War Must Be Abolished.

Posted November 20, 2013

by Jerry Alatalo

earthblog3The decision to post this content was one which took some time to arrive at. I decided to post the suicide note of 30-year-old Iraq War veteran Daniel Somers, who shot himself in Pheonix, Arizona, because his wife and family have given their permission.

What follows is a portion of the article I found at popularresistance.org, originally written by Eric London at wsws.org.

This post has been saved as a draft for a few days. Last night George W. Bush was on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Perhaps I am the most naïve person on Earth, but I was waiting for George Bush to apologize to the Iraqi people, American soldiers, and the American people for the Iraq War. There was no effort from Mr. Bush to apologize. Maybe I am the most naïve person on Earth, but if I was responsible for the deaths of over 1,000,000 human beings, and afterward appeared on the Jay Leno show, I would have offered an apology.

Because the wife and family of Daniel Somers have given permission to publish his letter, along with the fact that George Bush has not apologized to the families, both Iraqi and American, of the over 1,000,000 men, women, and children who died in the Iraq War – I decided to share this.

One more reason to publish this is to help abolish war – because war shatters lives. Since the Vietnam War there has been an organized effort to contain the gruesome, brutal aspects of wars – where people no longer see film/video of actual killing on the field of battle, no longer see the flag-draped coffins coming off of planes, or wounded and dying people on the ground. Daniel Somers was not killed in the Iraq War. He had been out of Iraq, in Arizona, for four years before he took his own life.

He was not killed in the Iraq War, he was killed by the Iraq War. It is difficult, probably impossible for one who has not had the direct war experience, to imagine the extent of negative actions taken in the Iraq War by Mr. Somers which led him to his final action. I have a sense that the soul of Daniel Somers, wherever he now resides, agrees with my decision to post his final letter.

Because it offers humanity the most profound evidence for the abolition of war on Earth.

****

The last portion of Eric London’s article, including Iraq veteran Daniel Somers’ final words.

…The answers to these questions bear revolutionary implications. For this reason, the group “Tragedy Assistance for Survivors (TAPS),” a nonprofit veterans’ organization with close ties to the military and the Obama administration, urged reporters to limit coverage of Somers’s suicide note.

A press release published by TAPS two weeks after Somers’s death attempted to muzzle news coverage of Somers’s letter under the pretense that the note might drive other veterans to kill themselves. “While the note highlights important issues, portions of the note may also pose risks to vulnerable people who may be struggling with mental health fitness or post-traumatic stress,” the organization wrote.

The press release continued: “TAPS encourages the media to pay attention to the important issues raised by the note about veteran health care, and also asks the media to consider carefully which portions of the note to publicize and how it is presented, so that risk can be minimized for others, in accordance with safe messaging guidelines.”

TAPS’s Board of Directors is dominated by corporate CEOs, defense industry executives, Wall Street bankers, high-ranking military officers and ex-senators.

Its chairman, John Wood, is a former investment banker and current CEO of Telos Corporation, a defense-contracting firm that provides the Pentagon with network security consulting assistance. Its vice chairman, Charlotte Tsoucalas, is a former Pentagon attorney and lobbyist, and currently the director of the Washington DC office of TriWest Healthcare Alliance, a company that oversees health benefits for nearly 3 million veterans.

Board member Mark Grier is the former chief financial officer of Prudential. Board member M.L. Hefti was a lead lobbyist for both Honeywell International and Boeing.

In addition, TAPS lists among its “honorary board members” senators John McCain, Kit Bond, John Warner, Barbara Mikulski, Kay Bailey Hutchinson; former Senator Bob Dole; and former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen, Richard Myers and Colin Powell.

This organization has sought to prevent Somers’s note from reaching wider sections of the population because it is an unanswerable indictment of the US government, the Armed Forces and the American ruling class.

The note was written by a young man who felt an immense burden of guilt for having been a witness to and reluctant participant in the destruction of an entire nation and murder of large numbers of its people. Daniel Somers was also a husband and musician, a man who felt deep sympathy for the Iraqi victims of the war and kept himself alive with a strong desire to atone for his actions and share the love of his family and friends.

