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NYT: Iraq War Turns Troops Into Murderers

From those supporters of the troops at the New York Times:

[AFP caption:] Greeters watch as a plane full of US Army soldiers taxis to the gate on their way through the Bangor International Airport, Maine, in 2006. A study conducted by The New York Times has found 121 murder cases in the United States, which involve veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars following their return from the front.

Across America, Deadly Echoes of Foreign Battles

January 13, 2008

By DEBORAH SONTAG and LIZETTE ALVAREZ

… The New York Times found 121 cases in which veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan committed a killing in this country, or were charged with one, after their return from war. In many of those cases, combat trauma and the stress of deployment — along with alcohol abuse, family discord and other attendant problems — appear to have set the stage for a tragedy that was part destruction, part self-destruction.

Three-quarters of these veterans were still in the military at the time of the killing. More than half the killings involved guns, and the rest were stabbings, beatings, strangulations and bathtub drownings. Twenty-five offenders faced murder, manslaughter or homicide charges for fatal car crashes resulting from drunken, reckless or suicidal driving.

About a third of the victims were spouses, girlfriends, children or other relatives, among them 2-year-old Krisiauna Calaira Lewis, whose 20-year-old father slammed her against a wall when he was recuperating in Texas from a bombing near Falluja that blew off his foot and shook up his brain.

A quarter of the victims were fellow service members, including Specialist Richard Davis of the Army, who was stabbed repeatedly and then set ablaze, his body hidden in the woods by fellow soldiers a day after they all returned from Iraq.

And the rest were acquaintances or strangers, among them Noah P. Gamez, 21, who was breaking into a car at a Tucson motel when an Iraq combat veteran, also 21, caught him, shot him dead and then killed himself outside San Diego with one of several guns found in his car.

The Pentagon does not keep track of such killings, most of which are prosecuted not by the military justice system but by civilian courts in state after state. Neither does the Justice Department.

To compile and analyze its list, The Times conducted a search of local news reports, examined police, court and military records and interviewed the defendants, their lawyers and families, the victims’ families and military and law enforcement officials.

This reporting most likely uncovered only the minimum number of such cases, given that not all killings, especially in big cities and on military bases, are reported publicly or in detail. Also, it was often not possible to determine the deployment history of other service members arrested on homicide charges.

The Times used the same methods to research homicides involving all active-duty military personnel and new veterans for the six years before and after the present wartime period began with the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

This showed an 89 percent increase during the present wartime period, to 349 cases from 184, about three-quarters of which involved Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. The increase occurred even though there have been fewer troops stationed in the United States in the last six years and the American homicide rate has been, on average, lower…

“When they’ve been in combat, you have to suspect immediately that combat has had some effect, especially with people who haven’t shown these tendencies in the past,” said Robert Jay Lifton, a lecturer in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School/Cambridge Health Alliance who used to run “rap groups” for Vietnam veterans and fought to earn recognition for what became known as post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

“Everything is multicausational, of course,” Dr. Lifton continued. “But combat, especially in a counterinsurgency war, is such a powerful experience that to discount it would be artificial.” …

First of all one suspects this study by the New York Times has about as much accuracy as the Lancet “body count” study that George Soros funded. And for the same reasons.

But also one has to wonder why The Times would do such a study? Why now?

We all know why. The Timesmen loathe and despise the US military. And since things are going so well with the surge in Iraq that they can’t complain about the war, they have to try another tack.

So why not do a “study” to show how fighting such a unjust and immoral war has turned American troops into murderers at home?

After all, who is going to question their research? They are the New York Times?

And in typical NYT fashion, this typically verbose and meandering article manages to work in all of the Democrat talking points, even the desperate need for free universal health insurance:

That happened in the case of Stephen Sherwood, who enlisted in the Army at 34 to obtain medical insurance when his wife got pregnant. He may never have been screened for combat trauma.

Needless to say The Times has its usual “experts’ at the ready, like Dr. Robert Jay Lifton — who oddly enough writes anti-US books and even little screeds for the America-hating Nation magazine:

Conditions of Atrocity

Robert Jay Lifton

May 31, 2004 issue

… Both Abu Ghraib and My Lai are examples of what I call an “atrocity-producing situation”–one so structured, psychologically and militarily, that ordinary people, men or women no better or worse than you or I, can regularly commit atrocities…

What ultimately drives the dynamic is an ideological vision that equates Iraqi fighters with “terrorists” and seeks to further justify the invasion. All this is part of the amorphous, even apocalyptic, “war on terrorism,” as is the practice of denying the human rights of detainees labeled as terrorists, a further stimulus for abuse. Grotesque improvisations can occur at different levels–whether in the form of interrogators’ ideas about inflicting sexual humiliation or in foot soldiers’ methods of carrying out those instructions or responding to more indirect messages from above…

Psychologically and ethically, responsibility for the crimes at Abu Ghraib extends to the Defense Secretary, the Attorney General and the White House. Those crimes are a direct expression of the kind of war we are waging in Iraq.

(Robert Jay Lifton is the author of Superpower Syndrome: America’s Apocalyptic Confrontation With the World and Home From the War: Learning From Vietnam Veterans, recently reissued in paperback with a new preface on Iraq. He is also an editor of Crimes of War: Iraq, forthcoming from Nation Books.)

Surely Dr. Lifton was the true author behind this New York Times “study.”

Just as surely as Dr. Lifton is a Soros Fellow. — Or wants to be.

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, January 13th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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