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During a job interview with Long Island Bus, Marine Corps veteran Tireak Tulloch, who had done two tours in Iraq, recalled the senior manager commenting, “You have a lot of experience. This is an entry-level job.”
After a six-month job search that began in 2005, Tulloch, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was in no mood to be picky. While he was the equivalent of a network engineer in the Marines, he did not have the credentialing for the same job in civilian life.
While overall veteran unemployment has historically been lower than the national average, the unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans has been considerably worse than for those who didn’t serve in the armed forces — climbing to 10.1 percent for September, compared to the national unemployment rate of 7.2 percent. Overall veteran unemployment — not just for post-9/11 vets — was 6.3 percent for September.
In August, the overall unemployment rate was 7.3 percent, 6.2 percent for all veterans and 10 percent for post-9/11 veterans.
On the plus side for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, those who are employed tend to earn more, according to a March study by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University. “However, these same young veterans have higher rates of unemployment compared to their non-veteran counterparts,” the study stated.
A key reason has been credentialing requirements – something 44 states have addressed since 2010 by applying qualifications veterans already have the skills for, and avoiding duplication of training, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. This year alone, 31 states enacted laws to expedite licensing and certification process for veterans to reflect their extensive training and experience in various fields such as health care, information technology, commercial transportation and mechanics.
The only states not to have enacted laws, based on NCSL information, are Delaware, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio and Vermont. Proposals in Delaware, Minnesota, Nebraska and Nevada state legislatures to streamline commercial driver’s licenses for veterans died. Meanwhile, legislation in the Nebraska to expedite the licensing process for emergency medical technicians and licensed practical nurses also failed.
Sgt. Tulloch was a tactical data network systems specialist in the Marines. Though he had the training and experience in the military to be a network engineer, he didn’t have the certification for it in civilian life.
“My struggle was not as tough as some,” Tulloch told TheBlaze. “The Marine Corps trained me but I didn’t have the certification the HR people are looking for.”
At the beginning of 2013, about 252,000 post-9/11 veterans were unemployed, according to a report by the President’s Council of Economic Advisoes released in February. Every year, between 240,000 and 360,000 service members go into civilian life, “and as we draw down from the war in Afghanistan, the military is expected to separate a million service members over the next several years,” the CEA report stated.
The unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans was above the average for veterans and national average for 16 consecutive quarters, according to a report released in October 2012 by the Congressional Research Service. The report found that veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq had an average unemployment rate of 10.7 percent from 2008 to 2012. That’s compared to 7.4 percent among veterans for the four years and 8.7 percent among non veterans.
The military trains people for 206 different occupations in varying fields from medical, information technology, welding, mechanics, and transportation, said Ted Daywait, the CEO and founder of the online veterans jobs board VetJobs.com.
The problem is that there is a tangled web of about 3,700 different laws and regulations at the federal, state, county and municipal level regarding the licensing process, Daywait told TheBlaze.
In July 2012, Congress passed the Veterans Skills to Jobs Act with broad bipartisan support. The bill was sponsored by Reps. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), and Tim Waltz (D-Minn.) and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and was signed into law by President Barack Obama. But the law is limited only to federal department and agencies.
Under the law, rather than going through redundant training for jobs they were already trained in while serving in the military, it directs the head of each department and agency to treat military training as sufficient to satisfy certification requirements for a federal license.
The Obama administration has also promoted the “Joining Forces” initiatives, to work with companies in promoting veterans employment.
“The administration has aggressively been involved in an effort to represent our armed forces,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told TheBlaze. “Joining Forces has been encouraging and involved in working with companies interested in hiring veterans. That’s been a top priority of the administration.”
Meanwhile, the Department of Defense established a Military Credentialing and Licensing Task Force to help with the issue of credentialing. It has focused on expanding certifications for manufacturing, welding, and engineering as well as medical fields.
“A lot in Congress understand the challenges service members have in transitioning out. The federal government has done a fairly decent job for federal and disabled veterans,” Mark Walker, an Air Force veteran and now deputy director of the national economic division of the American Legion, told TheBlaze. “But the federal government makes up about 15 percent of jobs and about 85 percent are in the private sector.”
While licensing is something that the American Legion began advocating in 1997, only in recent years has it prompted strong reaction in Congress and so many state legislatures, which Walker credits to the large number of veterans entering the job market.
