Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Suicide Note

Like most of you, I get a lot of mail that begins with "send this to everyone you know." For what it's worth, I wrote back to Doug encouraging him to consider condensing his message and using his right to free speech by public signposting. I should've just printed the letter.

I'm publishing it now because he just killed himself.

Spc Douglas Barber: PTSD- Every Soldier's Personal WAR!

By Doug Barber

In the last month I have been working with Jay Shaft, the editor of Coalition For Free Thought in media regarding my experiances in Iraq and since coming home from the war. We have only touched on some of the struggles of being a soldier, however we have not dug deeply into the personal war that Operation Iraqi Freedom has caused for returning soldiers.

Donald Rumsfeld and President Bush do not want to reveal to the American people that this war is a personal war. They want to run the war like a business, and thus they refuse to show the personal sacrifices the soldiers and their families have made for this country.

My thought today is to help you the reader understand what happens to a soldier when they come home and the sacrifice we continue to make. This may be lengthy, it may be short; but no matter how long it is, just close your eyes and imagine a flag drapped coffin.

Inside that coffin is the body of a man or woman who will never get to live their life to the fullest, yet they bore the total cost so that we could live free. Their soul is somewhere else and all we have is their memory which over time will be forgotten by other everts of greater importance. The families of these soldiers have a hole in their hearts that will never be replaced, even though they have pictures and happy memories.

Some families will refuse to believe they are gone, but still their sons and daughters are the heros of a country that sent them to war. This war on terror has become a personal war for so many, yet the Bush Administration does not want journalists or families to photograph the only thing that is left of our soldiers who have died. They do not want the people to remember that image of a flag draped coffin as the last memory this country will ever have of our fallen men and woman.

They say that America will raise their voices and demand a stop to the war, but my question is why should we not show the results of war? For us as a country, we send these soldiers to war and we see their faces while they are alive. I say let their memories live on in every photo, even when they do come home in a flag drapped coffin. Let their sacrifice be forever etched in the memory of America. We owe their families this at the very least.

All is not okay or right for those of us who return home alive and supposedly well. What looks like normalcy and readjustment is only an illusion to be revealed by time and torment. Some soldiers come home missing limbs and other parts of their bodies. Still others will live with permanent scars from horrific events that no one other than those who served will ever understand.

We come home from war trying to put our lives back togather but some cannot stand the memories and decide that death is better. They kill themselves because they are so haunted by seeing children killed and whole families wiped out.

They ask themselves how you put a price tag on someone elses life? The question goes unanswered as they become another casualty of the war. Heros become another statistic to America and they are another little article relegated to the back of a newspaper.

Still others come home to nothing, families have abandoned them: husbands and wives have left these soldiers, and so have parents as well. Post Tramatic Stress Disorder has become the norm amongst these soldiers because they don't know how to cope with returning to a society that will never understand what they have had to endure to liberate another country.

PTSD comes in many forms not understood by many: but yet if a soldier has it, America thinks the soldiers are crazy. PTSD comes in the form of depression, anger, regret, being confrontational, anxiety, chronic pain, compulsion, delusions, grief, guilt,dependance,loneliness, sleep disorders, suspiciousness/paranoia, low self-esteem and so many other things.

We are easily startled with a loud bang or noise and can be found ducking for cover when we get panicked. This is a result of artillery rounds going off in a combat zone, or an IED blowing up.

I myself have trouble coping with an everyday routine that deals with other people that often causes me to have a short fuse. A lot of soldiers lose multiple jobs just because they are trained to be killers and they have lived in an enviroment that is condusive to that. We are always on guard for our safety and that of our commrades. When you go to bed at night you wonder will you be sent home in a flag draped coffin because a motar round went off on your sleeping area.

Soldiers live in deplorable conditions where burning your own feces is the order of the day. Where going days on end with no shower and the uniform you wear gets so crusty it sometimes sticks to your body becomes a common occurence. We also deal with rationing water or even food for that matter. So when a soldier comes home to what they left they are unsure of what to do being in a civilized world again.

This is what PTSD comes in the shape of--soldiers can not often handle coming back to the same world they left behind. It is something that drives soldiers over the edge and causes them to withdraw from society. As Americans we turn our nose down at them wondering why they act the way they do. Who cares about them, why should we help them?

