On to more serious news, this story just about broke my heart.
(November 01, 2006) -- The true stories of how American troops, killed in Iraq, actually died keep spilling out this week. On Tuesday, we explored the case of Kenny Stanton Jr., murdered last month by our allies, the Iraqi police, though the military didn’t make that known at the time. Now we learn that one of the first female soldiers killed in Iraq died by her own hand after objecting to interrogation techniques used on prisoners.Thank you to The Daily Dish for bringing this story to my attention. The trials of war on our soldiers is high and often underappreciated despite the "Support our Troops" car magnets. We can't forget the emotional trauma and deaths that are inflicted onto our soldiers and we can't forget that especially when they come home. Just because they're home doesn't mean their trauma is over. Anybody remember the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that ravaged Vietnam Veterans? It's obvious that this war has already taken an effect on some of our soldiers psychologically and has sadly resulted in a death of a true heroine. My heart goes out to her family.
She was Army specialist Alyssa Peterson, 27, a Flagstaff, Ariz., native serving with C Company, 311th Military Intelligence BN, 101st Airborne. Peterson was an Arabic-speaking interrogator assigned to the prison at our air base in troubled Tal-Afar in northwestern Iraq. According to official records, she died on Sept. 15, 2003, from a “non-hostile weapons discharge.”
“Peterson objected to the interrogation techniques used on prisoners. She refused to participate after only two nights working in the unit known as the cage. Army spokespersons for her unit have refused to describe the interrogation techniques Alyssa objected to. They say all records of those techniques have now been destroyed. ...
She was was then assigned to the base gate, where she monitored Iraqi guards, and sent to suicide prevention training. “But on the night of September 15th, 2003, Army investigators concluded she shot and killed herself with her service rifle,” the documents disclose.
- Editor & Publisher
A Child's Plea
When the children start begging for peace, isn't it about time we listened? In Northern Uganda, the children, many of whom have been abducted and forced to fight or be sex slaves for the LRA, have banded together to plead for successful peace talks. The Juba Peace Talks between the LRA and the Ugandan Government have been fragile since its beginnings and continue to be strained, but as one Ugandan child said, "We hope they keep the dialogue going. Beginning a new life is not difficult as long as you have peace." I hope the Ugandan government listens to their plea. It also wouldn't hurt for the rest of the world to hear their pleas and to show their support openly and monetarily for the peace talks. Sadly the international community has been oddly quiet about the peace talks, leaving Sudan the only vocal supporter for peace in Uganda.
Another child's plea comes from our first genital mutilation case in the United States. The little girl of an Ethiopian immigrant testified on a video tape that her father "cut me on my private part." Her mother apparently was unaware of this until two years afterward. In a grotesque tradition that is often still practiced in Africa, this marks the first case of female genital mutilation in this country. Thankfully the father was jailed.