FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

An Epidemic of Military Suicides

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

 

More articles by:

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.

November 20, 2018
John Davis
Geographies of Violence in Southern California
Anthony Pahnke
Abolishing ICE Means Defunding it
Maximilian Werner
Why (Mostly) Men Trophy Hunt: a Biocultural Explanation
Masturah Alatas
Undercutting Female Circumcision
Jack Rasmus
Global Oil Price Deflation 2018 and Beyond
Geoff Dutton
Why High Technology’s Double-Edged Sword is So Hard to Swallow
Binoy Kampmark
Charges Under Seal: US Prosecutors Get Busy With Julian Assange
Rev. William Alberts
America Fiddles While California Burns
Forrest Hylton, Aaron Tauss and Juan Felipe Duque Agudelo
Remaking the Common Good: the Crisis of Public Higher Education in Colombia
Patrick Cockburn
What Can We Learn From a Headmaster Who Refused to Allow His Students to Celebrate Armistice Day?
Clark T. Scott
Our Most Stalwart Company
Tom H. Hastings
Look to the Right for Corruption
Edward Hunt
With Nearly 400,000 Dead in South Sudan, Will the US Finally Change Its Policy?
Thomas Knapp
Hypocrisy Alert: Republicans Agreed with Ocasio-Cortez Until About One Minute Ago
November 19, 2018
David Rosen
Amazon Deal: New York Taxpayers Fund World Biggest Sex-Toy Retailer
Sheldon Richman
Art of the Smear: the Israel Lobby Busted
Chad Hanson
Why Trump is Wrong About the California Wildfires
Dean Baker
Will Progressives Ever Think About How We Structure Markets, Instead of Accepting them as Given?
Robert Fisk
We Remember the Great War, While Palestinians Live It
Dave Lindorff
Pelosi’s Deceptive Plan: Blocking any Tax Rise Could Rule Out Medicare-for-All and Bolstering Social Security
Rick Baum
What Can We Expect From the Democrat “Alternative” Given Their Record in California?
Thomas Scott Tucker
Trump, World War I and the Lessons of Poetry
John W. Whitehead
Red Flag Gun Laws
Newton Finn
On Earth, as in Heaven: the Utopianism of Edward Bellamy
Robert Fantina
Shithole Countries: Made in the USA
René Voss
Have Your Say about Ranching in Our Point Reyes National Seashore
Weekend Edition
November 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jonah Raskin
A California Jew in a Time of Anti-Semitism
Andrew Levine
Whither the Melting Pot?
Joshua Frank
Climate Change and Wildfires: The New Western Travesty
Nick Pemberton
The Revolution’s Here, Please Excuse Me While I Laugh
T.J. Coles
Israel Cannot Use Violent Self-Defense While Occupying Gaza
Rob Urie
Nuclear Weapons are a Nightmare Made in America
Paul Street
Barack von Obamenburg, Herr Donald, and Big Capitalist Hypocrisy: On How Fascism Happens
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fire is Sweeping Our Very Streets Today
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s New President, Other European Fools and the Abyss 
Pete Dolack
“Winners” in Amazon Sweepstakes Sure to be the Losers
Richard Eskow
Amazon, Go Home! Billions for Working People, But Not One Cent For Tribute
Ramzy Baroud
In Breach of Human Rights, Netanyahu Supports the Death Penalty against Palestinians
Brian Terrell
Ending the War in Yemen- Congressional Resolution is Not Enough!
John Laforge
Woolsey Fire Burns Toxic Santa Susana Reactor Site
Ralph Nader
The War Over Words: Republicans Easily Defeat the Democrats
M. G. Piety
Reading Plato in the Time of the Oligarchs
Rafael Correa
Ecuador’s Soft Coup and Political Persecution
Brian Cloughley
Aid Projects Can Work, But Not “Head-Smacking Stupid Ones”
David Swanson
A Tale of Two Marines
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail