The Department of Defense reports that suicide has become a huge problem with US forces deployed in Iraq. It appears that 2006 will become the deadliest year for suicides since the war began, with more than one in four non-combat deaths being self-inflicted.
Why doesn't our government see that there is something wrong here?
The pointlessness of the mission is becoming toxic to our brave soldiers. Military personnel are being forced to redeploy to Iraq when they obviously have mental problems. The government is loading them up on tranquilizers and anti-psychotic medications and sending them back, when it's obvious they critically need treatment.
And soldiers are suffering at the hands of other military personnel, with nothing being done to remedy the situation.
Here are some excerpts from this heart-breaking story in the Hartford Courant:
Among the 2006 confirmed suicides was Tina Priest, a 21-year-old soldier from Austin, Texas, who killed herself in Iraq after reporting she was raped by a fellow soldier and then being placed on antidepressants, investigative records obtained by The Courant show. An Army psychologist deemed her stable just days before her death.In any other situation, Priest's statement "...that she just wanted everything to be over with..." would immediately trigger a sane and compassionate response, such as getting her the help and protection she desperately needed.
Investigative records show that Priest shot herself in Iraq in March, days after being diagnosed and treated for "Acute Stress Disorder consistent with Rape Trauma Syndrome." The records show she was prescribed the antidepressant Zoloft, the antipsychotic Seroquel and the sleeping aid Ambien.
Her family reported that she was in good spirits before her deployment, the records say. But friends and relatives told investigators that Priest's mental health declined sharply after the rape, and particularly after the soldier she accused was not confined pending his trial.
"Priest stated that she can't do it anymore, that she just wanted everything to be over with," a fellow soldier told investigators, recounting a conversation with Priest days before her death.
But because of the intrinsic lunacy of our wartime policies, Priest was loaded up on medications and returned to active duty. While her attacker roamed freely.
Is it any wonder that Tina felt she didn't have any other way out?
Words can't adequately express my anger about how our broken government allows things like this to happen.