The alarming statistic that 22 military personnel commit suicide every single day is clearly tied to the Bush-Cheney wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,
Not all veterans or military personnel who kill themselves come from these recent wars, but a very high percentage do, and it is because the Bush-Cheney Administration was too loose and easy to send troops to war, and not concerned enough about their treatment when they came home scarred from their war experiences.
It is important to realize that it is not just combat situations that have caused Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but also the growing evidence that the torture and abuse of detainees in both Iraq and Afghanistan was part of the requirement given to many of these military personnel, beyond the day to day combat.
One could conceivably fight and kill in a war and learn to deal with it, as a concept of “us or them”.
But making many military units, including those not in combat, torture and abuse detainees in the most heinous fashion, of which we had only a hint of what happened at Abu Ghraib in 2003, is the real culprit, as it is clear that Abu Ghraib is just the tip of the iceberg on this matter of torture and abuse.
It is much harder to justify in one’s mind the use of torture and abuse, when compared to actual combat situations, where one can rationalize the horrors that occur. For anyone to engage in torture and abuse and NOT feel guilty would require someone of very strong mental and physical constitution, or else demonstrate that we have troops that have major mental illness which allows them to enjoy and bask and prosper in hurting other human beings in the most despicable ways.
So Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld et al are indeed, as the New York Times has declared, guilty of war crimes, and rightfully should be charged in international courts, but that will not, of course, ever happen.
But each time after just a little more than an hour, when a soldier or former military personnel sees his life destroyed and has tremendous guilt and chooses to end his life, the guilt and burden of this reality falls on our government leaders who allowed such torture and abuse to go on, and have worked to keep as much of it secret as possible.
But over time, the truth shall come out, as it is starting to emerge now on news stories on National Public Radio and elsewhere, and it will condemn the Presidency of George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and many others to the conclusion that we have had true war criminals in charge of our government.
They have used the September 11 attacks to justify actions and motivations that have poisoned our reputation as a nation for the long haul, and for that, they will never be able to be forgiven!