Talk show hosts like Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and so many others act like they know all about war; then they refuse to give any creadence to soldiers like me who have been to war and seen the brutality of war. These guys are nothing but WEAK SPINELESS COWARDS hiding behind microphones while soldiers come home and are losing everything they have.

I ask every American who reads this e-mail to stand up for the soldier who has given their everything for this country to stand up to these guys in the media; ask them why they don't pick up a weapon and follow in the steps of a soldier. Send this e-mail to as many people on your e-mail lists and ask them to do the same.

There needs to be a National awareness for every Veteran who has ever served in any war. Send e-mails to the Big Mouths on TV and ask them to have soldiers like me on their programs. I am asking you as Americans to BOYCOTT every TV show or host/journalist that refuses to tell the real truth.


Spc Douglas Barber


Anonymous said...

Please say it isn't more life lost to this terrible war.

Cheri said...

That was truly heartbreaking and honestly it has left me speechless. My heart aches for these soldiers. Sadly, the conditions are nothing compared to the nightmares and depression many of them live with after. And Why?

Jerry said...

Unbelievably tragic. His pain is palpable in his words. May God give hope where there is despair.

Anonymous said...

Said to read this! My husband is there in Iraq for the 3rd time! I know the pain, I see it and I feel it. There is help out there for any military returning vet..status post any past and present war. I work at the veteran Services Mental Health Office. there is many many ways to seek help for PTSD or any other mental health disorder from these wars. I run a support group for Operation Iraqi freedom Vets, in every service.. These guys can get great help and compensation for these things... IF ANYONE HAS ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE PROGRAMS... I will forward any and all info no matter what city and state they are in.. this is through out the United States and the ORIF vets have better VA benifits than any other war vet till this day!

Good Luck!
Neely (I am a US Navy vet, that was 8 years with the US Marines...)

My email is

I am glad to help anyone!

muongman said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Julia said...

They say time heals every wound. But it doesn't. If there's a wound than there will be a scar. And this scar will always remind you. You can't heal everything!
I think to believe you can cure Soldiers with PTSD by sending them to "great" mental health programs is quite naive.
You can offer help but sometimes the help simply doesn't come through.
At first the public has to learn what really happens to their men and women. It's their right to know everything about this f.... war. And than maybe there's a chance to help the soldiers because then, maybe, they will be understood.

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing, though i hate starting the day with tears in my eyes...

deborah said...

Post it to your local papers... he has to be heard.

I won't forget you.

Peter V. Bella said...

PTSD is caused by many different things, war included. There is help for any who want it.

Using a "suicide" note to promote anti war sentiment or a mixture of anti war sentiment with support for the troops is shameless pandering.

War is hell. It is organized chaos. It is deprivation, abroad and at home. Soldiers do not go out to fight in the morning and return to the Hilton at night. It has been this way from time immemorial. Every soldier knows this from day one.

Whether this particular war is right or wrong is irrelevant. Most of the soldiers coming home are gong back to their jobs and families. They are assimilating back into society. I know many of them. They are just ordinary people coming home to do ordinary things. This is what we should celebrate.

Freewayblogger said...

What the hell planet are you from where whether a war is right or wrong is irrelevant? Not this one I hope. To the extent that using a sick man's words to describe his illness seems like pandering, my apologies. I suppose I should be trying to persuade people politically by dropping high-explosives on them from airplanes, but I'll stick to the written word for now.

muongman said...

It's outrageous a soldier came home and committed suicide. The man who took his own life even after coming home might as well die on the battlefield--no difference: The war killed him. Soldiers most of the time fight only for his own and his comrades'lives. At moments when looking at death in eyes and swallowed by terror, all idealism and freedom and democracy become utterly irrelevant, the life instinct takes over: I must live!
That said, there is death for a right cause and death for a wrong cause, deaths that are admired and celebrated, and deaths that are a waste. I don't agree that our soldiers in Iraq are dying for a good cause: We don't defend our country and freedom by invading another country halfway around the world that posed no threath to us whatsoever. Sadly, many believe in the state propaganda...deluded...while the war mongers themselves know exactly what they are doing: using others' blood to benefits themslves. A General's fame is built upon the dried bones of thousands of dead bodies.

PTCruiser said...

Horribly tragic and painful to read. Thank you for posting it.

High Power Rocketry said...

Well first of all, this is fake. Made up. A lie.

