Haditha massacre haunts Marine

Lance Cpl. Roel Ryan Briones says he is tormented by two memories of Nov. 19, 2005, in Haditha, Iraq.

The first is of the body of his best friend and fellow Marine blown apart just after dawn by a roadside bomb. The second is of the lifeless form of a small Iraqi girl, one of two dozen unarmed civilians allegedly killed by members of his Camp Pendleton unit — Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.

He’s at home now, suffering from PTSD, says he was not one of those being investigated., helped in the cleanup and took photos with his cell camera.

When he came back he said he dropped his Olympus 3.2 megapixel camera by the unmanned Sparta base command operations center. When he returned a few hours later he said it looked like the camera had been moved so he assumed someone had downloaded the pictures and he erased them all.

But whether the photos ever reached authorities, who also have pictures from an intelligence investigation team and another source, is not clear.

I find that part odd. The camera contained evidence. Yet there was no check-in procedure for it, and he just assumed the photos had been downloaded and took the camera back?

What happened at Haditha, friends and family say, made him crazy, and 36 hours after returning home, he stole a truck, crashed it drunk, left the scene, resisted arrest, and is now out on $35,000 bail.

[His mother] said she is angry at what she described as the Marines’ failure to adequately “decompress” him and other Marines when they come home from combat. She said she was writing a book to help other families avoid what she and her son are going through.

“I used to be one of those Marines who said that post-traumatic stress is a bunch of bull,” said Ryan Briones, who has prescriptions for anti-depressants and sleeping pills. “But all this stuff that keeps going through my head is eating me up. I need immediate help.”

Briones, of course, is responsible for his own actions. However, as Sue says, no one ever recovers from war – most especially not from atrocities like Haditha.

Someone I know who was caught in a war zone overnight a few years returned to the States, couldn’t sleep, was anxious. He went to his M.D., who said you have PTSD and recommended a therapy group. He went, it was mostly Vietnam vets, and they accepted him completely. He’s fine now. His PTSD was ‘minor’ compared to what Briones (and thousands of other Iraq War vets) must be going through. Well, it wasn’t minor to him, but still, he didn’t have to see toddlers and moms who had been executed in cold blood.

The psychological damage from this war will haunt us for decades to come. It reminds of the Steve Earle line about a Vietnam Vet, “and I wake up screaming like I’m back over there.”

How many more?

  • And, as Dr. Hans von Sponeck has reminded us, just imagine the PTSD being suffered by the victims of this war, the Iraqi people. Such as, for example in this case, the survivors of this massacre.

  • Yes, all to often, according to the media, it is only “our” troops who suffer, we tend to ignore the horror and distress of those at the receiving end of our imperialist actions. All human beings, fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers, children and grandparents, 99% from the working class of Iraq.

  • Andrew Milner

    Twenty-four Iraqi civilians, including three children, murdered in cold blood by out-of-control members of the US Marine Corps, and you’re writing about post traumatic stress disorder suffered by US forces involved in the clear-up. I think sense of proportion is the expression I’m reaching for. That’s about like showing sympathy for the bruised shoulders of elephant hunters and ignoring the dead elephants. Face it, for the US, pariah nation status beckons, and thanks to the duplicity of Tony Blair, Britain has assumed the role of chief henchman and partner in crime. You guys must be suffering a serious identity crisis so perhaps you need a little help to get into character. Wear a black hat, grow a moustache and suck it up, because you’re the bad guys now.

  • Bob

    Try reading what I post first before having a hissy fit and then making yourself look silly.

    The Haditha Massacre category here contains the following posts.

    It didn’t start with Haditha
    Murtha: Haditha massacre was covered up
    Haditha. Complicit to the top
    War pigs in Haditha

    Does this sound like I’m an apologist?

  • Daniel Rivera-Franqui

    I have an uncle that was amongst the THOUSANDS of Puerto Ricans that were sent to Vietnam and came back with PTSD which we thought he was cured of by the 80’s but had a terrible episode in the late 90’s. I concur, they never recover from PTSD.

    Neither did my former father-in-law, who was sent to ‘Nam as infantry, and his experiences there haunted him, his wife and children. Puerto Ricans were most likely to be drafted and sent to the frontlines to be cannon fodder during this war.

  • Good guys, bad guys and PTSD, when will the fight be between the working class and the corporate greed machine? As for Britain being the bad guy now, well friend the British state has been the bad guy since way before the U S of A was born. We have the blood of empire on our hands, we are the masters of intimidation and slaughter, we invented the concentration camps way back before Hitler was born. Honest British have no identity crisis, we know our history, the British state can teach the world on the priciples of divide and rule. We dominated the globe for several hundred years and it was not by good will and compassion. All I ask is that each of us wake up to the fact that any and every state will be an imeriaist state if it has the power, the state is the enemy and in today’s world it is wedded to the corporate greed machine and that makes it the most dangerous period of our development.

  • lilian

    u think some of these pple on the post are heartless. u guys should check out aol blog. tehy praise the marines for killing innocent

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