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