Monday, January 14, 2008

Faces from the war

It only takes a brief glance at the faces on top of this story to see what war is doing to our people, again. In the New York Times, beginning of a series called War Torn: Across America, Deadly Echoes of Foreign Battles. It's a study of the 121 deaths caused by veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan so far since the war started.
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.
Violence leads to violence. Of the 121 victims, 41 were family or girlfriends. A quarter of the victims were fellow service members.

It's not a new phenomenon, of course, we certainly remember those who came back from Vietnam and just couldn't fit anymore:
After World War I, the American Legion passed a resolution asking the press “to subordinate whatever slight news value there may be in playing up the ex-service member angle in stories of crime or offense against the peace.” An article in the Veterans of Foreign Wars magazine in 2006 referred with disdain to the pervasive “wacko-vet myth,” which, veterans say, makes it difficult for them to find jobs.

Congrats to the two reporters who wrote the story, Deborah Sontag and Lizette Alvarez (who I knew as Miami Herald reporters, years ago), and to the many researchers who contributed as well, including Margot Williams.



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