Body Bagging… ever heard the term? Soldiers in the Marine Corps’ Mortuary Affairs unit at Camp Al Taqaddum, Iraq, are given this job… of collecting and cataloging the bodies of dead marines. They sift through the remains of the soldiers, from prom photos to suicide notes and love letters — and put their remains and effects into bags, metal boxes and refrigerators. (clarify please – are you talking about their physical remains/bodies and their effects – ie. photos, etc. or both?) One soldier, Jess Goodell, recounts a marine brought into the unit still breathing. She frantically called to her superiors, to which they simply replied, “wait.” She watched while he died. When she returned to the US, Goodell like many others, was diagnosed with deep depression, substance abuse, PTSD and anxiety.
For the second year (2010) in a row, more US soldiers killed themselves (468) than died in combat (462). “If you… know the one thing that causes people to commit suicide, please let us know,” General Peter Chiarelli told the Army Times, “because we don’t know.” Suicide is a tragic but predictable human reaction to being asked to kill – and watch your friends be killed – for a war based on lies. Perhaps being forced to bag the mangled flesh of fellow soldiers could be another reason why some are committing suicide.
“Death and After in Iraq”, Chris Hedges. March 21, 2011. Truthdig
“More US Soldiers Killed Themselves Than Died in Combat in 2010”, Cord Jefferson. January 27, 2011.
“Can You Face the True Consequences of War? The Horror of Bagging Soldiers’ Bodies in Iraq”, Chris Hedges. March 21, 2011.
“Ten Reasons the Iraq War Was No Cakewalk,” Medea Benjamin and Charles Davis, March 18, 2011
Student Researcher: Bay Ewald, San Francisco State University
Faculty Evaluator: Kenn Burrows, San Francisco State University