The parents of an Iraq war veteran who committed suicide sued the U.S. government on Thursday for negligence, charging their son hanged himself after the government ignored his depression.The Bush Administration's systematic abuse of our military personnel is one of the ongoing outrages of the Iraq War. Let's review.
The suit accuses the federal government of not helping 23-year-old Jeffrey Lucey, who committed suicide in his parents' Massachusetts basement less than a year after returning home from fighting during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary James Nicholson was also named in the suit.
"This government is guilty of not taking care of the troops after they come home," the veteran's father, Kevin Lucey, said in an interview. "We are hoping to show this nation how broken the Veterans Administration is. We want to make this a responsive and efficient system."
Overused and over-extended.
Christian Science Monitor: As of the beginning of 2006, Stop-Loss policy had prevented at least 50,000 troops from leaving the military when their service was scheduled to end.
USA Today: Multiple deployments are adding to the troops' stress.
United Press International: Nearly two-thirds of polled veterans from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars consider the military over-extended.
Spiegel Online: Troops stationed in Germany are increasingly going AWOL rather than be cannon fodder for Bush's insanity.
New York Times: The army had to revise updwards its understated desertion rate.
Boston Globe: West Point graduates are leaving the military at the highest rate in three decades, as repeated tours of Iraq drive out some of the army's best young officers.
Los Angeles Times: Both Republican and Democratic governors warned Bush that using National Guard troops for his escalation was overburdening units already stretched to their limits.
Associated Press: Two army brigades had to forgo their desert training to accomodate Bush's escalation schedule.
Associated Press: Deployed single parents are having to fight to retain custody of their children.
CNN: In April of this year, tours of duty were extended from 12 to 15 months.
New York Times: Republicans killed Senator Webb's attempt to give troops more down time between deployments
New York Times: A 2006 study showed that eighty percent of marines killed from upper body wounds would have survived, if they'd had adequate body armor.
Newsweek: Troops have been having to improvise their own vehicle armor, because the military hasn't been providing the real thing.
Washington Post: Even as the escalation began, thousands of Army Humvees still lacked FRAG Kit 5 armor protection.
Inadequately cared for, when wounded or scarred.
Salon: The Veterans Administration knew as early as 2004 that there were serious problems with the conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center- and did nothing.
Salon: The Department of Defense also knew about the problems long before public exposure and the resulting outcry forced them to actually do something about it.
National Public Radio: Veterans are receiving fewer medical disability benefits now than before the war.
MSNBC: Up to twenty percent of Iraq Vets may be suffering Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Washington Post: A Pentagon task force concluded that the available medical care for those troops suffering psychological problems is "woefully inadequate."
Actually being sent back into battle, when medically unfit.
Salon: Wounded soldiers classified as medically unfit for battle were being reclassified as fit, so they could be sent back into battle.
Salon: These reclassifications were done to provide enough manpower for Bush's escalation.
Salon: Even soldiers with acute Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder were being sent back to Iraq.
Anyone who makes it through Basic Training is both physically and psychologically strong; but the abuse suffered by our troops at the hands of the Bush Administration is too much even for many of them. It is unprecedented. How unprecedented?
As Stacy Bannerman wrote, in Foreign Policy in Focus:
Pentagon statistics reveal that the suicide rate for U.S. troops who have served in Iraq is double what it was in peacetime.Corporate media pundits sometimes ask why we liberals so despise this Administration. This story is but one reason.
Soldiers who have served -- or are serving -- in Iraq are killing themselves at higher percentages than in any other war where such figures have been tracked. According to a report recently released by the Defense Manpower Data Center, suicide accounted for over 25 percent of all noncombat Army deaths in Iraq in 2006. One of the reasons for "the higher suicide rate in Iraq [is] the higher percentage of reserve troops," said military analyst James F. Dunnigan.