“War’s Psychic Toll” by Bob Herbert:
June 11, 2009, 1:00am
I couldn’t have been less surprised to read last week that an American G.I. had been charged with gunning down five of his fellow service members in Iraq. The fact that this occurred at a mental health counseling center in the war zone just served to add an extra layer of poignancy and a chilling ironic element to the fundamental tragedy.
The psychic toll of this foolish and apparently endless war has been profound since day one. And the nation’s willful denial of that toll has been just as profound.
According to authorities, John Russell, a 44-year-old Army sergeant who had been recognized as deeply troubled and was on his third tour in Iraq, went into the counseling center on the afternoon of May 11 and opened fire