Why you should never forget Iraq, pt. 34243


“With my brother in the mental state he’s in since Iraq, nothing would surprise me.”

That’s Matt Needham talking about his brother, a 25-year-old who reportedly served two Army tours in Iraq before coming home to a plush San Clemente condo and allegedly beating his 19-year-old girlfriend to death.

The Orange County Register reports that deputies fought with the unidentified suspect and used a stun gun to apprehend him before searching the home and finding the unconscious 19-year-old woman, who was taken to Mission Hospital where she died at 12:15 a.m., said Orange County Sheriff’s spokesman Jim Amormino.

Amormino confirmed the victim was the suspect’s girlfriend. The suspect lived in the condo with his father and brother.

KTLA Morning News interviewed Matt Needham at the scene this morning.

“He’s been really mentally unstable for the past few months,” he said of his brother, who was taken to Orange County Jail. “He’s no good since he got back, I’ll be honest.”

Needham said he knew a breakup with the girlfriend could be bad, but he “never saw this coming.”

“He’s my brother, we grew up in the crib together, I love him like no other … and it’s sad to know the person closest to me to completely write them off because they are crazy is sad.”

The point is not about the validity of being in Iraq or not. The point is not about which candidate should be elected or not based on their feelings about Iraq.

The point, simply, is this:

From this report, the clear sense is that a veteran should have received some help. It is not clear where, what or how this help should have been given, or even if it was something that was noticed. Perhaps it couldn’t’ve been. This could all be sad, sorrowful chance that was unavoidable no matter what could have been seen, and what has happened cannot be undone.

This story has already repeated itself too many times. Murders, suicides at worst, sad slides into depression, destruction, more. The casualty count from Iraq only counts so much.

If the necessity is for better training, more help, more assistance, more awareness — anything, everything that can or should be done to help — then it must be done. We, as a nation, as citizens, must see to it. Veterans themselves should be aware of their options. The government must — as a matter of principle — help in all ways possible, to help those who cannot help themselves, to provide assistance to those who can. And so must we.

Said it before and say it again — if you support our presence in Iraq, you support what must be done to help men and women in tragic situations like this, you do not write them off and ignore them, you HELP — in whatever way you can.

And if you do not support our presence there — and for many different reasons I do not — then you support what must be done to help men and women in tragic situations like this, you do not write them off and ignore them, you HELP — in whatever way you can.

There are no ifs, ands or buts about this. It is obvious we must all deal with what must be done in our lives. But as appropriate, as the time is found, you help.

And you should not need reminders of broken bodies and minds, of tragedy and murder, to do so.

While there are many possible resources to investigate, I suggest the Veterans Affairs Advocate blog, run by a Maine blogger named Greg Marlett, for numerous articles, links to organizations there to assist veterans, and ways to contribute.

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance


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