Revisiting the Camp Liberty slayings

| May 13, 2009

As more facts roll out of Iraq, a clearer picture emerges. The Washington Times is the only media source that warns against jumping to conclusions;

No reason for the shooting has been determined, officials said, but soldiers in the field cautioned against jumping to a conclusion of “combat stress” until an investigation has been completed.

But then, later in their story they start talking about a rise in suicide rates (and compare US civilians in 2006 to armed forces statistics from 2008) for some reason since we can all be pretty sure that this wasn’t a suicide attempt.

The Washington Post adds that their had been concerns about SGT Russell by his leadership;

A few days before the shooting at Camp Liberty, a military installation near the Baghdad airport, Russell’s commanders grew concerned about his state of mind and confiscated his weapon as a precautionary measure, according to Maj. Gen. David Perkins, the top U.S. military spokesman in Iraq.

“He had been referred to counseling the week before,” Perkins said Tuesday. “His commander had determined it’d be best for him not to have a weapon.”

The Post also reports that Russell’s father is making excuses for him;

Russell’s father, Wilburn Russell, 73, told the Associated Press on Tuesday that counselors at the clinic “broke” his son, by putting him through stressful mental tests but not clarifying that they were merely tests. The elder Russell said his son had e-mailed his wife sometime before the shooting and told her he had had two of the worst days in his life. He told her that “his life was over as far as he was concerned,” the father said. Wilburn Russell said his son was not a violent man.

Well, obviously, he is a violent man. AP also uncovered some domestic violence in his past. Apparently the Army is partly blaming the peace in Iraq for the stress, according to the Times;

With combat in Iraq now at a low point and U.S. forces taking a secondary, supporting role to Iraqi forces, boredom could become a morale issue for some soldiers when not in the field.

“Obviously you have to concern yourself with boredom, but we keep them very busy here – spiritually, mentally and physically – and not just on operations,” said Col. Burt Thompson….

The Stars and Stripes hints at family problems as the reason Russell snapped;

“Now that they’re not in life-threatening situations on a regular basis and the tempo’s calmer, the threat is lower, they do stay focused on those [family] issues,” Brown said. “And yet, the fact that they are so powerless to do anything to influence them probably has a major impact on folks.”

And you can always count on the moonbat readers of the Washington Post to miss the whole point;

Yep, it’s all Bush’s and Petraeus’ fault. Not the fault of one lone malcontent.

Category: Media, Terror War

Comments (7)

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  1. BohicaTwentyTwo says:

    From the AP article:

    His father said the younger Russell, an electronics technician, was at the stress center to transfer out of active duty. He said his son was undergoing stressful mental tests that he didn’t understand were merely tests, “so they broke him.”

    He wasn’t seeking help for PTSD, he was ACAPing. The only tests you take when doing ACAP are career selection tests to see what sort of job you can hold outside the military.

  2. Old Tanker says:

    “we can all be pretty sure that this wasn’t a suicide attempt.”

    I thought an earlier report said he did attempt to take his own life…..or was that someone jumping the shark?

    Boredom? I was unemployed for the last 9 monthes and VERY bored, I didn’t start shooting people……..during Desert Sheild I was parked in the middle of the desert with almost no contact with anyone outside of my company for over 4 monthes……now THAT’s freaking boring.

  3. Lucky says:

    Suicide By Cop (or fellow Soldier) maybe?

  4. BohicaTwentyTwo says:

    The media has the narrative wrong on this(shocking, I know). SGT Russell didn’t pull a Gomer Pyle from Full Metal Jacket. He did a Red(Morgan Freeman) from Shawshank Redemption. For 21 years all this simple minded man knew was the Army and all that was about to end. He knew he couldn’t cut it on the outside and it ate him up. It ate him up to the point that he killed the people who were trying to help him.

  5. BohicaTwentyTwo says:

    Eratta: I meant Brooks(James Whitmore) from Shawshank, not Red. Brooks was the old guy who pulled a knife on another inmate because he didn’t want to leave prison. When he was finally released, he found the outside world foreign to him and he wound up hanging himself at the halfway house.

  6. Veeshir says:

    The French Foreign Legion called it “Le Cafard”, The Bug.
    This term originated from Algeria/Marrocco when they were French colonies where members of the French Foreign Legion suffered extreme boredom in their stockades and took to shooting beetles ( les cafards) with their rifles. Le cafard came to mean an extreme depression or sense of pointlessness.

    (From Dont’ go there, it freezes your computer, I thought it was wikipedia.)

    When you train the heck out of a guy to go fight, he’s not happy not fighting. He gets bored out of his mind and needs to fight someone.

    I’ve read (in Pournelle’s Falkenburg’s Legion books and looked it up in history books) that they could have as many casualties from that as from combat.

  7. Sporkmaster says:

    One thing that is always a concern for those in the medical field is apathy. I had to deal with a case awhile back where one of our guys did not like dealing with the people at combat stress because it would always be a different person and he would have to explain everything again. It was because of that and receiving what seemed like generic answers that he was hesitant to go there.

    When I was in a recent suicide class, that it is vital for when you talk to a person about their problems, you must make them feel comfortable so they do not get defensive. If you go to a place where are not comfortable with and do not know the people your really not going to open up about the things that you are facing. He even said as much during one of our talks because I have a lot more knowledge about the situation because I work with him.

    This is not a excuse, but it is a sign that we as medical workers cannot become distant from those that we treat, otherwise they will see us and just viewing them as a number and not a person.