Stressed Out US Soldier Kills Five of His Own in Iraq

May 11, 2009

(ChattahBox)—Shocking news coming out of Baghdad today, with the U.S. Military reporting that a U.S. soldier seeking treatment at a Camp Liberty stress clinic, opened fire on his fellow soldiers, killing five and wounding at least three others. This tragic incident stands as the worst case of soldier against soldier violence since the Iraq war began six years ago.

US marine corps lieutenant Tom Garnett, a US military spokesman in Iraq, told reporters that the unidentified soldier-shooter was in custody.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates held a press conference today characterizing the shooting as “a great and urgent concern.” White House Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, issued a statement to reporters, saying the President was saddened to hear of the news and that “His heart goes out to all the families.”

The death of five U.S. soldiers today is sadly the largest death toll from a single attack on American soldiers since April 10, when a suicide truck bomber killed five American soldiers in Mosul.

Ironically, the shooter was said to be seeking help for stress at a Camp Liberty stress clinic. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD, is emerging as one of the greatest threats to the health and well being of combat soldiers, in the field and once they arrive home.

A 2004 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, revealed that one in eight soldiers reported symptoms of PTSD, with only half of those soldiers receiving or seeking treatment. Many soldiers feel ashamed seeking treatment for a “mental health” issue, afraid of being stigmatized and don’t ask for help. The deadly disorder, left untreated can lead to debilitating mental health problems and suicide.

And even when soldiers exhibiting symptoms of PTSD do seek help, nearly one half are denied treatment under the government’s standard requiring soldiers to prove that a specific incident caused their illness. New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, recently introduced a bill to abolish the stringent government requirements, which deny much needed treatment to returning U.S. soldiers, often with deadly consequences when they take their own lives.

PTSD and other stress related disorders are as deadly to a U.S. soldier as an enemies’ bullet. An estimated one fifth of the 4,292 members of the US forces serving in Iraq, have died from accidents or from suicide.

Camp Liberty, near the Baghdad airport, is one of the largest overseas military posts in the world. It offers soldiers in the field a site away from the stress of combat for some R&R, offering a little taste of home, with popular fast food outlets, such as Pizza Hut, Burger King and Subway. Camp Liberty also boasts one of the largest PX facilities selling everything from iPods to televisions.

It’s not yet known what led the shooter to open fire and kill five fellow soldiers. Was the shooter suffering from an untreated case of PTSD and he just snapped? As the details about the shooting emerge in the days ahead, those questions should be answered.



One Response to “Stressed Out US Soldier Kills Five of His Own in Iraq”

  1. Rosiecee on May 11th, 2009 7:07 pm

    Perhaps this soldier was taking an SSRI antidepressant or withdrawing from one.

    The Physicians Desk Reference states that SSRIs and all antidepressants can cause mania, psychosis, abnormal thinking, paranoia, hostility, etc.

    Go to where there are over 3,000 cases, with the full media article available, involving bizarre murders, suicides, school shootings [48 of these] and murder-suicides – all of which involve SSRI antidepressants like Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, etc, . The media article usually tells which SSRI antidepressant the perpetrator was taking

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