A number of soldiers at the Army's Fort Carson wrote and signed sworn statements in the fall of 2008 complaining about their medical care. Pfc. Timothy Ryan Alderman signed the statement below on Oct. 13, 2008. In it he says, "I am seeking help but I feel like I'm not being treated right. I mean mental help." He died of a drug overdose a week later. The Army has ruled that his death was a suicide.
I can not accurately describe my emotional and rational reaction to reading these stories. A year ago I wrote America Doesn't Support the Troops and not much has changed.
Even though Chicken Hawk Commanders Bush and Cheney used the deaths of soldiers to support their wars this isn't the fault of anyone one man. This isn't the work of some diabolical tyrannical misanthrope. This is the by product of a system in which troop welfare is a secondary (or worse) priority. It's a by product of impersonal relations. It's a by product of conformity and anonymity. It's a by product of rampant unthinking nationalism, in which, the interests of the Nation are mounted on a pedestal of worship and all other things must yield.
I am reminded of the story of Thomas a Becket. Becket's well studied and dramatized disagreement with his friend Henry II caused problems for the pope and the vatican, that was until 4 knights killed Becket after an enraged Henry uttered the infamous line "Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest". For then Becket was dead and the Church leaders could use him.
Becket was far more useful to the church dead than alive. The querulous archbishop immediately became the Canterbury martyr, whose shrine attracted thousands of pilgrims over the next three centuries. The papacy, which largely ignored Becket when he was alive, found his martyrdom to be useful as a lever for winning concessions from the dismayed English king. ~ Norman F. Cantor, The Civilization of the Middle Ages pg 400.
The average soldier is meat for the grinder. Praised for their sacrifice if dead, but shunned, derided and chastised if they question the Nation or it's Righteous Wars. And, always, always to be used.
People despised conscientious objectors, even those of the enemy country, because patriotism was held to be an absolute virtue. ~ Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion pg 233.