Casualties of War

(9 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Last week the Colorado Springs ‘The Gazette’ had another very disturbing report, in two parts, following up previous reports of soldiers of OIF and OEF who committed murders. These, from all I can find out, were just regular teens, no trouble out of the ordinary prior to their military service. But once sent to these occupations, sometimes more then once, they returned like many of our brother ‘Nam Vets, very troubled and not getting the help needed or not seeking because of the nature of military service, added to their situations of multiple tours, longer tours then we served and little down time between, their nightmares caught up to them by abusing drugs and alcohol, by acting out in rage, by loosing control.

Are they guilty? If they committed these crimes yes they are, we are a Nation of Law, though some seem to be able to not only ignore that or be above that they actually have supporters that will argue about holding them accountable. But we as a society have a share in their guilt, we sent them into these hells on earth when other options should have and could have been followed, sent on failed policies and then having more failed policies stack on to create long running occupations of death and destruction.

This first link is a more recent report a few days following the Gazette report.

Soldiers in Colorado slayings tell of Iraq horrors

Sun Jul 26 COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – 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………


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…………..Rest Here

And these two reports are so disturbing that the Editor gives a lead in warning about the content and reason for.

Colorado Springs: The Gazette

EDITOR’S NOTE: A note of caution about the Lethal Warriors package

For as long as wars have been waged, soldiers have been sent to kill or be killed. The lucky ones survive. Some return home unscathed; others are shell-shocked and emotionally scarred for life.

That’s been true forever. But something changed in Iraq. Thanks to modern medicine, transportation and gear, soldiers survived injuries that would have killed yesterday’s troops. They patrolled streets without battle lines, where smiling civilians waved one day and silently watched ambushes the next. Multiple deployments moved soldiers from war to home and back, again and again.


A word of caution: The details of battle are graphic, and the language of soldiers is, at times, profane………

And a few of the reports snippets with links follow:

July 24, 2009 Part I: The hell of war comes home

Before the murders started, Anthony Marquez’s mom dialed his sergeant at Fort Carson to warn that her son was poised to kill.

It was February 2006, and the 21-year-old soldier had not been the same since being wounded and coming home from Iraq eight months before. He had violent outbursts and thrashing nightmares. He was devouring pain pills and drinking too much. He always packed a gun.


Marquez was the first infantry soldier in his brigade to murder someone after returning from Iraq. But he wasn’t the last.

This month, Fort Carson released a 126-page report {pdf} by a task force of behavioral-health and Army professionals who looked for common threads in the soldiers’ crimes. They concluded that the intensity of battle, the long-standing stigma against seeking help, and shortcomings in substance-abuse and mental-health treatment may have converged with “negative outcomes,” but more study was needed.

Marquez, who was arrested before the latest programs were created, said he would never have pulled the trigger if he had not gone to Iraq.

“If I was just a guy off the street, I might have hesitated to shoot,” Marquez said this spring as he sat in the Bent County Correctional Facility, where he is serving 30 years. “But after Iraq, it was just natural.”

In August 2007, Louis Bressler, 24, robbed and shot a soldier he picked up on a street in Colorado Springs.

In December 2007, Bressler and fellow soldiers Bruce Bastien Jr., 21, and Kenneth Eastridge, 24, left the bullet-riddled body of a soldier from their unit on a west-side street.

{ Hear the prison interviews with Kenneth Eastridge }

In May and June 2008, police say Rudolfo Torres-Gandarilla, 20, and Jomar Falu-Vives, 23, drove around with an assault rifle, randomly shooting people.

In September 2008, police say John Needham, 25, beat a former girlfriend to death……………The Rest of Part 1 Here

This video isn’t a part of the two part report but is about the contents of.

July 24, 2009 Part II: Warning signs

After coming home from Iraq, 21-year-old medic Bruce Bastien was driving with his Army buddy Louis Bressler, 24, when they spotted a woman walking to work on a Colorado Springs street.

Bressler swerved and hit the woman with the car, according to police, then Bastien jumped out and stabbed her over and over.

(A word of caution about the language and content of this story: Please see Editor’s Note)

It was October 2007. A fellow soldier, Kenneth Eastridge, 24, watched it all from the passenger seat.

Many of the soldiers behind bars and their family members say the violence at home is a consequence of the violence in Iraq. They came home angry, confused, paranoid and depressed. They had trouble getting effective mental heath care. Most buried their symptoms in drugs and alcohol until they exploded.

The Army is seeking new ways to care for returning soldiers and keep the violence from returning – crucial now, because the unit shipped out in May to Afghanistan, where the monthly coalition casualty rate has doubled since the beginning of the year. Soldiers are scheduled to return to Colorado Springs in spring 2010.

The first step toward solving the problem, the post’s most recent commander said, is to understand it.

Graham, who had one son killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq a year after his other son committed suicide while training to be an officer, made mental health a focus after taking command of Fort Carson.

He said suicide and homicide are “different reactions to the same or similar problem. You treat both in the same way.”

This video also isn’t in these reports, it’s a previous ABC News Video of Maj. Gen. Mark Graham:

After two tours in Iraq, Eastridge was depressed, paranoid, violent, abusing drugs and haunted by nightmares. But because he was other-than-honorably discharged, he said, he was ineligible for benefits or health care. He was no longer Uncle Sam’s problem. He was on his own.

“I had no job training,” he said. “All I know how to do is kill people.”…………The Rest of Part 2 Here

Once again these and all those we’ve sent into long running occupations are this Countries responsibility, a Country that quickly, seems like we’re repeating again, forgets that simple fact! Our policies are done in our names, we send military troops to occupy others it’s in our names!

And we readily forget those we occupy, the deaths, the destruction they now live in, the trauma’s they suffer, the refugee’s we’ve created, and in the world that’s been, for the last few decades, the few lash out in retaliation for the policies done in our names! Now we’ve created much more hatreds, we have children that have grown up in the death and destruction, that’s been their childhood, and we are reporting on what’s happening to our own who served in these theaters of conflict, what has happened within those we’ve invaded and occupied!