Monday, May 17, 2010


The most highly decorated solidier in the British armed forces tried to kill himself after returning from Iraq.
Lance Corporal Johnson Beharry, who was awarded the Victoria Cross in 2005 for twice saving the lives of fellow soldiers, felt so depressed that he drove his car into a lamppost at 100mph.
Lance Corporal Beharry, of 1st Battalion, Princess of Wales Regiment, made the suicide attempt after an early-morning row with his partner.

The above is from Laura Pitel's "Horrors of war drove VC holder to try to kill himself" (Times of London). David Willetts (The Sun) landed the interview with Iraq War veteran Johnson Beharry and link has text and video as well as Robert Marsh weighing in:

Johnson's experiences must have been very difficult to come to terms with and this shows there is a huge need amongst veterans which isn't being met.
Many former soldiers being looked after by Combat Stress say without our help they would either be dead or in prison.
We launched the Enemy Within Appeal this year. The target is to raise £30million to develop the treatment in our three short stay residential centres and to expand by deploying 14 outreach teams.

Robert Marsh works with Combat Stress which notes:

Over the last five years the number of ex-Service men and women seeking our help has risen by 66% and we have a current caseload of more than 4,300 individuals. This already includes 94 Veterans who have served in Afghanistan and 390 who served in Iraq.

Paul Bentley and Katherine Faulkner (Daily Mail) cover the story here. Meanwhile Benedict Carey (New York Times) reports on a new study published by The Lancet which states that mutliple deployments have less of an effect on British troops than they do on US troops and that "British troops who have fought in Iraq or Afghanistan suffer far lower rates of post-traumatic stress than Americans do". The Lancet's created a special online folder to highlight and explore the new study:

Concerns have been raised about the psychological effect of continued combat exposure and of repeated military deployments. For the first time, an Article assesses the mental health of those deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan from the UK perspective. An Editorial highlights several important messages arising from the study and key findings are discussed in an accompanying Comment and Podcast.

Press TV reports that a US helicopter crashed in Nasiriyah on Saturday. Today the US military issued the following:

RELEASE No. 20100517-01
May 17, 2010

BASRAH – A joint team of Iraqi Police from the 6th Emergency Response Unit and U.S. forces secured and recovered a disabled U.S. helicopter today after it was forced to make a precautionary landing Saturday.
A team of Iraqi and U.S. forces were able to secure the landing site and repair the aircraft before U.S. pilots flew it back to Tallil Air Base.
"We would like to thank our Iraqi partners for their outstanding assistance," said Col. James Rainey, commander, 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division at Contingency Operating Base Adder. "The quick response from the 6th Emergency Response Unit was instrumental in the success of the recovery operation."
The aircraft was conducting its daily mission when it made a precautionary landing because of a mechanical problem. No one was injured during the landing.
The incident was not combat-related and is under investigation.

April 27th, US Sgt Keith Coe died from an attack while serving in Iraq. Saturday his family and friends gathered to remember him. Tom Palmer (The Ledger) reports his brother Matt Coe read a poem about the last time he and his brother spoke on the telephone entitled "Last Call." Kara Phelps (News Chief) adds, "Coe is survived by his sons, Keith Coe Jr. and Killian Coe, his daughters, Klover Coe and Ava Wolffe, and his wife, Katrina Coe of Washington; his mother, Rhonda Smith of Winter Haven; his sisters, Sabrina Bundy of Lakeland and Nicole Coe of Fulton, N.Y.; his grandparents, Dawn and Stanley Jones of Winter Haven, Ruth and David Coe of Fulton, N.Y., and Ruth Shrauger of Ocala; as well as aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews."

Back to England where Joe Crowther (Metro) reports, "Adverts in the Army magazine Soldier warn servicewomen to carry protection, 'or you could end up facing something you really don't want to hear'." The Scotsman also notes, "FEMALE soldiers have been warned to carry condoms while on the front line after more than 130 British servicewomen fell pregnant in Iraq and Afghanistan during a six-year period." And the Daily Mail notes, "Free condoms are supplied at bases including Camp Bastion, in Helmand, home to 8,500 British men and 700 women." I don't know why women refuse to wear condoms on their penises because . . . Oh, that's right, we don't have penises. But yet again, birth control (i.e. responsibility) is farmed out to women.

Bonnie notes Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Gulf Coast Drilling Disaster 2010" went up last night. And we'll close with this from Emma Kaplan's "We Are Not Your Soldiers at UCSB: The Time for Resistance is Now!" (World Can't Wait):

On Friday May 7, Matthis Chiroux and I went to the University of California, Santa Barbara, a campus in a gorgeous setting a stone’s throw from the Pacific Ocean.
Student members of sponsoring organizations attending included; Students for Justice in Palestine, Students for a Voluntary Society, and SB Anti-War. KCSB 91.9FM broadcast the program live.
Often people ask us why our tour goes to colleges -- isn't it better served if it sticks to high schools? It is true that high school youth tend to be the most preyed upon by military recruiters. But college students are a vital component of the fight to stop military recruiting. Most universities -- including UCSB -- have an ROTC program, and military recruiters have been increasingly active on campuses across the country.
UCSB is one of the few campuses in the country where students are still building resistance to the wars begun by Bush and continued by Obama. The campuses have been deadly silent about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since Obama has taken office. Military recruiters, who were once banned by students on many campuses are now making a come back in force. This has to change.

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