“It’s a waste of taxpayer money to spend millions training them in the service and then spend millions more training them with the same skills out of the services,” Walker said. “No one wants a gap in skills that could lead to a safety hazard. That can be addressed with minimal additional training, or a written test.”
The NCSL figures show that 44 states have passed news laws to help veterans apply their skills from 2010 to 2013. A further analysis by the office of Rep. Denham, co-sponsor of the federal legislation, breaks down what states have taken action of specific occupations during the legislative years of 2012 and 2013.
States that enacted laws allowing military veterans to apply their medical training and experience toward certification as an emergency medical technician are Alabama, Alaska, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming, according to the state-by-state breakdown from Denham’s office.
In 2012, there were more than 75,000 military medics, with about 10,000 leaving the service that year, according to the White House CEA report. Demand for EMTs and paramedics will increase by 33 percent by 2020, according to the Labor Department. Army medics are already required to pass the EMT national certifications; Air Force medics are not. Most states have additional requirements on top of the national EMT certification. The Defense Department is working to line up some of the training requirements to comply with states. Further, the military also provides training for licensed practical nurses and physicians assistants, but at a lower number.
States that enacted laws allowing military veterans to apply their military medical experience toward certification to be a licensed practical nurse are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming, according to Denham’s office.
States that enacted laws applying military experience for commercial drivers licenses and bus driver licenses for veterans who had a record of safe driving of large military vehicles are Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Rhode Island, West Virginia and Wyoming.
This is significant because in 2012, more than 22,000 members of the armed services were in truck driving military occupations, and almost 10,000 of them left the military, according to the White House CEA report. Demand for commercial drivers licenses for trucks and busses will increase by 17.1 percent, or about 300,000 jobs, by 2020, according to the Department of Labor.
Tulloch has remained active with Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, which held its own job fair in New York last month. As an activist for helping post-9/11 veterans transition back into civilian life, he was also featured in a White House video in November 2011 on the subject of White House initiatives for employing more veterans.
He began his entry-level job with Long Island Bus as a personal computer technician, and was twice promoted, first to a network specialist, then two a network engineer, the equivalent to the position he held in the Marines. In 2009, he took another job with Long Island Railroad as a network engineer.
He explained that veterans by their work ethic are worth an employer taking a chance on.
“Part of the work ethic comes from the Marine Corps,” Tulloch told TheBlaze. “There is no more high pressure environment than a combat zone.”
Other must read stories:
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Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski
BAGHDAD (AP) — A dozen children killed when a suicide bomber detonated the explosives-laden car he was driving near their elementary school in the north of the country Sunday, officials said.
A total of 33 were killed in Sunday’s blasts, officials said.
Added to the 75 killed in Saturday’s attacks, the weekend death toll in Iraq has passed 100.
The attacks are the latest in a relentless wave of killing that has made for Iraq’s deadliest outburst of violence since 2008. The mounting death tolls are raising fears that the country is falling back into the spiral of violence that brought it to the edge of civil war in the years after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
Sunday’s blasts began around 9:30 a.m. in the Shiite Turkomen village of Qabak, just outside the town of Tal Afar. The area around the stricken village has long been a hotbed for hard-to-rout Sunni insurgents and a corridor for extremist fighters arriving from nearby Syria.
One car bomb in the tiny village targeted an elementary school while children ages 6 to 12 were in class as another struck a nearby police station, Tal Afar mayor Abdul Aal al-Obeidi said.
The dead included 12 children, the school principal and two policemen. Another 90 people were wounded, he said.
The village is home to only about 200 residents, and part of the single-story school collapsed as a result of the blast, he said. Tal Afar is 260 miles northwest of Baghdad.
“We and Iraq are plagued by Al Qaeda,” al-Obeidi said. “It’s a tragedy. These innocent children were here to study. What sins did these children commit?”
Another suicide bomber, this time on foot, blew himself up hours later as Shiite pilgrims walked through the largely Sunni neighborhood of Waziriyah in the north of the Iraqi capital.
At least 12 people were killed and 23 wounded in that attack, according to police and hospital officials.
It was the second time in less than 24 hours that a suicide bomber managed to thwart security checkpoints and target Shiite pilgrims making their way to a golden-domed shrine in northern Baghdad where two revered Shiite saints are buried.