But even if it were not, or if I was not as gullible as others...

What the hell do I care? Welcome to america. If you have a problem, you have the right to speak out about it. Do a book, try to cash in like other GI grunts. Go for those 15 min of fame.

But suicide, is a deeply selfish act. And frankly I dont care what they have to say at this point. I am against the war, but that doesnt mean I am for these methods. I would say sad, but that would give them something. I would rather say pathetic.


Cynisturbed said...

Take a look here!

Anonymous said...

Any citation on that Alex? I realize FWB didn't provide one either, but I'm more offended by your assholish tone than by the possibility that Spc Douglas Barber's letter is a fake. You come off like a real charmer here - your parents must be so proud.

Jack said...

How "Alex" decided this was fake is something that wasn't shared.
But, as Spec. Barber had corresponded with Newshounds over a year ago, and his story is also being carried in New Zealand news, I'll believe it.
As a Viet Vet, I REALLY resent Alex's attitude. S/he is "against the war", but has little compassion for those forced to fight it.
S/he quickly spouts off with "Suicide is a selfish act!"
No, it's an act of desperation from someone whose mental condition allows for seeing no escape from terrible pain.
I know some of what Douglas Barber had seen, heard, smelled and then dreams of.
It ain't pretty.
And, when people like him are forced into situations they find morally repugnant, frightening and unending (tour after tour, with no end in sight), the mental anguish can be crippling.

I'm about as angry as I've ever been, and having trouble typing with shaking fingers. So I'll sign off.
But, Alex, I hope someday you get to experience a fraction of what Douglas was going through. Maybe then you'll show a little compassion for someone suffering in your stead.

Anonymous said...

I hear ya Jack. I've lost loved ones to suicide and I understand the anger of being left behind, but it's painfully obvious from reading Spc Douglas Barber's post that this poor man was in terrible anguish.

Alex, according to his own stats, is a wet-behind-the-ears lad of 23 and I doubt very much he's experienced much pain in his short pathetic life. I don't like to wish ill on people, but it sounds like Alex would benefit from some such "life experience" before spouting off about shyte that he obviously knows nothing about.

Anonymous said...

Goddamned Shame !

People underestimate the Destructive power of Talk Radio.
Right Wing Talk Radio is mostly regarded as a Nuisance by Americans of normal intelligence.

But, regrettably, RWTR is far worse than merely a Nuisance.

It is much more....and this is a sobering political truth...RWTR has represented the Margin of of "Victory" in the "Republican Revolution" of 1994 and the elections for President of the United States in both 2000 and 2004.

It still amazes me and frustrates me that major companies are not forced to pay a national price for the Lying Filth that they inflict on our national political debate, and the degradation of our political culture that has been the tragic result of their crap.

Limbaugh, Savage, and the rest of 'em are not a Joke !

Nor are the Hundreds of cheap, lying, vermicular life-forms all across the country, slithering over each other in the vipers' pit vying to be the Next Big Snake.

These individuals do not put themselves on the radio.

Executives put them there !

Managers with zero comprehension of the issues, and an unconscionable indifference to the consequences to the country of the bilge they are broadcasting, inflict RWTR on us in a deliberate effort to cultivate the Dumbest possible audience so they can sell more commercials that they hope will induce their credulous listeners to buy moronic "products".

After all...if these "Americans" will take Rush seriously, then they will buy these bogus "investment" schemes and Penis Pills too.

The Netroots have been planted and they will blossom and they will be helpful. But they attract an esoteric group of people with well developed critical faculties.

RWTR attracts a MASS AUDIENCE of people who may not have a specific interest in issues or the background knowledge from which to carefully evaluate the merits of the message of Rush etc.

So these people are susceptible en masse to the Rush Crap and they then vote after being hyped up by his superficial PR oriented, and Frank Luntz Focus-Grouped, call to arms.

And this is, of course, the routine with the other national RWTR "hosts", as well as all the local mice in all the cities of all the states feeding themselves to try to be the next Big Rat !

The Bottom Line for the restoration of sanity and decency to America's political discussion, is that low-brow, and relentless mendacious RWTR must be thoroughly and righteously Discredited for the pernicious social and political toxin that is, and has been, since Newt Gingrich realized its potential to manipulate masses of people back in 1994.

RWTR is Immense in America, and we will not rescue our civic morals unless it is forcefully and relentlessly challenged and ultimately and condignly exposed and impugned.

