Army Specialist and Iraq war veteran Marc Hall was incarcerated by the U.S. Army in Georgia for recording a song that expresses his anger over the Army's stop-loss policy. Now he waits to be shipped to Iraq to face a court martial.
With a military health care system over-stretched by two ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, more soldiers are deciding to go absent without leave (AWOL) in order to find treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Kernan Manion, a psychiatrist who was hired last January to treat Marines returning from war who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other acute mental health problems borne from their deployments, fears more soldier-on-soldier violence without radical changes in the current soldier health care system.
According to a soldiers' advocacy group at Fort Hood, the U.S. base where an army psychiatrist has been charged with killing 13 people and wounding 30 in a Nov. 5 rampage, the official suicide figures provided by the Army are "definitely" too low.
U.S. Army Specialist Alexis Hutchinson, a single mother, is being threatened with a military court-martial if she does not agree to deploy to Afghanistan, despite having been told she would be granted extra time to find someone to care for her 11-month-old son while she is overseas.
While investigators probe for a motive behind the mass shooting at the Fort Hood military base in Texas Thursday, in which an army psychiatrist is suspected of killing 13 people, military personnel at the base are in shock as the incident "brings the war home".
"It’s a matter of what I’m willing to live with," Specialist Victor Agosto of the U.S. Army, who is refusing orders to deploy to Afghanistan, explained to IPS. "I’m not willing to participate in this occupation, knowing it is completely wrong."
Sexual assault of women serving in the U.S. military, while brought to light in recent reports, has a long tradition in that institution.
Prompt medical care is at last on offer in Iraq, for those who can find the dollars for it.
Seventy percent of Iraq's doctors are reported to have fled the war-torn country in the face of death threats and kidnappings. Those who remain live in fear, often in conditions close to house arrest.
"We only want a normal life," says Um Qasim, sitting in a bombed out building in Baghdad. She and others around have been saying that for years.
There is less water now in the Tigris, and it is less clean. The river has fewer fish, and rising fuel and other costs mean they are more costly to catch. It's not, as Hamza Majit finds, a good time to be a fisher.
Amidst the soaring unemployment in Iraq, the gravediggers have been busy. So busy that officials have no record of the number of graves dug; of the real death toll, that is.
After strong polling for the provincial elections Saturday, Iraqis are looking out for new signposts of political recovery from the U.S.-led invasion and occupation.
The threat of violence hangs over Fallujah again as leaders of the Awakening Council fight for political power through the elections Jan. 31.
Uncertainty and tension are running high in Baghdad ahead of the provincial election due Jan. 31. But this time fears are also touched by a new hope.
"But the [George W.] Bush administration was never seriously interested in helping veterans. The sorry state of care for Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans is not an accident. It's on purpose."
A nurse at Baquba General Hospital asked Ahmed Ali, who co-authored this report, for a bribe to look after his sick baby. It was hardly an exceptional demand. Patients around Iraq have begun commonly to speak of the need to bribe medical staff to get some form of care.
Artist Jim Lommasson hates war. His exhibit of 1,500 photographs, taken by soldiers who served in Iraq, brings the war home to the United States, in a way he hopes will help bring it to an end.
Veterans from the U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, along with Iraqis, Afghanis, Vietnam veterans, and family members of U.S. military personnel converged in this west coast city over the weekend to share stories of atrocities being committed daily in Iraq, in a continuation of the "Winter Soldier" hearings held in Silver Spring, Maryland in March.
Not even the elevators work now at Baghdad Medical City, built once as the centre for some of the best medical care.