A suicide bombing in the largely Sunni neighborhood of Azamiyah, not far from the site of Sunday’s attack, late Saturday killed 51, authorities said as they revised the death toll upward. That and other attacks Saturday left a total of 75 dead, including two television journalists shot on the job.
Later Sunday, a bomb hidden in a parking lot exploded in Baghdad al-Jadidah, a district in the east of the Iraqi capital that has both Sunni and Shiite areas. That blast killed six and wounded 12, according to police and hospital officials.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the latest attacks, but suicide bombers and car bombs are frequently used by Al Qaeda’s Iraq branch. It often targets Shiite civilians in an effort to undermine the Shiite-led government. Its extremist ideology considers Shiites heretics.
The police and hospital officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to brief reporters.
United Nations figures released last week showed that at least 979 people, most of them civilians, were killed last month alone. At least 135 have died violently since the start of October, according to an Associated Press count.
Here’s a report on the latest violence in Iraq from BBC News via YouTube:
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Oliver Willis is very liberal, and that of course is his right. But he can’t really believe Karl Rove was happy about U.S. soldiers’ deaths in Iraq, can he?
Willis is digging in:
cons in such a bubble, anytime someone has an opinion outside the approved ones it rattles their cages so much. lol.—
Oliver Willis (@owillis) September 08, 2013
Vile or just deranged? You be the judge.
Secretary of State John Kerry famously was for the Iraq War before he was against it, but in taking his case for military action against Syria to MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes” Thursday night, it certainly sounded like he remembers things differently from the rest of America.
Didn’t we untangle all of this in 2004? Apparently not.
Apparently not only was Kerry against the Iraq War funding before against, but now he was for the war before he's against. (Confused)—
(@emptywheel) September 06, 2013
Kerry claims both he & Hagel "opposed the president’s decision to go into Iraq"—except they both voted for it? #lies tv.msnbc.com/2013/09/05/thi…—
Shereen ◆ شيرين شفيع (@shereenTshafi) September 06, 2013
For some reason, John Kerry thinks he voted against authorizing George W. Bush to invade and occupy Iraq. Which is strange, since he didn't.—
Nima Shirazi (@WideAsleepNima) September 06, 2013
MSNBC has posted a transcript of the interview, and Kerry makes no mention of his vote to authorize military action in Iraq. Instead, he refers to the good old days when he and Chuck Hagel “opposed the president’s decision to go into Iraq.”
Apparently, John Kerry opposed invading Iraq, but he couldn't persuade his treacherous hand to vote against it.—
Gen JC Christian (@JC_Christian) September 06, 2013
BAGHDAD (AP) — A wave of bombings, mainly targeting markets in and near Baghdad, killed 36 people on Tuesday, officials said, the latest in a surge of violence that has gripped Iraq.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, meanwhile, vowed to defeat “terrorists” behind the relentless attacks and chase them out of the battered country.
Violence has been on the rise across Iraq following a deadly crackdown by government forces on a Sunni protest camp in April but attacks against civilians and security forces have especially spiked since the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in early July.
The uptick in the bloodshed has raised fears of a return to the widespread killing that pushed the country to the brink of civil war after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
The deadliest among Tuesday’s attacks came before sunset, when a car bomb exploded near a market in Baghdad’s southeastern suburbs of Nahrwan, police officials said. That attack killed six people and wounded 17.
Later, a car bomb went off in a busy market in Baghdad’s downtown neighborhood of Karradah, killing five people and wounding 18.
At night, a car bomb hit near a cafe in the city’s northeastern suburb of Husseiniyah, killing five people and wounding 15. Minutes later, another car bomb exploded in Husseiniyah, killing three people and wounding 10.
Isam Mohammed, the owner of a pharmacy near the site of the bombing in Karradah, said he was talking to a customer when he heard a big explosion.
“I fell to the floor because of the powerful blast. Seconds later, I stood up and went outside to see dead bodies and wounded people asking for help. The scene was shocking,” said Mohammed, who was wounded slightly in the head.
He blamed al-Maliki’s Shiite-led government and the security forces for the continuing security setback in the country.
“Government officials have only fortified the places where they and their families live,” he said. “They forget about the ordinary people who are being killed all the time.”
In southeastern Baghdad, a car bomb went off near an outdoor market in the Shiite neighborhood of Zafaraniyah as people were shopping before iftar, the evening meal that beaks the daytime fasting during Ramadan. Three people were killed and 10 were wounded there, officials said.
