The Army Times has an incredible insight into the trauma of serving in Iraq for our soldiers in its story of 1st Sgt. Jeff McKinney and his tragic death. The increase in suicides is an often overlooked measure of the cost of this ill-conceived invasion.
McKinney was by any measure a soldier’s soldier. He looked after his men like a father and insists on living in the same conditions as his troops –even turning off his air conditioners when his men were without air conditioning.
However, he saw a steady stream of his men killed or mangled in Iraq. In one incident, he saw five soldiers die in a roadside bomb. He had to face additional deaths and amputations — increasingly blaming himself for their deaths. Finally, he just stepped out of his Humvee and said yelled “F— this.” The father of two (including a new born) then put a bullet through his own head.
As of May 3, 139 soldiers, 25 Marines and seven sailors have committed suicide in Iraq and Afghanistan.