Since 2002, veterans have been committing murder individually and in groups, killing family, friends, strangers and—in appalling numbers—themselves.
Ann Jones, the Nation
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Sergeant First Class Erick Rodriguez stands guard at Fort Hood after Ivan Lopez’s shooting rampage in Texas on April 2, 2014. (Reuters/Erich Schlegel)
Evergreen Digest Editor's Note: Sources are now being quoted to the effect that the shooter in the recent Dallas police massacre was an Afghanistan veteran.
April 17, 2014 | After an argument about a leave denied, Specialist Ivan Lopez pulled out a .45-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun and began a shooting spree at Fort Hood, America’s biggest stateside base, that left three soldiers dead and sixteen wounded. When he did so, he also pulled America’s fading wars out of the closet. This time, a Fort Hood mass killing, the second in four and a half years, was committed by a man who was neither a religious nor a political “extremist.” He seems to have been merely one of America’s injured and troubled veterans who now number in the hundreds of thousands.
Some 2.6 million men and women have been dispatched, often repeatedly, to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and according to a recent survey of veterans of those wars conducted by the Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly one-third say that their mental health is worse than it was before they left, and nearly half say the same of their physical condition. Almost half say they give way to sudden outbursts of anger. Only 12 percent of the surveyed veterans claim they are now “better” mentally or physically than they were before they went to war.
Ann Jones is a journalist and author whose works include Kabul in Winter (2006) and War Is Not Over When It’s Over (2010), both from Metropolitan Books. Her latest book is called They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return From America's Wars—The Untold Story (Dispatch Books).
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Disabled Veterans Shatter the Myths of American Warfare, Ann Jones, the Intercept
- The military ambitions of the U.S. will not be restrained by the “true costs of war,” not even those exacted on the bodies of its soldiers.
- A Trail of Tears