The Other Suicide Soldiers

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Suicide Warriors: The Untold Casualties of War
by Jack Random
In the pressure cooker of warfare, with the shadow of death lurking around every corner, in every alleyway, behind every closed door, and on every open road, the lower survival functions of the brain override the cerebral, and the limits of civilized behavior are pushed to the breaking point.  
 
 
Under conditions of any war, every soldier must face a test.  Under the conditions of a war stripped of any discernible moral grounding, the test is severe and the outcome is often gut wrenching.  

A recent report by CBS News attempting to document the suicide rate among veterans of the war on terror uncovered a disturbing trend. 
 
 
 
JAZZMAN CHRONICLES - DISSEMINATE FREELY
 
In the year 2005 alone, there were an estimated 6,265 suicides among veterans of military service.  Among 20-24 year olds, the suicide rate for 2004-2005 was estimated at some three times the rate for non-veterans.  

A separate study found that veterans composed one quarter of all homeless people in the United States despite being only 11% of the general population (Associated Press 11/8/07).  

Clearly, there is something profoundly disturbing about being a soldier in the war on terror.  

The government propaganda machine has conditioned us to react in predictable ways to certain words and images.  Before the war in Iraq, the image of Saddam Hussein hoisting his sword conjured an image of Hitler.  The image of Muslims training for battle conjured a vision of an army amassing at our borders.  The words Islam, Muslim, Arab or Persian conjured images of hooded terrorists plotting in mountain hideaways.  

The word Suicide was inextricably linked to the twin towers, 911, and the Palestinian suicide bombers venerated by the Palestinian people in the struggle against Israeli occupation.  

In the post 911 daze, the words Suicide and Terrorism became linked with Evil and Cowardice.  The war on terror seamlessly became the war against Saddam.  The war on Al Qaeda became the war against Islamic Extremists.  The face of Osama bin Laden became the face of Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestine.  

It is a reflection of how irrational we became that we did not question the logic of our leaders as they marched us into war.  

Years later, we have only begun to ask the questions that should have been asked from the start.  What have we done to become the target of terrorists?  What did Saddam Hussein have to do with the attack on September 11?  Why are we invading nations that did not attack us?  

Now, as we count the homeless and our own suicide warriors among the casualties of war, we must ask the questions that go to the heart of our nation.  

When so many of our warriors return home from the battlefield broken and unable to cope with the pressures of life, prone to violence and suicide, what does it say about the cause they were asked to serve?  

All those politicians and pundits who claim that we were not asked to sacrifice anything in the long war on terror are wrong.  We were asked to make the ultimate sacrifice.  Beginning with the Patriot Act, we were asked to sacrifice our souls.  

The majority of us, the vast majority, either went along or demurred.  Anything for security against an enemy more imagined than real.  

Twenty-three year old Marine Reservist Jeff Lucey returned from a tour in Iraq and hung himself with a garden hose in the cellar of his parents’ home.  

Would he have taken his own life if not for the war in Iraq?  Would he and thousands like him still be alive if our Supreme Court had selected a different president in the year 2000?  How many more will die if we continue to make the wrong choices?  

These are hard questions and they demand hard answers.  They demand that every individual look long and deep at the path our leaders are charting.  They demand that when we look into the eyes of a homeless veteran, we see a part of ourselves and acknowledge the part we have played in his or her destiny.  

We have been sliding toward the abyss for a very long time and we have not even begun to reverse the trend.  

What can we do?  What power do we possess to confront the most powerful military machine the world has ever confronted?  

We have the power of our voices and the means of our votes.  We remain a democratic nation.  Our leaders cannot long continue on a path of war against the will of the people.  When enough of us recognize the truth, we will demand an end to the war on terror in the most direct route possible.  We will demand that our nation stop pounding the drums of war at the gates of Iran or any other nation.  We will recognize that no nation on earth wants anything more than for us to leave them in peace.  We will recognize that diplomacy and international consensus are far more powerful than guns and missiles.  

Listen to the voices of the fallen.  Listen to the voices of the distraught, the broken, the untold casualties of war; listen to the suicide warriors.  

The message is clear:  End the war and reclaim America’s soul.  

Jazz.  

JACK RANDOM IS THE AUTHOR OF THE JAZZMAN CHRONICLES (CROW DOG PRESS) AND GHOST DANCE INSURRECTION (DRY BONES PRESS).  THE CHRONICLES HAVE BEEN POSTED ON NUMEROUS CITES OF THE WORLDWIDE WEB, INCLUDING THE ALBION MONITOR, BELLACIAO, BUZZLE, COUNTERPUNCH, DISSIDENT VOICE, THE NATIONAL FREE PRESS AND PACIFIC FREE PRESS.  SEE WWW.JAZZMANCHRONICLES.BLOGSPOT.COM.
 

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