Also, a bombing in a commercial street in the Dora area in southern Baghdad killed four and wounded 11. Police said another car bomb exploded near a market before sundown in southwestern Baghdad, killing five people and wounding 15.
Also, a car bomb exploded late Monday night near an ice cream shop in the Abu Dashir area in southwestern Baghdad, killing five people and wounding 16.
Medical officials confirmed the casualty figures for all attacks. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
Popular outdoor places such as cafes and markets have been a favorite target for insurgents.
Earlier on Tuesday, al-Maliki inspected military units near the Iraqi capital. According to a statement on his official website, al-Maliki said the Iraqi forces would “continue chasing the terrorists until they are eliminated from Iraq.”
With Tuesday’s deaths, at least 657 people have been killed since the start of Ramadan, according to an Associated Press count, making it the bloodiest Ramadan in Iraq since 2007.
A car bomb in a pro-regime district near the Syrian capital killed at least 18 people on Tuesday while rebels captured a major air base in the north and swept through a string of villages in the heartland of President Bashar Assad’s minority Alawite sect in the west.
The push by the opposition fighters is shaping up to be one of their strongest campaigns against government forces, which have recently captured significant territory in central Syria.
The powerful car bomb struck in Damascus’ suburb of Jaramana late on Tuesday, killing 18 and setting several buildings and many cars on fire, the state-run SANA news agency said. Syrian state TV footage showed firefighters battling the blaze as residents stared in disbelief amid debris and mangled cars.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. Rebels fighting to oust Assad have frequently targeted areas where regime supporters and members of the government and security forces live. Rebel groups linked to al-Qaida have claimed some of the deadliest car bombings and suicide attacks in the capital and beyond.
In the north, rebels captured a major air base, depriving Assad’s forces of a main post near the border with Turkey and opening up a key road for supplies for their fighters from the neighboring country.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said members of the al-Qaida-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant led the battle for the Mannagh helicopter base.
After months of trying to take it, the rebels launched an all-out offensive on Monday, when a Saudi suicide attacker blew up his vehicle outside the command center, the Observatory said. They captured the sprawling compound before dawn Tuesday, according to another activist group, the Aleppo Media Center.
State media denied the base had fallen, and SANA said the nation’s “armed forces are confronting terrorists with great courage” inside the base. Assad’s regime refers to opposition fighters as terrorists, claiming they are part of conspiracy by the West and Gulf Arab countries like Saudi Arabia to destroy Syria.
At least 10 rebels, including foreign fighters were killed in the fighting, according to the Observatory, which also said rebels had taken prisoner a number of government troops. It did not say how many soldiers died in the fighting.
Rebel victories have been comparatively rare in recent months, and Assad’s forces have been on the offensive in central Syria.
Mannagh, in the northern Aleppo province, is deep inside territory dominated by the Syrian opposition. Rebels have been trying since last year to capture it, but faced strong resistance.
Rebels seized a part of the base in June, and since then, its fall had been widely expected. It’s the largest base to fall to the rebels since opposition forces captured the Taftanaz base in the northern province of Idlib in January.
Syria’s main opposition bloc, the Western-backed Syrian National Coalition, hailed the capture of the base, saying rebels “fully liberated the Mannagh air base and will transfer it from a regime tool for oppression to a minaret of liberation.”
Amateur videos released by activists showed damaged helicopters and rebels walking inside the base. A few tanks and armored personnel carriers could also be seen. “Thanks to God, the airport was fully liberated and here are the spoils,” a narrator said as several rebels posed in front of an APC and green wooden ammunition boxes. The videos appeared genuine and corresponded to other Associated Press reporting on the events depicted.
The capture of Mannagh could now free hundreds of opposition fighters to reinforce other fronts, including the sieges of the nearby Shiite-majority towns of Nubul and Zahra, which are in regime hands.
Syria’s conflict has taken on an increasingly sectarian tone in the last year, pitting predominantly Sunni Muslim rebels against members of Assad’s Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.
In the predominantly Alawite province of Latakia on the Mediterranean coast, the rebels captured 11 villages, edging closer to Assad’s ancestral home in the region, the village of Qardaha.
The opposition’s gains in Latakia, an Alawite stronghold that has been peaceful for much of the Syrian conflict, is a symbolic blow to the regime and a boost to the rebels.