Jay Diamond

Anonymous said...

It can't hurt to ask for a link for proof of death, which would indeed be very sad.


- Temple

Freewayblogger said...

Joe said...


Anonymous said...

As a Vietnam combat veteran, I can tell you this is the tip of the iceberg. Without help, this war will kill and destroy lives of those who serve for years to come. A free source of help for these new vets is my site:

Phoenician in a time of Romans said...

Inside that coffin is the body of a man or woman who will never get to live their life to the fullest, yet they bore the total cost so that we could live free.

The sad thing is that this isn't true. It may be a justification for the dirty job of being a soldier, the only real justification, but in this case it isn't true.

Your casualties in this war did not die to keep America free. THAT is the betrayal.

Jeff McDonald said...

"Lies = Impeach", how about that?

Jeff McDonald said...

or maybe, "law breaking presidents = impeached presidents"

quixote said...

(There's nothing to say that hasn't already been said. So much grief. For nothing. I just wanted to pay my respects.)

Anonymous said...

An in-law committed suicide last year, he was a 'nam veteran.

Started coming up with health problems, exposures, and blue collar injuries.

They were left behind the minute they signed up. Such has been thew Pentagon's policy.

This generation will see the same. They don't even want to pay life insurance for soldiers whop wear their own purchaes body armor.

Tell the spooks "hi" while you're at it. They watch here...


Anonymous said...

Jesus, reading that fucked me up.

Thanx to "Jack" for the backup on the note. Good work,dude.

Soldiers are the essential American citizen. Not more important than other people, but far more passionate about their country and people.

PTSD is eating some of us alive from the inside out. The form I suffer is very mild, but I could do without it.

Most are not so lucky, especially those from this war (with respect to Vietnam Vets and others). A soldier has no choice but to trust the judgment of their Commander, yet they are only just now finding out how badly BushCo lied and used them as murder weapons. It's not their fault, it's his. But they are the ones that have to live with the panoramic view of hell that combat really is.

Active duty personell, you are what makes this country great. You are there, 24/7, to defend us without hesitation or question. I thank God that I'm lucky enough to be your fellow soldier and countryman.

Do your best. Try, as I know you are, to touch the lives of the average Iraqi in a positive way. we're going to get you home whether Bush and his brood of draft dodgers like it or not.

CK 11-B 4P 101st 82-85

BuffyTFS said...

In this war in particular, you are a mighty soldier while you are fighting, a hero if you come home in a flag-draped coffin, but simply a burden if you come home injured or mentally damaged. Bush and his Administration extol the virtues of "Supporting the Troops". However they provide little or no aftercare to those suffering from physical disabilities or, in particular, mental disorders such as PTSD, depression and Traumatic Brain Injury. Individuals with these disorders are routinely denied treatment, treated as if they are faking and even left completely without benefits.

In the meantime, they can lose their friends and family, making them more vulnerable to feelings of loneliness and desperation, and thoughts of suicide. Anyone who thinks suicide is a selfish act obviously does not understand it in the least.

Anonymous said...

my younger brother took his life w/ a shotgun in ' was a very violent act indexed to finacial woes. my family has been forever changed, and not for the better. the issue of suicide as victim or martyr can be debated all day long, but certainly not from the angle of cowardice. if it was so easy to do, people would be dropping like flies. n o my friends, it takes balls to take your own life...w/ a touch of insanity for good measure. no person in their right mind takes their own's counter intuitive.

my heart cries out for this latest victim of bushco's illegal ill-conceived excursion into revenge and nation/legacy building. may his family find some closure soon.

the irony is that the military awards it's highest medals for bravery to those who die on "suicide missions" or to soldiers or marines who toss themselves on top of a grenade to save the lives of their brothers. if this troop in question had done so in theatre on duty he would be propoganda fodder...look at the tillman case. if he saw his death and the subsequent controversy over his suicide note as a messianic act designed to help others, there's little we can ever do to understand the mindset. it takes balls to die for what you believe in....even more so to die for something you DON'T believe in. it's obvious from his tortured rhetoric that there are a lot of troops now questioning the "war" and it's ultimate "goal". much like the infamous football lucy uses to fool charlie, our ever morphing definition of victory does not bode well for our occupation forces.

a suicide to save others is not dis-honorable, no matter how warped the mindset of the vitim/perp. like i said, only an insane person takes their own life...