He is one of hundreds of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who have killed themselves since the wars began over a decade ago, and one of thousands whose cries for help are met with the callousness of the likes of US Army Maj. General Dana Pittard, who said in 2012: “I have now come to the conclusion that suicide is an absolutely selfish act… I am personally fed up with soldiers who are choosing to take their own lives so that others can clean up their mess. Be an adult, act like an adult, and deal with your real-life problems like the rest of us.”

Pittard openly expresses the criminal outlook that pervades the American ruling class and its political and military executioners.

Final Words of Daniel Somers, “I Am Sorry It Has Come To This”

Daniel Somers was a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was part of Task Force Lightning, an intelligence unit. In 2004-2005, he was mainly assigned to a Tactical Human-Intelligence Team (THT) in Baghdad, Iraq, where he ran more than 400 combat missions as a machine gunner in the turret of a Humvee, interviewed countless Iraqis ranging from concerned citizens to community leaders and and government officials, and interrogated dozens of insurgents and terrorist suspects. In 2006-2007, Daniel worked with Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) through his former unit in Mosul where he ran the Northern Iraq Intelligence Center. His official role was as a senior analyst for the Levant (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, and part of Turkey). Daniel suffered greatly from PTSD and had been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and several other war-related conditions. On June 10, 2013, Daniel wrote the following letter to his family before taking his life. Daniel was 30 years old. His wife and family have given permission to publish it.

I am sorry that it has come to this.

The fact is, for as long as I can remember my motivation for getting up every day has been so that you would not have to bury me. As things have continued to get worse, it has become clear that this alone is not a sufficient reason to carry on. The fact is, I am not getting better, I am not going to get better, and I will most certainly deteriorate further as time goes on. From a logical standpoint, it is better to simply end things quickly and let any repercussions from that play out in the short term than to drag things out into the long term.

You will perhaps be sad for a time, but over time you will forget and begin to carry on. Far better that than to inflict my growing misery upon you for years and decades to come, dragging you down with me. It is because I love you that I can not do this to you. You will come to see that it is a far better thing as one day after another passes during which you do not have to worry about me or even give me a second thought. You will find that your world is better without me in it.

I really have been trying to hang on, for more than a decade now. Each day has been a testament to the extent to which I cared, suffering unspeakable horror as quietly as possible so that you could feel as though I was still here for you. In truth, I was nothing more than a prop, filling space so that my absence would not be noted. In truth, I have already been absent for a long, long time.

My body has become nothing but a cage, a source of pain and constant problems. The illness I have has caused me pain that not even the strongest medicines could dull, and there is no cure. All day, every day a screaming agony in every nerve ending in my body. It is nothing short of torture. My mind is a wasteland, filled with visions of incredible horror, unceasing depression, and crippling anxiety, even with all of the medications the doctors dare give. Simple things that everyone else takes for granted are nearly impossible for me. I can not laugh or cry. I can barely leave the house. I derive no pleasure from any activity. Everything simply comes down to passing time until I can sleep again. Now, to sleep forever seems to be the most merciful thing.

You must not blame yourself. The simple truth is this: During my first deployment, I was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe. War crimes, crimes against humanity. Though I did not participate willingly, and made what I thought was my best effort to stop these events, there are some things that a person simply can not come back from. I take some pride in that, actually, as to move on in life after being part of such a thing would be the mark of a sociopath in my mind. These things go far beyond what most are even aware of.

To force me to do these things and then participate in the ensuing coverup is more than any government has the right to demand. Then, the same government has turned around and abandoned me. They offer no help, and actively block the pursuit of gaining outside help via their corrupt agents at the DEA. Any blame rests with them.

