From a multitude of sources comes the disturbing news that far too many of our soldiers are committing suicide upon return to the United States from Iraq, or while still in country. We ought to ask why.
Perhaps we may get a clue from a portion of the great novel “Brothers Karamazov,” in which the Grand Inquisitor says it is not enough just to live — people must have a reason to live.
Several hundred thousand young American men and women in the standing army and National Guard have been sent to Iraq since our government decided to launch its “preemptive” war against Saddam Hussein.
One of the alleged reasons for invading Iraq was that the country was a central front in the war against terrorism. We were allegedly striking back at the wicked people who were responsible for the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Repeated investigations have since revealed that Iraq had no part whatsoever in the September 11 atrocities.
We were also told that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Investigation after investigation since has revealed that Iraq had dumped all its weapons after the Gulf War.
We had no reason to be in Iraq. But thousands of young Americans were called upon to risk their lives and to kill or be killed, day after day, year after year.
It is no wonder that some of them have come to hate what they were ordered to do. As many of them likely saw it, there was no way out of this ugly world in which they were entrapped.
Some may have developed a sense of guilt. Some may have simply gone mad. Whatever the case might be, they wanted a quick exit from this maddening world.
We ought to ask why.