Matching Grant Challenge
alexPureWhen I met Alexander Cockburn, one of his first questions to me was: “Is your hate pure?” It was the question he asked most of the young writers he mentored. These were Cockburn’s rules for how to write political polemics: write about what you care about, write with passion, go for the throat of your enemies and never back down. His admonitions remain the guiding stylesheet for our writers at CounterPunch. Please help keep the spirit of this kind of fierce journalism alive by taking advantage of  our matching grant challenge which will DOUBLE every donation of $100 or more. Any of you out there thinking of donating $50 should know that if you donate a further $50, CounterPunch will receive an additional $100. And if you plan to send us $200 or $500 or more, CounterPunch will get a matching $200 or $500 or more. Don’t miss the chance. Double your clout right now. Please donate. –JSC (This photo of Alexander Cockburn and Jasper, on the couch that launched 1000 columns, was taken in Petrolia by Tao Ruspoli)
 Day 19

Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.

Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.

CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.

The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.

Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive  books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)

pp1

or
cp-store

To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683

Thank you for your support,

Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel

CounterPunch
 PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558

The Latest Victim of America’s War Crimes

An Epidemic of Military Suicides

by TOM McNAMARA

Box me up and ship me home

Pin my medals upon my chest

Tell my mom I’ve done my best

– Marine Corps Cadence

Rennes, France.

On June 10th of this year, Daniel Somers, a veteran of more than 400 combat missions in Iraq, killed himself. One more name to be added to the list of US veterans who have committed suicide.

It’s a very long list.  And it is growing at an astonishing rate. Just about every single hour, of every single day, another name gets added to it. What America’s enemies could not accomplish in hostile zones, American society appears to be able to do with complete abandon; facilitate the death of US soldiers.

It’s quite an impressive accomplishment when one thinks about it, really. In 2012, the number of active duty soldiers who killed themselves was greater than the number killed in combat (about every other day a US soldier committed suicide). The same was true for 2011.

The family of Daniel Somers agreed to make his suicide note public. It can be found here.

In his final letter Mr. Somers says that he “was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe. War crimes, crimes against humanity.” He says that to return to society and to “move on in life after being part of such a thing would be the mark of a sociopath” in his mind.

He goes on to talk of being sick and injured, and of having been abandoned by his government in his time of need. Furthermore, he tells us that he is fully aware of the crisis currently going on in the US with regards to veteran suicides, citing the statistic that the number of veterans who kill themselves per day is greater than the number of children killed at Sandy Hook in Connecticut.

Think about that for a minute. The suicide epidemic among US soldiers and veterans is the equivalent of one Sandy Hook massacre every single day.

Finally, Mr. Somers talks of the freedom and peace that suicide will bring him, no longer having to be subjected to the pain, nightmares, flashbacks or hallucinations caused by what he saw and took part in Iraq.

It has been estimated that 655,000 Iraqis have died as a direct result of the US led invasion of 2003. According to the principles put forth at the Nüremberg War Crimes Tribunal and the founding charter of the United Nations this is clearly a war crime that borders on being a crime against humanity. The war in Afghanistan and America’s use of targeted drone strikes (in what can only be described as a terror campaign) can also be considered as war crimes.

One lowly US soldier found it impossible to live with himself due to his perceived complicity in America’s war crimes.

How President George Bush and President Barack Obama can unapologetically live their lives knowing the deeds they have engineered, committed and are responsible for is unconscionable.

Tonight President Bush and President Obama will sleep quietly in their beds. If we lived in a correct and just society they would be on trial.

For murder.

Tom McNamara is an Assistant Professor at the ESC Rennes School of Business, France, and a former Visiting Lecturer at the French National Military Academy at Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan, France.

Notes

 

655,000 Iraqis killed since invasion” by Sarah Boseley, October 11th, 2006, The Guardian.

“I am sorry that it has come to this: A soldier’s last words” Suicide note of Daniel Somers, Published in Gawker. Accessed at: http://gawker.com/i-am-sorry-that-it-has-come-to-this-a-soldiers-last-534538357

“More U.S. soldiers on active duty committed suicide than died in combat last year, shocking new figures reveal” January 4th, 2013, The Daily Mail. Accessed at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2256924/More-U-S-soldiers-active-duty-committed-suicide-died-combat-year-shocking-new-figures-reveal.html#ixzz2XJi6Nz7P 

“Principles of International Law Recognized in the Charter of the Nüremberg Tribunal and in the Judgment of the Tribunal, 1950” Report of the International Law Commission covering its Second Session, 5 June – 29 July 1950, Document A/1316. Accessed at: http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/full/390

“Suicide Rate Among Vets and Active Duty Military Jumps” – Now 22 A Day by Melanie Haiken, February 5th, 2013, Forbes. Accessed at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/melaniehaiken/2013/02/05/22-the-number-of-veterans-who-now-commit-suicide-every-day/

“The Charter of the United Nations” June 26, 1945. Accessed at:  http://www.un.org/en/documents/charter/intro.shtml