Anonymous said...

Here's what we posted yesterday in memory of Douglas Barber. It includes a link to an mp3 of a radio interview he did last month.

High Power Rocketry said...

You spend the first part of a post talking about chain letters and scams, then you go on to hand out one of your own.

Sorry for my assholish tone, but I have something called a brain with which I filter the BS from the truth. And this is a BS story. Prove it is real (rather than one of millions of chain letters) and I stand corrected.

Remember, the one making the statement (the incredible statement at that, one that centers on him or her no less) has the burden of proof. Not the guy suggesting that it doesnt add up. Like UFOs. Am I an asshole for suggesting that UFOs are BS? Or are you, for not proving it worth a damn in the first place.


Anonymous said...

Alex, had you bothered to follow the link supplied by FWB above ( you would have found the proof you seem to so desparately need. Instead you just offered further proof of your own idiocy and uselessness. I do hope you find some purpose in life other than being an asshole - we have enough of those already.

Anonymous said...

hmmm... You ever seen a soldier cry? Not that single tear sliding down but the nasty snot bubbly, choked sobbs crying when the universe grabs your sould and drags it through whatever Hells you thought were in the past and buried.

Nothing like having to hold a squadmate lying drunk and naked on the couch in his room in the barracks while he cried in that gut wrenching way that shows how deep the scars are, saying again and again how he could hear them screaming... the kids screaming... the kids dying.

Four hours, six hours, I can't remember how long I sat there crying along side him.

formerly Specialist D.
Combat Engineer, Charlie Company 54th ENG BN Bamberg Germany

john_m_burt said...

This is truly appalling. And not al all surprising.

Alex, feel free to apologize any time now.

Anonymous said...

Desi linked this story, so I posted my comment there first. I hope you don't mind me cross-posting my comment here too. - John

As painful as it was to read that, I still thank you from the bottom of my heart for passing this story along to us.

I'm a regular commenter at Jesus' General's website, and because of him I became aware of your blog. I stop here often but never leave a comment. I felt so moved by this story that I had to break my silence.

Within the past 24 hours the General has posted one of his funniest works ever. Being one of the General's fans and his friend I'm sure you also see how brilliant his most recent oeuvre is. I laughed until I almost literally fell out of my chair. Now I read this post, and I'm at the polar opposite end of the emotional spectrum. I know people who've had their lives shattered because of this war. Having lost my fiancee to leukemia three years ago I also know what it's like to lose someone whom you love with all your heart. To say that life is cruel is an understatement, but to blithely say that "War is hell", or "We're at war, and soldiers die in war", is a CRIME. In 2004 most people knew that the Iraq war was based on lies, yet the majority of American voters re-elected that blood-thirsty killer to the highest office in the land, allowing him to continue his killing spree. Our elected representatives also know about all the lies, yet refuse to reign in that maniac in the White House. These are the CRIMES to which I am referring. Anyone who knew that this whole atrocity was based on lies yet chose to re-elect this psycho has blood on their hands. Any congressman who chose to preserve his or her career by not rocking the boat over preserving the lives of soldiers and Iraqi civilians is just as guilty, if not more so.

I know I don't have the right to judge others; Lord knows I'm far from perfect. So all I can do to channel this anger at this moment is to ask God to have mercy on the souls of these criminals. If it were up to me they would be damned.

oscar wilde said...

Suicide in the Trenches

I knew a simple soldier boy
Who grinned at life in empty joy,
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.

In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again.

You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you'll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.

Siegfried Sassoon.
was a returning English soldier from the Great War, written in 1918.
It could have been written yesterday.

EconAtheist said...

Hey "Middle Class Guy" -

I work at a VA hospital and can tell you that a boatload of ~very young~ veterans are *not* assimilating back into society.

Are the lessons of Vietnam lost on you?

And as far a shame is concerned, your "Whether this particular war is right or wrong is irrelevant." statement is shameful.

StealthBadger said...

I've also been to Walter Reed, and what's amazing is the difference between Ward 54 (for patients suffering from mental illness) and the rest of the hospital. For some reason, ward 54 receives very few visitors... which worries me. It's as if those injured in body are more acceptable than those injured in spirit - when all of them are injured inside, where you can't see it.

