As an Iraq War veteran, the combat deaths and homefront suicides of our troops not only fill me with grief, but also indescribable guilt. Grief, for these men and women are much too young to have needlessly die in a needless war. I can only imagine the suffering their family must be going through knowing that their sons and daughters died for a lie. And guilt, for I feel I have not done enough to dissuade young Americans from participating in this injustice.
I wish I could tell them what awaits them: that they will bear a disproportionate number of the deaths in these wars, and if they survive, suffer massive psychological trauma—trauma that comes from being morally complicit in the murders of innocents—that compels their comrade-in-arms to commit an increasing number of suicides. And that once the military is done with them, they will face disproportionately high unemployment rates, homelessness, and higher risk for suicides.
I feel personally responsible for my fellow veterans’ suffering and deaths. It is a shame and the ultimate tragedy that most Americans do not feel the same.
U.S. Marine (2006-2010)