Monday, January 14, 2008

US war veterans bringing death back home

Dominic Brock

More than 120 US veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have committed or been charged with a murder since arriving home from war, the New York Times has found.The newspaper discovered 121 murder cases involving the recent veterans, with combat trauma, stress, alcohol abuse and family troubles often leading to the killings.

Three quarters of the veterans were still in the army when they committed the killings, most of which involved the use of guns. Other murders involved stabbings, beatings, strangulations and bathtub drownings.

The Times found an 89 per cent increase in homicides involving military personnel in the six years since war broke out, compared to the previous six-year period. This was despite there being fewer troops stationed in the US in the past six years, and an overall drop in homicide rates in the country.

Severe depression was a key element in many of the incidents. Thirteen veterans committed suicide after the killings, with others expressing a death wish after being caught.

Joshua Pol, a former soldier convicted of vehicular homicide, told a judge at court in 2006, “To be honest with you, I really wish I had died in Iraq.”The Pentagon did not keep track of such killings, and declined to comment on the Times’ story.

-- submitted by Patti Woodard

A major story on this topic appeared in the New York Times. You can find it here.

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