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Friday, March 21, 2014

The Soldier Who Killed Herself After Refusing to Take Part in Torture

The blood on the hands of Bush, Cheney and so many others (including certain members of the media) in the Iraq war, which began 11 years ago this week,  comes not just from soldiers and civilians killed in action but the many, many soldier suicides, in the war zone and back at home.  Recent reports find high levels remain, even with no U.S. fighting in Iraq and declining combat in Afghanistan.   For years I wrote about the suicides almost every week (when no one else was doing this).

But one of the most most wrenching stories concerned Spc. Alyssa Peterson, 27.  She was one of the first female soldiers to die in that conflict.  It was an unusually tough loss for U.S. forces there, as she was one of the few Arabic-speaking interrogators. She had been killed by a bullet from a rifle.  A daily occurrence for U.S. soldiers in Iraq then, but in this case the rifle was her own.

She had committed suicide after refusing to take part in torture. Naturally, a cover-up followed.

I was the first national reporter to write about her case, after a local radio newsman uncovered it.  I've updated it since and wherever I write about it the articles draw wide readership and comments.   Here's my most recent piece, from The Nation four years ago.  She was also featured in my new e-book on the war, So Wrong for So Long.

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