Beyond that, there are the host of physical illnesses that have struck me down again and again, for which they also offer no help. There might be some progress by now if they had not spent nearly twenty years denying the illness that I and so many others were exposed to. Further complicating matters is the repeated and severe brain injuries to which I was subjected, which they also seem to be expending no effort into understanding. What is known is that each of these should have been cause enough for immediate medical attention, which was not rendered.

Lastly, the DEA enters the picture again as they have now managed to create such a culture of fear in the medical community that doctors are too scared to even take the necessary steps to control the symptoms. All under the guise of a completely manufactured “overprescribing epidemic,” which stands in stark relief to all of the legitimate research, which shows the opposite to be true. Perhaps, with the right medication at the right doses, I could have bought a couple of decent years, but even that is too much to ask from a regime built upon the idea that suffering is noble and relief is just for the weak.

However, when the challenges facing a person are already so great that all but the weakest would give up, these extra factors are enough to push a person over the edge.

Is it any wonder then that the latest figures show 22 veterans killing themselves each day? That is more veterans than children killed at Sandy Hook, every single day. Where are the huge policy initiatives? Why isn’t the president standing with those families at the state of the union? Perhaps because we were not killed by a single lunatic, but rather by his own system of dehumanization, neglect, and indifference.

It leaves us to where all we have to look forward to is constant pain, misery, poverty, and dishonor. I assure you that, when the numbers do finally drop, it will merely be because those who were pushed the farthest are all already dead.

And for what? Bush’s religious lunacy? Cheney’s ever growing fortune and that of his corporate friends? Is this what we destroy lives for

Since then, I have tried everything to fill the void. I tried to move into a position of greater power and influence to try and right some of the wrongs. I deployed again, where I put a huge emphasis on saving lives. The fact of the matter, though, is that any new lives saved do not replace those who were murdered. It is an exercise in futility.

Then, I pursued replacing destruction with creation. For a time this provided a distraction, but it could not last. The fact is that any kind of ordinary life is an insult to those who died at my hand. How can I possibly go around like everyone else while the widows and orphans I created continue to struggle? If they could see me sitting here in suburbia, in my comfortable home working on some music project they would be outraged, and rightfully so.

I thought perhaps I could make some headway with this film project, maybe even directly appealing to those I had wronged and exposing a greater truth, but that is also now being taken away from me. I fear that, just as with everything else that requires the involvement of people who can not understand by virtue of never having been there, it is going to fall apart as careers get in the way.

The last thought that has occurred to me is one of some kind of final mission. It is true that I have found that I am capable of finding some kind of reprieve by doing things that are worthwhile on the scale of life and death. While it is a nice thought to consider doing some good with my skills, experience, and killer instinct, the truth is that it isn’t realistic. First, there are the logistics of financing and equipping my own operation, then there is the near certainty of a grisly death, international incidents, and being branded a terrorist in the media that would follow. What is really stopping me, though, is that I simply am too sick to be effective in the field anymore. That, too, has been taken from me.

Thus, I am left with basically nothing. Too trapped in a war to be at peace, too damaged to be at war. Abandoned by those who would take the easy route, and a liability to those who stick it out—and thus deserve better. So you see, not only am I better off dead, but the world is better without me in it

This is what brought me to my actual final mission. Not suicide, but a mercy killing. I know how to kill, and I know how to do it so that there is no pain whatsoever. It was quick, and I did not suffer. And above all, now I am free. I feel no more pain. I have no more nightmares or flashbacks or hallucinations. I am no longer constantly depressed or afraid or worried.

I am free.

I ask that you be happy for me for that. It is perhaps the best break I could have hoped for. Please accept this and be glad for me.

Daniel Somers

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14 thoughts on “War Must Be Abolished.

  1. I do not know how to even begin to like this. Jerry, stay as naïve for as long as you can. I am no longer naïve as I have seen too much to believe that ‘good’ will ever triumph over ‘evil’.

    George W. Bush would never apologize in a million years for his war crimes. That would be tantamount to admitting to war crimes when even if he admitted to them, the Obama Administration would state that there are no grounds to prosecute him and the others who are responsible for the deaths of over a 1 million people and counting.

