“The slaughter of five comrades by a ‘stressed out’ U.S. soldier” in Iraq “is a true tragedy,” said Greg Mitchell in The Huffington Post, “but should not come as a shock.” Although the media has ignored them as a rule, the signs of the effects of the war on our soldiers and veterans have been there for years. It's “revealing” that the killings at Camp Liberty “took place at a clinic for soldiers suffering from trauma or mental fatigue,” and that the alleged killer—Sgt. John M. Russell—“apparently was a patient himself.”
The killings will push the Pentagon to take a closer look at the effects of combat stress, said Paul Wiseman in USA Today. The accused sergeant was on his third tour in Iraq, where at least 18 percent of the troops "likely suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the National Center for PTSD.” And there have been at least a half-dozen other cases in Iraq in which Americans turned their guns on fellow soldiers.
The Pentagon can offer all the counseling it wants, said Kathy Kattenburg in The Moderate Voice. But the macho "Buck up and be a man" culture within the military tells soldiers they're "wusses" if they seek help for emotional or psychological problems related to war. As long as that attitude prevails, "men and women for whom these services are literally a matter of life or death will find it very difficult to reach out."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Ted Cruz is the new Sarah Palin
- How liberals are unwittingly paving the way for the legalization of adult incest
- Watch out, China — America is working on dogfighting drones
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Bill O'Reilly and Stephen Colbert are accidentally having a serious debate on ISIS
- 10 things you need to know today: October 1, 2014
- Why colleges' insistence on 'diversity' actually fails disadvantaged kids
- You're reheating pizza wrong
- Why the Chinese military is only a paper dragon
Subscribe to the Week