AP: Stressed out soldiers say they killed innocent people in Iraq
This is a very serious story about the realities of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. These young men are turned into killing machines and are expected to come back home and adjust to normal life.
This report highlights that many soldiers are having a difficult time doing this and the evidence shows that the are suffering post traumatic stress from long engagements. Our so-called political leaders need to stop all the cat and mouse politics and begin to address the needs of these young men and women.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) – Soldiers from an Army unit that had 10 infantrymen accused of murder, attempted murder or manslaughter after returning to civilian life described a breakdown in discipline during their Iraq deployment in which troops murdered civilians, a newspaper reported Sunday.
Some Fort Carson, Colo.-based soldiers have had trouble adjusting to life back in the United States, saying they refused to seek help, or were belittled or punished for seeking help. Others say they were ignored by their commanders, or coped through drug and alcohol abuse before they allegedly committed crimes, The Gazette of Colorado Springs said.
The Gazette based its report on months of interviews with soldiers and their families, medical and military records, court documents and photographs.
Several soldiers said unit discipline deteriorated while in Iraq.
“Toward the end, we were so mad and tired and frustrated,” said Daniel Freeman. “You came too close, we lit you up. You didn’t stop, we ran your car over with the Bradley,” an armored fighting vehicle.
With each roadside bombing, soldiers would fire in all directions “and just light the whole area up,” said Anthony Marquez, a friend of Freeman in the 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment. “If anyone was around, that was their fault. We smoked ‘em.”
“You didn’t get blamed unless someone could be absolutely sure you did something wrong,” he said
Soldiers interviewed by The Gazette cited lengthy deployments, being sent back into battle after surviving war injuries that would have been fatal in previous conflicts, and engaging in some of the bloodiest combat in Iraq. The soldiers describing those experiences were part of the 3,500-soldier unit now called the 4th Infantry Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team.
Since 2005, some brigade soldiers also have been involved in brawls, beatings, rapes, DUIs, drug deals, domestic violence, shootings, stabbings, kidnapping and suicides.