Wednesday, March 14, 2007

For U.S. Troops At War, Liquor Is Spur to Crime

This was in the New York Times, and was written by Paul von Zielbauer. I don't think I've read much by him- i mean, I've probably skimmed but that's it, because his name just doesn't register.

Well, this one caught my attention because what he did was list all the various offenses that U.S. soldiers have gotten punished/convicted/let go for that was alcohol-related, and all these offenses have been publicized before as a way to promote anti-U.S.-involvement sentiment. However, I think this article did well to seperate the offenses of the soldiers into problems that come from drinking, instead of cramming it into the problem of the U.S. being at war in Iraq.

If young men at home are drinking and doing stupid stuff like getting into fights and bar brawls, what makes anyone think it would be any different in a war-zone, when tensions are a lot higher? Especially if most of these men are really, REALLY young, and probably not allowed to drink legally in the U.S. There's just a greater tendency for testosterone-filled men to want to prove their masculinity in a situation where they are otherwise striking out. By striking out, I mean by the onslaught of sectarian violence and the U.S. inability to have control in a country that their hubris got them into.

von Zielbauer listed some medical experts, and one of them was Charles P. O'Brien, who is a psychiatrist at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He said, "I think the real story here is in the suicide and stress, and the drinking is just a symptom of it."

That makes me really sad. It reminds me that these soldiers are just human as the rest of us, and they are not just invincible bodies of men that serve and protect.

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/13/world/middleeast/13alcohol.html?_r=1&ref=todayspaper&oref=slogin

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