But those gains have been overshadowed by reports from activists that more than 80 people were killed in two of the villages overran by opposition fighters. The activists spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals. If confirmed, the slayings will likely deepen Syria’s sectarian strife.
Syria’s crisis started as largely peaceful uprising against Assad’s rule in March 2011 but turned into a civil war after opposition supporters took up arms to fight a brutal government crackdown. More than 100,000 people have been killed in the violence.
The SNC on Tuesday accused the government of carrying out several “massacres” during the holy month of Ramadan alone, killing hundreds of civilians.
The Observatory reported heavy fighting in Latakia throughout Tuesday while SANA said the army launched a counter-offensive and by evening, recaptured two villages. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
Also Tuesday, pro-government daily Al-Watan said rebel kidnapped Sheik Badreddine Ghazal, a prominent Alawite cleric in Latakia region. The paper said he was taken Monday from the village of Barouda, one of those captured by earlier rebels.
A government official in Damascus confirmed Ghazal’s abduction saying the cleric was “severely beaten” by his captors. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, did not give further details.
Read more stories from TheBlaze
Daniel Somers was a 30-year-old veteran who served during Operation Iraqi Freedom and earlier this month committed suicide.
According to Gawker, Somers was first part of a Tactical Human-Intelligence Team involved in interviewing Iraqi citizens and interrogating insurgents. He later ran the Northern Iraq Intelligence Center and was a senior analyst.
He also suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and other effects of war.
With the permission of Somer’s family, Gawker received and published the letter the veteran left before taking his own life on June 10.
These are his words:
I am sorry that it has come to this.
The fact is, for as long as I can remember my motivation for getting up every day has been so that you would not have to bury me. As things have continued to get worse, it has become clear that this alone is not a sufficient reason to carry on. The fact is, I am not getting better, I am not going to get better, and I will most certainly deteriorate further as time goes on. From a logical standpoint, it is better to simply end things quickly and let any repercussions from that play out in the short term than to drag things out into the long term.
You will perhaps be sad for a time, but over time you will forget and begin to carry on. Far better that than to inflict my growing misery upon you for years and decades to come, dragging you down with me. It is because I love you that I can not do this to you. You will come to see that it is a far better thing as one day after another passes during which you do not have to worry about me or even give me a second thought. You will find that your world is better without me in it.
I really have been trying to hang on, for more than a decade now. Each day has been a testament to the extent to which I cared, suffering unspeakable horror as quietly as possible so that you could feel as though I was still here for you. In truth, I was nothing more than a prop, filling space so that my absence would not be noted. In truth, I have already been absent for a long, long time.
My body has become nothing but a cage, a source of pain and constant problems. The illness I have has caused me pain that not even the strongest medicines could dull, and there is no cure. All day, every day a screaming agony in every nerve ending in my body. It is nothing short of torture. My mind is a wasteland, filled with visions of incredible horror, unceasing depression, and crippling anxiety, even with all of the medications the doctors dare give. Simple things that everyone else takes for granted are nearly impossible for me. I can not laugh or cry. I can barely leave the house. I derive no pleasure from any activity. Everything simply comes down to passing time until I can sleep again. Now, to sleep forever seems to be the most merciful thing.
You must not blame yourself. The simple truth is this: During my first deployment, I was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe. War crimes, crimes against humanity. Though I did not participate willingly, and made what I thought was my best effort to stop these events, there are some things that a person simply can not come back from. I take some pride in that, actually, as to move on in life after being part of such a thing would be the mark of a sociopath in my mind. These things go far beyond what most are even aware of.
To force me to do these things and then participate in the ensuing coverup is more than any government has the right to demand. Then, the same government has turned around and abandoned me. They offer no help, and actively block the pursuit of gaining outside help via their corrupt agents at the DEA. Any blame rests with them.
Beyond that, there are the host of physical illnesses that have struck me down again and again, for which they also offer no help. There might be some progress by now if they had not spent nearly twenty years denying the illness that I and so many others were exposed to. Further complicating matters is the repeated and severe brain injuries to which I was subjected, which they also seem to be expending no effort into understanding. What is known is that each of these should have been cause enough for immediate medical attention, which was not rendered.