    What would an apology do? I hear all the time about people apologizing for bad behavior when they know that what they are doing or saying is wrong before they do or say whatever they eventually apologize for, simply because there is some sort of an uproar over it. It means nothing to them and it will most definitely mean absolutely nothing to the dead, this man included.

    This post is truly sad and brings home the fact that many servicemen and women hate their job of killing and torturing people and for what, so that the greedy warmongers can profit? People like you and myself, we care. But those who initiate war and suffering and murder and death and torture and who build the destruction mechanisms, they do not care and they never will. The greedy have no ounce of empathy. They can never amass enough of a fortune. Greed begets greed, not emotionalism.

    Like

    1. Shelby,
      How are you. When Eric London wrote about TAPS and the members, their efforts to suppress Mr. Somers’ letter, and keep the searing consequences of war out of the people’s consciousness, I posted it in hopes of increasing calls for war’s abolition. The suicide letter of Mr. Somers is a powerful illustration of war representing an utter failure of mankind that will change people’s perceptions. I don’t know how effective this post will be. It may not travel very far, or may travel a great distance around the Earth. I felt an intuitive need to share it, so I did.
      I agree with you when you convey how difficult it is for one to “like” such information.
      Thank you for sharing your views.
      Jerry

      Like

      1. Jerry, I had no problem with you posting this. What I was referring to when I stated that I was basically uncomfortable in clicking the ‘like’ button on this one is because it contained someone’s suicide note and I just cannot bring myself to ‘like’ something that has someone’s suicide note attached. My not ‘liking’ it has nothing whatsoever to do with the ‘information’ not being relevant.

        Like

    2. I will have to agree with you Shelby. I can only wish I was as naive as Jerry is. It’s an easier place to be, but one day everyone who wishes to see a real change in this world should leave that easy place.

      There will be no easy way to find an effective way to defend ourselves. But I do believe that more and more are getting to the point where you and I are, and will move towards effective self-defence rather than staying forever in wishful thinking and false hopes. The sick minds like Bush, and all the system-keepers will never change their ways. If they ever apologise it only means exactly as much as their promises: zilch, or even less, it is only for some manipulative and deceiving purpose.

      Anyway, great post as always Jerry, but as I tend to point out with near-zero efficiency: that approach alone won’t be enough my Friend. We shall all die, but our kids will definitely will, if we won’t be able to give up wishful thinking.

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      1. Skywanderer,
        How are you. Is there an edit needed on your last sentence? My naïve sentiment was exaggerated, ironic, and somewhat clumsy. I just got done watching the 1961 film “Judgment At Nuremburg” with Spencer Tracy as the Chief Judge. Couldn’t help but imagine Bush, Blair, and Cheney at such a war crimes tribunal. I hope that there are men and women out there who will contact families of those who died in Iraq, and those who took their own lives, to create documentaries as permanent records for today’s humanity and future generations.
        Thanks,
        Jerry

        Like

        1. Hello Jerry, how are you.

          I don’t see why anything of my post needs to be edited. If I make grammatical/spelling mistakes, or leave out a word or two, it’s because I am typing too fast.

          “I hope that there are men and women out there …”- you wrote. Yes I know my Friend, that that’s what you hope. That’s my point exactly.

          Iceland’s people did NOT merely hope and pray (if they did so that’s nice but it’s not enough). They ACTED, positively, with determination and persistence. Those men and women were – and are -aware that to reach and maintain democracy is a PRAGMATIC, POLITICAL goal, with specific methods pertinent to it, NOT a spiritual one. So NOT even the millions of prayers, hopes, nice talk of seven billion people and the “nice” emotional approach displayed by the profoundly brainwashed masses will make any difference. Iceland’s men and women organised huge online campaigns and united their efforts towards that one goal, called frigging democracy, and to save themselves against these high profile criminals (politicians, bankers, etc).