Don't worry about the patients inside WRAMC medically, they're doing fine. Do send them a letter, or drop by if you can. Don't talk politics, don't talk about Bush, don't talk about any of that. It's not necessary or appropriate when someone is trying to put themselves back together. Let them heal before you start talking about what's important to you. But do talk with them as human beings, it will help them heal in countless ways.

The people who really need help are the discharged veterans, especially the ones talked about here who are having trouble integrating into society. They're the ones that are being failed, and who have a lot to teach us about the nature of war. I suspect if we listened to them more, we'd have a lot less to say about the possible benefits of invading other countries, but that's just me - I suspect we won't know until their voices are more valued.

Anonymous said...


I assure you that Douglas A. Barber, my brother, took his life on the 16th of January 2006 at about 2:50pm. I can't believe that you are on here requesting proof and just to read how rude you are being is making this worse. I would like to remind you that if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the last anonymous considering that anonymous person and Doug Barber is our blood brother. You can say all you want about my brother being a fake. My brother served for his country and lost his life to PTSD because he did not get the help he needed. I am sorry but not just because of war that he lost his life, it's because we just lost our father 3 weeks prior to Doug committing suicide. I just spent a week with my brother in Florida trying to help him with dealing with the lost but the pain was too much to bare and then also dealing with the war.
I love my brother very much and miss him more than anyone can imagine.
If you have not walked in his shoes then you need to shut up because you did not personally know him like I did to make any spupid comments about him being fake.
You have a problem with my brother and he can't defend himself now then come and deal with me because I will refuse to allow anyone to put a man of God and a Soldier of our country down.

Freewayblogger said...

Dear Doug’s Brother,
When Doug wrote to me I wrote back and tried to describe more fully the advantages of free speech by public signposting. The same people he named – the O’Reillys, Limbaughs and Hannitys – were the ones that inspired me to start speaking out. And knowing that millions of people were listening to them for hours a day, every day… it just made me sick inside, and that’s what made me try to reach as many people as possible. That the political discourse of this nation… some 300 million people, be so monopolized by this handful of assholes, banging the drums for a war they themselves would never have the guts to fight, or even witness… making in an hour or two what your brother and the other kids fighting over there would make in a year… I can’t even begin to describe how wrong it all is.

When you’re up to it drop me a line and I’ll make some memorials for Doug over the freeways out here. I can’t promise it’ll help things in any way, except that a million people will know his name and that he gave his life in service to this country.

Anonymous said...

Just a clarification, I am his sister. He does not have any living brothers. I am the last sibling alive.

Anonymous said...

Please everyone, I apreciate everyone for their comments good or bad but please remember my brother my hero Specialist Douglas Barber on January 28th as we lay him to rest.

Jay Shaft- CFTM EDITOR said...



I don't know what kind of shit your smoking but Doug left behind over 15 HOURS of audio taped interview.
How do I know this? Well I am the one who taped it and wrote his first interview. I also helped him to edit all his postings and published articles.
Thy this for a link and also listen to the audio.


To hear the interview with Doug Basham go to

I think you are the one who is fake Alex or R2K.

Is the truth and hard facts that scary that you can't accept it?


Anonymous said...

Well said Jay. Thank you.

lefty luthier said...

I was searching for something about soldiers assimilating back into society because I had this thought that because the US seems to always have a military conflict on the burner, there is a steady stream of combat veterans moving back into civilian life.

As examples; Eisenhower Korea, JFK Bay of Pigs, Johnson Vietnam, Nixon Vietnam, Carter Iran, Reagan Panama, etc. (Reagan was the master of the bluff. He won the cold war peacefully.), Bush I Desert Storm, Clinton Bosnia, Bush II Afghanistan & Iraq. All of our Presidents wage war at some level!
What effect does that have on our society to have a steady stream of soldiers who know war becoming civilians?
In the present political arena we have John Murtha, John Kerry, Colin Powell, and John McCain as high profile examples of people who successfully assimilated. They are not the same in their opinions and attitudes, but how has their military experiences shaped their characters? How do the thousands of combat veterans in our society shape who we are?

What is it about the USA that we are a warrior society?

Sorry for the guy who killed himself. He's one who didn't make it even when he made it back home.

In many places in our Civilian society, there is constant war with casualties higher than the military campaigns. How do these people who survive this war assimilate into peaceful society when they are in our society already?