Lastly, the DEA enters the picture again as they have now managed to create such a culture of fear in the medical community that doctors are too scared to even take the necessary steps to control the symptoms. All under the guise of a completely manufactured “overprescribing epidemic,” which stands in stark relief to all of the legitimate research, which shows the opposite to be true. Perhaps, with the right medication at the right doses, I could have bought a couple of decent years, but even that is too much to ask from a regime built upon the idea that suffering is noble and relief is just for the weak.
However, when the challenges facing a person are already so great that all but the weakest would give up, these extra factors are enough to push a person over the edge.
Is it any wonder then that the latest figures show 22 veterans killing themselves each day? That is more veterans than children killed at Sandy Hook, every single day. Where are the huge policy initiatives? Why isn’t the president standing with those families at the state of the union? Perhaps because we were not killed by a single lunatic, but rather by his own system of dehumanization, neglect, and indifference.
It leaves us to where all we have to look forward to is constant pain, misery, poverty, and dishonor. I assure you that, when the numbers do finally drop, it will merely be because those who were pushed the farthest are all already dead.
And for what? Bush’s religious lunacy? Cheney’s ever growing fortune and that of his corporate friends? Is this what we destroy lives for
Since then, I have tried everything to fill the void. I tried to move into a position of greater power and influence to try and right some of the wrongs. I deployed again, where I put a huge emphasis on saving lives. The fact of the matter, though, is that any new lives saved do not replace those who were murdered. It is an exercise in futility.
Then, I pursued replacing destruction with creation. For a time this provided a distraction, but it could not last. The fact is that any kind of ordinary life is an insult to those who died at my hand. How can I possibly go around like everyone else while the widows and orphans I created continue to struggle? If they could see me sitting here in suburbia, in my comfortable home working on some music project they would be outraged, and rightfully so.
I thought perhaps I could make some headway with this film project, maybe even directly appealing to those I had wronged and exposing a greater truth, but that is also now being taken away from me. I fear that, just as with everything else that requires the involvement of people who can not understand by virtue of never having been there, it is going to fall apart as careers get in the way.
The last thought that has occurred to me is one of some kind of final mission. It is true that I have found that I am capable of finding some kind of reprieve by doing things that are worthwhile on the scale of life and death. While it is a nice thought to consider doing some good with my skills, experience, and killer instinct, the truth is that it isn’t realistic. First, there are the logistics of financing and equipping my own operation, then there is the near certainty of a grisly death, international incidents, and being branded a terrorist in the media that would follow. What is really stopping me, though, is that I simply am too sick to be effective in the field anymore. That, too, has been taken from me.
Thus, I am left with basically nothing. Too trapped in a war to be at peace, too damaged to be at war. Abandoned by those who would take the easy route, and a liability to those who stick it out—and thus deserve better. So you see, not only am I better off dead, but the world is better without me in it
This is what brought me to my actual final mission. Not suicide, but a mercy killing. I know how to kill, and I know how to do it so that there is no pain whatsoever. It was quick, and I did not suffer. And above all, now I am free. I feel no more pain. I have no more nightmares or flashbacks or hallucinations. I am no longer constantly depressed or afraid or worried
I am free.
I ask that you be happy for me for that. It is perhaps the best break I could have hoped for. Please accept this and be glad for me.
Many took up Somers’ suicide as a moment to voice their frustration about the “dangers of American foreign policy.”
Former senator Ron Paul wrote that the “US military has been abused by those who see military force as a first resort rather than the last resort and only in self-defense.”
“This abuse has resulted in a generation of American veterans facing a life sentence in the prison of tortured and deeply damaged minds as well as broken bodies,” Paul continued.
Paul advocated for a “return to a foreign policy that promotes peace and prosperity instead of war and poverty.”
The Phoenix New Times remembered Somers as a singer and guitarist in the local rock band Lisa Savidge.
The Times reported that Somers’ wife, Angeline, who sent the letter to them, saying that she and her husband were private people but “in the last week things have been ripped open and now everyone knows about how bad it has been.”
“I wish I could believe that if it had gotten out sooner that he would still be here,” she said, according the Times.
According to the VA website, June is PTSD awareness month.
Read more stories from TheBlaze
“Our St. Bernard Jasmine, was overwhelmed when she saw her daddy for the first time in 1 year. While he was away in Iraq, she whined and searched for him everyday. If there was a noise outside the door, she would rush over to it, and wait excitedly for him to walk inside. But after […]