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Iraq War Vet, in Suicide Note, Cites War Crimes, Poor Treatment | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

Iraq War Vet, in Suicide Note, Cites War Crimes, Poor Treatment


A soldier from the US Army A Company 3rd Battalion 7th Infantry Regiment watches the blur of a convoy of 3rd Infantry Division forces as it passes by, pushing deeper into Iraq from the south, March 22, 2003. (AP Photo/John Moore)

On June 10, Daniel Somers committed suicide. But first he wrote a lengthy suicide note, now released, after his family gave permission. Read the whole thing. It cites how he was haunted by what he saw and did in Iraq—including war crimes—but he also draws attention to the near-daily suicides among vets and lack of treatment for them.

Just one excerpt:

The simple truth is this: During my first deployment, I was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe. War crimes, crimes against humanity. Though I did not participate willingly, and made what I thought was my best effort to stop these events, there are some things that a person simply can not come back from. I take some pride in that, actually, as to move on in life after being part of such a thing would be the mark of a sociopath in my mind. These things go far beyond what most are even aware of.

The suicide was first noted, and quoted, I’ve discovered, by Phoenix New Times, who recalled him as a talented guitarist and producer for the local rock band Lisa Savidge. They linked to a profile of the band from 2011.

They also quoted his wife: “It has been crazy…. Daniel and I are private people and in the last week things have been ripped open and now everyone knows about how bad it has been. I wish I could believe that if it had gotten out [his sentiments in the suicide letter] sooner that he would still be here.” See the band’s Facebook page and tributes.

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Now here’s Intro to his suicide letter via Gawker. Note: I wrote about numerous Iraq soldier and vet suicides in my book on the Iraq debacle, So Wrong for So Long.

Daniel Somers was a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was part of Task Force Lightning, an intelligence unit. In 2004-2005, he was mainly assigned to a Tactical Human-Intelligence Team (THT) in Baghdad, Iraq, where he ran more than 400 combat missions as a machine gunner in the turret of a Humvee, interviewed countless Iraqis ranging from concerned citizens to community leaders and and government officials, and interrogated dozens of insurgents and terrorist suspects. In 2006-2007, Daniel worked with Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) through his former unit in Mosul where he ran the Northern Iraq Intelligence Center. His official role was as a senior analyst for the Levant (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, and part of Turkey). Daniel suffered greatly from PTSD and had been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and several other war-related conditions.

Read one contractor's story of how he struggled to cope with what he saw in Iraq.

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