Saturday, January 21, 2006

When Johnny Comes Driving Home...

We don't know if Doug was taking medication, or had stopped taking medication, or even what medication he had been prescribed.

We do know that he was a truck driver, and that his job in Iraq was driving supply convoys along the shooting gallery between Baghdad Airport and LSA Anaconda in Balad -- a giant military base -- a veritable city -- that is subject to so many mortar and rocket attacks that the troops have renamed it Mortaritaville. We do know, from Doug's interviews, that the stress of those convoys -- each confronting its participants with the possibility that this could be one's last road trip -- were hard on Doug. In July 2003, his convoy was hit with an improvised explosive device, and the mortar attacks at Anaconda were so regular that they were alomst a weather pattern. But Doug said there was something else that was even harder on him. When the grunts came in, they would describe how many civilians they'd killed.

When Doug was in a traffic jam one day, feeling very vulnerable, and the US units dismounted to clear the traffic jam -- angry and afraid and waving weapons at the civilians -- a woman in a bus held up her baby for them to see... like that window-sign we see in cars on American highways -- "Baby on Board." Only she wasn't cautioning other drivers to be careful. She was trying to prevent an armed attack that could kill her child.

Doug may have decomped from medication, I don't know. That could have contributed to his suicide.

Go here for the full story.


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