|The Volunteer Army
Chris Hayes had a mother of a GI that committed suicide on his show this morning. It was wrenching to hear her tell the story of how her son slowly came to his decision. He had been a short order cook at IHOP before joining the Army. He was sent to Iraq and then went for another tour of duty after that. She explained how his laughter had become forced and unnatural upon his return from his first tour of duty.
He had tried to commit suicide several times with pills and pills and whiskey and the psychiatrist always said he was well enough to perform his duties. Finally, he hung himself and there were no more meetings with any Army psychiatrists.
I was a non-combat GI during the Vietnam War and I went back for a second tour of duty in October of 1968. It was very difficult mentally. I turned to drugs and opium dens to escape the reality. I cannot comprehend how some of these young people go for four or five or more tours of duty in a place like Afghanistan? I do not think I would have made it thru a third tour, even though I was in a non-combat unit.
But, on this day of remembrance, it seems to me that these young people are treated like pieces on a board game. Just because they are volunteers does not mean they are supermen. It is cruel and inhumane to treat our own soldiers in this manner, in my opinion. We cannot continue to send them to the far corners of the earth and then forget about them. We must understand what they are going thru.