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The Body Baggers of Iraq

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"I am still in contact with most of the people I knew," she said. "They are not coping. One lives in VA [Veterans Affairs], constantly seeing psychologists and psychiatrists. One was kicked out of the Marines for three DUIs. Another was kicked out of the Marines because he took cocaine. Those who have gotten out are living below the poverty level. And what people do to cope is re-enlist. When they re-enlist they do better. They function. I am the only one who went to school of the 18 Marines in Mortuary Affairs. But I am in counseling at the VA. I have been diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety, depression and substance abuse. What separates me from them is that I have a great support system and I found my salvation in my education.

"War is disgusting and horrific," she said. "It never leaves the people who were involved in it. The damage is far greater than the lists of casualties or cost in dollars. It permeates lifestyles. It infects cultures and people and worldviews. The war is never over for us. The fighting stops. The troops get called back. But the war goes on for those damaged by war." 

Not long ago she received a text message from a Marine she had worked with in Mortuary Affairs after he tried to commit suicide.

"I've got $2,000 in the bank," the message read. "Let's meet in NYC and go out with a bang."

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Chris Hedges spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.

Hedges was part of the team of (more...)
 

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Amazing stories. When I look at our 'royal leade... by Ned Lud on Tuesday, Mar 22, 2011 at 7:23:59 AM
Dear Chris Hedges, Since I have been following you... by Annie Kelleher on Tuesday, Mar 22, 2011 at 8:49:44 AM
'Do not despair, but if you do, work on, even in d... by Ned Lud on Tuesday, Mar 22, 2011 at 9:59:30 AM
We too play our part in this, both by paying for w... by Judy Palmer on Tuesday, Mar 22, 2011 at 5:50:16 PM
I think she's f-ucking pissed off, Judy. Look at h... by Ned Lud on Wednesday, Mar 23, 2011 at 10:27:06 AM
Excellently written - and obviously designed to pa... by Doc McCoy on Tuesday, Mar 22, 2011 at 11:13:23 AM
you wrote..."but is it not America's true desire a... by mikel paul on Tuesday, Mar 22, 2011 at 3:17:30 PM