The overwhelming majority of those who serve in American armed forces are individuals who respect their comrades in arms, but, as in all large organizations, there are sadists who enjoy inflicting punishment upon those they command. Pvt. Keiffer Wilhelm was in Iraq less than four days before he placed a weapon to his head and committed suicide. His parents not only have lost a son, but must deal with the reality he was driven to death by four comrades in arms. “They just acted like a bunch of hoods,” said Wilhelm’s father. “They thought they were above the law.”
No one can ever prove any connection between soldiers placed in a war situation in which cruelty and sadism are allowed by those in command of the American army and the rising incidents of suicide among men and women deployed in combat. His parents describe Keiffer, a high school wrestler, as a “non-threatening person” who simply was not prepared “for the brutality from his own troops.”
There is need for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in America which compels those who violated laws of decent human conduct must publicly confront their behavior. Once these incidents are in the open, fewer young men and women will be driven to suicide.