Fort Carson soldiers' killing spree after Iraq combat

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by harareboy99, Aug 25, 2010.

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  1. Seventeen US soldiers from a Colorado military base who mostly served in Iraq have been linked to violent killings and attempted killings since their return to US soil. Three of them came from one platoon - highlighting how a generation of American soldiers are struggling to cope with life after military service.

    "I was having a total mental breakdown. Every day we were getting in battles, and never having a break, it seemed like, it was just crazy.

    "I just got to where I couldn't take it. I tried to go to mental health, and they put me on all kinds of meds, too. And I was still going out on missions... they tried different medications, different doses, and nothing worked."

    Kenny Eastridge was a decorated gunner, but is now serving 10 years in prison for his role in the murder of fellow soldier Kevin Shields in Colorado Springs.

    In November 2007, Eastridge along with two other soldiers, Louis Bressler and Bruce Bastien, were out drinking in a nightclub with Mr Shields after returning from a rough combat tour in Baghdad.

    Drunk and stoned, they drove off to find more alcohol. Minutes later, Specialist Kevin Shields lay dead, gunned down in a drunken argument, and left in a pool of blood by the side of the road.

    Bressler and Bastien were sentenced to 60 years in prison for the murder and a string of other crimes in Colorado Springs.

    Kevin Shields' murder was not a unique case. At Fort Carson military base, 17 soldiers have been charged or convicted of murder, attempted murder or manslaughter in the past four years.

    BBC News - Fort Carson soldiers' killing spree after Iraq combat

    So basically because of the stress of combat soldiers are coming back psychotic lunatics. Was this not a problem in the World wars? Yes, veterans got shellshock, what we now know as PTSD and other mental scars, but did they go about shooting pregnant women at parties etc? is this generation (both in the USA and the UK) mentally weaker? Was PTSD just as common during/after WW2 yet hidden better?

    Perhaps this platoon, and the US Army in general just reflects society in general. A society were the 'yoof' off each other in record numbers, drive bys, gang culture etc

    But if society as a whole is de-sensitised towards violence why has intense combat in Iraq and Afghanistan fucked some soldiers up so much?

    As a disclaimer I am by no means making fun of, mocking or suggesting anything about anyone unfortunate enough to be suffering from PTSD or any other mental issue. Just curious as to the cause of this particular platoons outrageous and criminal behaviour and the state of returnings troops in general.
  2. They also had a major problem with this with troops coming back from Vietnam. So much so that when the Falklands kicked off they warned the government to properly fund psychology support for those returning. It also brings up the validity of our 6 month deployments versus their 12, especially since they were talking about upping it even higher!
  3. Long tours, (to save money???).

    Where is the support these guys need?

  4. before i even read the other posts i was thinking deployment length! i thought they covered 18 months in alot of cases! thats a long old stint that would break most
  5. This is another angle of the same thing:

    This is the actual report:
  6. The UK Sunday Times had a piece a week back, by AFG veteran reporter Christina Lamb, accompanying the current Chair of the Jt Chiefs of Staff: she mentioned that he has this issue very high on his list of concerns.

    Tonight on BBC 2 TV is a report about the unit (expalins why it is in the news)

    If you want a some 'takes' on the big Q (why is this more common 'now' than it was 'then'?), Elliot Leyton is worth reading (anthropologist, wrote some interesting stuff on serial mass murderers and on the differing cultures and murder rates in the US and UK ), plus there is a book called something like War In The Mind (I think this it) which I haven't read, but whose author* I heard on the radio a few years ago.

    He said that his understanding changed as he researched and wrote the book, but that he was on the verge of going to print (which meant he could not include it in the book) when he began to see how a 'tough' 'unsympathetic' attitude among peers [as was common in WW1 soldiers, at all levels] - towards whatever we call battle fatigue/shell-shock/battle shock this year - might actually be the best protection for individuals, against psychological collapse or breakdown . . . . I'd like to know if he has worked any further on that line of thinking.
    * The author I heard was a Brit - if the book I've pointed to above is by an American, well, it ain't the one I mean.
  7. I got my books mixed up.

    Excellent as "War In The Mind" may be, this is the volume to read:

  8. This phenomenon to which you allude has also been discussed and on occasion studied in many contexts whereby the more "understanding," "accepting," etc. attitude is said to be (depending on one's view) either a catalyst to prompt someone who might not otherwise report it to do so or a cause (by suggestion) for an actual condition or a feigned or imagined one. Given the significant subjective aspects of these psychological and emotional issues, it is hard to be certain as to which of these (or others) are "true" in a given case. There is also the other side of the issue that must be kept in mind and that is how many who may truly have a problem needing attention stay quiet in the face of "'tough' 'unsympathetic' attitude among peers" etc.
  9. Now I've got my books and authors sorted, my intention to (someday soon) read Shepard's work - which gets universally good reviews from his peers, I might add, is renewed.

    This is a subject area of personal interest to me - in part 'cos I had a soldier 'lose it' on a quiet patrol in 1976 (earlier tours taking their toll), leading to shots fired and dam' lucky nobody hurt. Looking back with many years more reading under my belt, I always feel that I and my unit handled him pretty badly.

    On the other hand, part of Shephard's thesis chimes with your inquiry:

    It has always struck me as odd that the physical symptoms displayed by "shell shock" cases in early WW1 B/W mediacl film footage, are so very different to to what are portrayed today. That alone is enough to to make me curious.

    This guy sounds like a must-read
  10. I strayed from my initial intent in that last post. I think the point the guy was making was about some kind of "tough love" - not the kind of ignorant machismo against which you warn, JJ.

    I note that one reviewer I skimmed just now has this to say:

    I imagine that to be a summary of just the kind of behaviour you meant.
  11. bump, starting now on bbc 2
  12. The programme stated that 300,000 US army Iraq veterans have PTSD!
  13. And one annoying thing is that although it's about an army unit most of the archive footage is of the USMC.
  14. Ah yes, that evil, character-killing and some would even say homoerotic USMC and its mean, dehumaniz(s)ing training.; -),
  15. I'd simply say "read the book" - feels to me like that p'tic'lar [civilian] reviewer was irritated by the fact the book was writ by a Brit, and might be looking to take offence where offence-taking is just silly.

    I'm in no position to comment on USMC attitudes 40 yrs ago. I am intimately acquainted with those of my own Army for the last quarter of the 20th C. . . . if we knew then what we 'know' now . . .

    I am curious to see just how far the reviewer has taken that one phrase out of its orginal context.