'Marine of the Year' Faces Attempted Murder Charges (Democracy Now!)
In Massachusetts, a decorated Marine who served in Iraq is facing attempted murder charges after he fired a shotgun from his apartment window at a group of revelers outside a nightclub. Just last month the Marine -- Daniel Cotnoir - was named 2005 Marine of the Year by the Marine Corps Times. After he won the award Cotnoir posed for a photo with Massachusetts Senator John Kerry. Cotnoir has reportedly been suffering from post-war stress since serving in Iraq where he worked as a mortician preparing bodies of U.S. soldiers for burial.
Apparently nothing changes. In every war, people are asked to serve and then left to fend for themselves. As with every other "plan" for this invasion/occupation, concerns were elsewhere.
The suicides at Fort Bragg didn't result in a change, the domestic abuse (and murder) only resulted in a white wash. Lariam, a routine drug, is dispensed but questions about it are swept aside. (Maureen Orth wrote about Lariam's possible effects in the December 2002 issue of Vanity Fair.) Medications, training and experiences all have effects but our government would rather live in denial.
Astronauts are "decompressed" better than the military is. Possibly that's due to the fact that, in terms of ratio, the government's dealing with far fewer astronauts than military members. But the military is expected to return to "normal" and fend for themselves with few resources.
As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities noted in "Unpublished Adminstration Budget Documents Show Domestic Cuts Would Significantly Reduce Funding For Most Public Services:"
As a group, veterans’ programs would be cut by 16 percent by 2010. These include programs that provide health care to veterans.
That's how this administration deals with reality. "Touched by war" has been used, to explain certain behaivors off the battle field, for all of recorded history. But we want to act surprised when something happens today or avert our eyes and pretend it didn't happen. Cotnoir may have pre-existing conditions but it's highly doubtful, especially given his public statements, that they weren't aggrevated by his service. Pre-existing or not, the United States judged him healthy and able to serve. When his service ended, what resources were available to him?
Those are questions our administration should be asking but more likely they will dismiss the incident as an abberation or as Cotnoir's own personal problem. There were obviously no "personal problems" that precluded his acceptance in service so the administration should be asking what safety nets they're going to provide to the returning?
It's easy to avert eyes for any number of excuses. Cotnior served and that's not the "example" we want of those who served, Cotnior served and we should overlook the incident because he's been "touched by war," Cotnior's problems are his own . . . Those excuses can't conceal the fact that Cotnior is having difficulty coping and that fact should make us ask what's being done to help people in Cotnior's situation.
"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center):
All violence consists in some people forcing others, under threat of suffering or death, to do what they do not want to do.