          Please don’t take it personally Jerry. You are a kind person who means well. My frustration is part of my overall disappointment regarding the so called “opposition” represented in the blogsphere and.wanted to express that I do share Shelby’s sentiments regarding this matter.

          Like

          1. Skywanderer,
            In the last sentence you typed “but our kids will definitely will” and that was where I was seeking clarification. I agree with your point on pragmatic, political goals. There is a spiritual/philosophical aspect motivating the men and women of Iceland, Costa Rica, Equador and other countries that factors in along with taking the pragmatic, political goals focus. To reiterate a point made in our earlier discussions we are in the same church, sitting in different pews. My motivation is reduction of suffering and harm to the men and women of the human family. My efforts may be clumsy or awkward or sometimes weighed too heavily on the spiritual content, which lessens the practical, political goal focus that you mention. Other times I write something and the spiritual/philosophical aspects are absent. I don’t take personally what I consider good discussions. Discussion is the only avenue for true communication, and I appreciate dialogue greatly. Perhaps a tangent was traveled as the post was “War Must Be Abolished”.
            Let me say that I try to be totally open-minded and do appreciate long discussion on any topic. I have always enjoyed communicating with you, Shelby, Robert, and others. Will such communication result in good changes on Earth and the lives of people on the ground? I think we agree that it is worth the try.
            Your viewpoints and ideas are always welcome.
            Thanks,
            Jerry

            Like

            1. Jerry,

              As someone put it recently on Twitter: “if you aren’t angry that simply means, you didn’t pay attention”.
              Maybe you paid attention, yet you either don’t fully grasp the REAL weight of the danger the world is facing or you don’t really care. If you did, you wouldn’t have the patience to dwell on my words and on my stupid word-repetition errors.

              It is needless to point out, yet I apparently have to, that bringing my blatant typo into this discussion is a logical fallacy (known as red herring) – in addition, it reveals a patronising and controlling attitude on your part.
              Oh no, you aren’t clumsy, Jerry, and I’m certain you are aware of that. You have turned this topic into a personal one, but never mind, as long as the abuse goes on in a subtle way, no harm done to the façade of the extraordinary loving kindness that you need to maintain. And while you remain the nice and the lovely, I can be written off as the bad and bitter one, who can’t even construct a proper English sentence. Well done, Jerry! Needless to say, this kind of behaviour triggers the deja vu of a long series of events in my life, and I am aware where this kind of abuse is coming from.

              Yet I have given you the benefit of the doubt and kept coming back to you since the first time I experienced similar communications on your part, so this time I will just say good bye to you Jerry. I have had my fair share of this kind of treatment in this life – I need no more of it. So no need to reply because I won’t come back to read it. Thank you.
              skywanderer

              PS: And by all means: feel free to correct the many errors – syntactical or morphological errors, wrong punctuations, run-on sentences or unfinished ones, spelling or any other kind of grave mistakes – that I have committed in this comment and in the former ones. As you are probably aware, you don’t need to get my permission for editing any entry on your blog.

              Like

              1. Skywanderer,
                When people communicate through email on certain occasions there is misunderstanding between the communicators, and our exchange in this case may have set a record for misunderstanding. I wasn’t trying to correct any error on your part, I simply wanted to know what you were conveying. That is all. I feel bad that this misunderstanding occurred and I just want you to know that. Whether you believe me when I say that the last thing I would do is intentionally harm you or anyone, is up to you. All I can say is it is the truth. A misunderstanding of another person’s intent is nothing in the scheme of things. So perhaps we can blow this off as a simple “mountain out of a molehill moment” and forget about it. It still holds that you are always welcome here. I’m truly sorry that this misunderstanding occurred.
                Peace,
                Jerry

                Like

    1. Robert,
      How are you. Very true what you say. That’s the reason I took the humble action of posting the man’s letter. First the war, then the mental anguish of those who “survived” their tours of duty leading to suicide, is tragedy of the highest order. Those who are concerned about efforts to end war have what could be described as the greatest intellectual challenge.
      Thanks,
      Jerry

      Like

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