It's all over the news by now... Just released... The fourth of the Mental Health Reports (OIF).
Specifically Mental Health Advisory Team IV Information
So lets take a look through the report... (pdf)
As General Sherman once said, "War is Hell"... So, first up... From page 14-15:
The war in Iraq remains very personal (see Figure 2b). Over three-quarters of Soldiers and Marines surveyed reported being in situations where they could be seriously injured or killed. Both Soldiers and Marines report at relatively high rates that they knew someone seriously injured or killed or had a member of their team become a casualty, 62% and 66% respectively. Indeed, on the survey, over 650 Soldiers/Marines described an event which occurred during the current deployment that caused them "intense fear, helplessness or horror." Typical comments included:
- "My sergeant's leg getting blown off."
- "Friends burned to death, one killed in blast."
- "Motars coming into your position and not being able to move."
- "A Bradley blew up. We got two guys out, three were still inside. I was the medic."
- "A friend was liquified [sic] in the driver's position on a tank, and I saw everything."
- "A huge fucking bomb blew my friends head off like 50m from me."
- "Marines being buried alive."
- "After my Bradley hit an IED, the drivers [sic] hatch wouldn't open and smoke started filling the interior."
- "Ambush on patrol & Marines caught in the open."
- "Doing raids on houses with bad intel."
- "Convoy stopped in dangerous areas due to incompetent commanders."
- "Working to clean out body parts from a blown up tank."
- "Fear that I might not see my wife again like my fallen comrades."
- "Finding out two of my buddies died and knowing I could do nothing about it."
- "Getting blown up or shot in the head."
- "Just seeing dead people on a lot of missions."
- "I had to police up my friends off the ground because they got blown up."
- "Mortar attacks, lost a close Marine."
- "My best friend lost his legs in an IED incident."
- "Seeing, smelling, touching dead, blowen [sic] up people."
- "Sniper fire without obvious sorce [sic]."
Next on page 15 is Figure 2b. Combat experiences of Soldiers and Marines during OIF 05-07 compared to Soldiers during OIF I and 04-06.
The stats from that figure for are:
Knew someone seriously injured or killed: Marines 62% Soldiers 66%
(OIF 04-06 76%, OIF I 72%)
Having a member of your own unit become a casualty: Marines 52% Soldiers 53%
(OIF 04-06 52%, OIF I 57%)
Seeing dead or seriously injured Americans: Marines 41% Soldiers 42%
(OIF 04-06 52%, OIF I 62%)
Being directly responsible for the death of an enemy combatant: Marines 14% Soldiers 13%
(OIF 04-06 11%, OIF I 19%)
Now apply these statistics to the quotes above...
Next up... On page 35 are the stats that have been getting all the news:
Figure 16. Soldier and Marine attitudes towards the treatment of insurgents and non-combatants.
This is a new survey so there are no comparisons to previous years...
All non-combatants should be treated with dignity and respect: Marines 38% Soldiers 47%
All non-combatants should be treated as insurgents: Marines 17% Soldiers 17%
Torture should be allowed if it will save the life of a Soldier/Marine: Marines 44% Soldiers 41%
Torture should be allowed in order to gather important info about insurgents: 39% 36%
I would risk my own safety to help a non-combatant in danger: 24% 25%
That looks pretty bad doesn't it? Get this though, I can't find any recent polls, but...
Even worse is this 2005 poll:
Survey by Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Oct. 12-24, 2005; nationwide survey conducted among 2,006 adults
Do you think the use of torture against suspected terrorists in order to gain important information can often be justified, sometimes be justified, rarely be justified, or never be justified?
Don't know/refused: 5%
Often + Sometimes, 15% + 31% = 46%
46% without even adding the 17% for rarely. That's above the 44% (Marines) and 41% (Soldiers) that think torture is justified to save the life of a comrade at arms...
Considering that they're living in a total cluster-fuck of a war-zone those soldiers come off looking pretty damn good in comparison don't they?..
The only thing is, that they actually have a chance to act on those beliefs unlike the chickenhawks...
Think on that for a moment...