing with those families at the state of the union? Perhaps because we were not killed by a single lunatic, but rather by his own system of dehumanization, neglect, and indifference.”

Obviously, Somers is not another tally mark to put on a chalkboard to indicate how many veterans have died from suicide this year. He is a human being who was given orders to kill and at least some who died never should have been killed.
As a member of THT, he would have likely been involved in identifying high value targets who were killed or captured. If captured, they were detained and likely abused or tortured, especially when they were interrogated. They may have been tortured by US soldiers or Iraqi forces. Either way, it likely would have had an impact on him.
Redeploying and working with JSOC would have opened up possibilities of being a participant in more heinous acts.

For example, in Dirty Wars, journalist Jeremy Scahill recounts a night raid in Gardez, Afghanistan, where soldiers kill five innocent people, including three women, two who were pregnant, and an Afghan police commander named Mohammed Daoud. When they realized they committed a war crime, they tried to cover it up by digging the bullets out of the people they had just killed.

Somers could have easily witnessed something similar while working in the Northern Iraq Intelligence Center.
There is immense relief expressed by Somers that he has finally arrived at the moment where he will kill himself. After explaining how much he has tried to cope, he writes:

I am left with basically nothing. Too trapped in a war to be at peace, too damaged to be at war. Abandoned by those who would take the easy route, and a liability to those who stick it out—and thus deserve better. So you see, not only am I better off dead, but the world is better without me in it.

A person who has not been in war is not in a position to second guess the decision Somers made. They do not know and cannot begin to know what he was going through.
The United States is in a state of perpetual war. Those who suffer can either fight and feel as if they are warriors in a battle of good versus evil or they can struggle and suffer, as they respond to the remorse and guilt they are feeling for their actions.

Since society does not want to help the soldiers who are suffering but reject the role they played, it is additionally traumatic for veterans like Somers. So, they ultimately come to the decision that it is better to die than spend each day trying to survive and get better.


http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/201...itted-suicide/
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:29 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
No. You're starting from a conclusion and working backward.
It's called deductive reasoning.
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:37 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BucEyedPea View Post
It's called deductive reasoning.
More like reductive reasoning.
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:38 PM   #33
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Bush would have never allowed this..obviously it's Obama's fault.
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:40 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
I don't think suicide rates tell us much about what our foreign policy ought to be.
I believe they tell us some. In On Killing, Dave Grossman analyzed why there were so many psychiatric casualties from the Vietnam War. There were numerous factors, which I can list if you desire, but one was the nature of the conflict and the enemy faced, along with a sense of confusion over war aims and a lack of support from the populace.
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:41 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Thatguy View Post
Bush would have never allowed this..obviously it's Obama's fault.
....only because he's half black...
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:42 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BucEyedPea View Post
It's called deductive reasoning.
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:43 PM   #37
'Hamas' Jenkins 'Hamas' Jenkins is offline
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Originally Posted by fan4ever View Post
I'm really wondering why the much higher number in suicides nowadays vs. Vietnam era, etc. Certainly these troops haven't seen/done anything worse than what the Vietnam era troops had to endure...plus no one's calling these vets "Baby Killers" when they returned home...really wonder what's going on.
The suicide rates in Vietnam were higher than any war ever.

A major part of the reason, IMO from the research I've done, is that it is a consequence of the blowback from operant and classical conditioning techniques that the military uses to train soldiers to get over their innate resistance to killing.

Less than 20% of infantry in WWII fired their guns at the enemy with the intent to kill them. By Vietnam it was over 95%. The nature of Americans did not change, but the manner in which they were trained absolutely did. Sadly, the effects of that training and its likelihood to contribute to PTSD and other mental illnesses years later was never conceptualized.
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:46 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by 'Hamas' Jenkins View Post
I believe they tell us some. In On Killing, Dave Grossman analyzed why there were so many psychiatric casualties from the Vietnam War. There were numerous factors, which I can list if you desire, but one was the nature of the conflict and the enemy faced, along with a sense of confusion over war aims and a lack of support from the populace.
I'm sure that if someone studied the subject in enough depth, they might find something interesting along those lines. But we're not talking about a study that goes beyond the numbers. We're talking about whether the number of suicides tells us something in particular. Specifically, a couple of neo-isolationist wackos are suggesting that it's evidence of a reckless or otherwise flawed foreign policy. It is nothing of the sort.
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:47 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
I'm sure that if someone studied the subject in enough depth, they might find something interesting along those lines. But we're not talking about a study that goes beyond the numbers. .
I'm trying to let you know of some.
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:49 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by 'Hamas' Jenkins View Post
Less than 20% of infantry in WWII fired their guns at the enemy with the intent to kill them.
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:52 PM   #41
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Here are some other things a high suicide rate could tell us:

- A foreign policy in the best interests of the nation under the current circumstances causes our troops to suffer stress and despair.

- Weak support at home for a justified military engagement causes our troops to suffer stress and despair.

- Training that maximizes the war fighting capability of our troops also leads to increased incidence of stress and despair.

- Rules of engagement that put more value on minimizing collateral damage at the expense of troop safety causes our troops to suffer stress and despair.

I could go on and on with unsubstantiated theories that might explain an increased rate of suicide. But like I said before, the increased rate alone doesn't really tell us much.
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:55 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by 'Hamas' Jenkins View Post
I'm trying to let you know of some.
OK, I appreciate it. I guess I was thrown off by your "I believe they tell us some." It seemed as though you were suggesting that they tell us something about our foreign policy along the lines of what BEP and WhawhaWhat were suggesting.

I seems like we're in something similar to agreement here.
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Old 06-25-2013, 01:12 PM   #43
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It comes from a variety of studies. The most prominent is SLA Marshall's in 1947. Marshall encouraged the army to start integrating different training techniques to increase firing rates. They did and it did.

In Korea firing rates were 55%. By Vietnam 95%.

Grossman's On Killing is the most comprehensive treatment of the subject, as he adds in a number of other factors, including the proximity and respect for authority figures, crew served weapons, and physical and cultural distance.
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Old 06-25-2013, 01:15 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post

- Training that maximizes the war fighting capability of our troops also leads to increased incidence of stress and despair.
FWIW, It doesn't. Studies have shown that in order to maximize the fighting capacity of units you must rotate them in and out of combat. The rotation prevents psychological exhaustion, extends the viability of the unit, and decreases psychiatric casualties. Thus, maximizing their capability, at least in this regard, reduces stress and despair.
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Old 06-25-2013, 01:17 PM   #45
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