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Army sergeant guns down five American soldiers in Iraq

There doesn't seem to be much about this story on the conservative blogs, but the awful things need to be reported too:

An Army sergeant who was due to leave Iraq soon after multiple tours has been charged with murder and aggravated assault in the fatal shooting of five fellow soldiers at a military counseling clinic in Baghdad, a U.S. official said Tuesday.

Sgt. John M. Russell was taken into custody outside the clinic following Monday's shooting at Camp Liberty, said Maj. Gen. David Perkins. It was the deadliest case of soldier-on-soldier violence since the Iraq war began in 2003.

Perkins gave few details of the shooting and said there were conflicting accounts of what happened.

He said Russell was referred to the clinic by his superiors, presumably because of concern over his mental state. Perkins said Russell was "probably" on his third tour of Iraq but was due to leave soon.

Perkins said the assailant's weapon had been taken away, but somehow he got a new gun, entered the clinic and opened fire.

In Washington, a Pentagon official said Russell was escorted to the clinic, but once inside argued with the staff and was asked to leave. After he and his escort drove away, Russell apparently seized the escort's weapon and returned to the clinic, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.

... Russell, of the 54th Engineer Battalion based in Bamberg, Germany, was charged with five counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault in Monday's shooting, Perkins said.

Even our finest men and women in uniform can sometimes be driven to do terrible things by forces beyond their control. My thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and families of all who were involved in this terrible tragedy.


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Comments (57)

Key the music...and now fro... (Below threshold)
Unrepentant Democrat:

Key the music...and now from the wingnutia comes the somehow or another it's "Obamalama" the" Fascist", "Socialist", "Communist", "Muslim", "Nazi's" fault.

UD STFU You stupid uncarin... (Below threshold)
914:

UD STFU You stupid uncaring useless idiot.

UD, just because your side ... (Below threshold)

UD, just because your side blamed every death in Iraq squarely on George W. Bush, that doesn't mean that we're obligated to do the same with Barack Obama. Sorry if you're disappointed, although some segments of the loony left should be willing to gladly give Sgt. Russell their full support.

ACTUALLY, I'm surprised UD ... (Below threshold)
Ran:

ACTUALLY, I'm surprised UD hasn't blamed Bush.....YET!

I feel bad for the soldiers... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

I feel bad for the soldiers families, even the assailant. My prayers go out to them. ww

As in most cases like this,... (Below threshold)
Roci:

As in most cases like this, it will be a while before we know what really happened and why. The "why" likely won't make any sense when we do hear it. At least in this case, the assailant is alive to answer questions like "why". That itself is unusual.

Rushing to judgement and specualtion at this point is pointless.

I'm not sure about individu... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

I'm not sure about individual soldiers being driven to do bad things by forces beyond their control. Iraq in my mind, was so poorly prepared by the Pentagon,(and Bush wasn't really engaged until the fall of 2006 when Rumsfeld was fired) that it was a disaster of our making.

Unfortunately now, at least 121 veterans of Iraq (and Afghanistan) have committed a killing in this country the USA, or were charged with one, after returning home from war. In many cases, "combat trauma and the stress of deployment appeared to play a role"...that was in Jaauary, 2008 taken from the New York Times, plus from the Washington Post of the same month, 'Last year, (2007) 121 soldiers took their own lives...At the same time, the number of attempted suicides or self-inflicted injuries in the Army has jumped sixfold since the Iraq war began. Last year, about 2,100 soldiers injured themselves or attempted suicide, compared with about 350 in 2002, according to the U.S. Army Medical Command Suicide Prevention Action Plan'.

These are all casualties or unintended consequences from a war/ invasion that the neocon war hawks thought would be brief and relatively painless.

Wow. We have a competitor ... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Wow. We have a competitor for BryanD's title for biggest waste of skin... way to focus your 2 minute hate, UD.

From the preliminary info, ... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

From the preliminary info, sounds like someone dropped the ball big time. They took a weapon away from him. So he went and got another one.

One thing the may help the ... (Below threshold)
JC Hammer:

One thing the may help the soldiers is that everyone, from the top down has to have a mental evaluation. The way it is now that if you have an mental evaluation, your promotion may not be forthcoming. With as many deployments they are having, wouldn't this make sense they are evaluated every year>

Won't hurt anything, and it possibly could help some people.

From the preliminary inf... (Below threshold)
Roci:

From the preliminary info, sounds like someone dropped the ball big time. They took a weapon away from him. So he went and got another one.

It's Iraq. Everyone has at least one. The clinics on Victory Base demand that patients place their weapons in racks upon entering (where anyone can just take them). Clinics and hospitals are historically gun-phobic, even in war zones.

Iraq in my mind, w... (Below threshold)
Heralder:
Iraq in my mind, was so poorly prepared by the Pentagon,(and Bush wasn't really engaged until the fall of 2006 when Rumsfeld was fired) that it was a disaster of our making.

The Center for Disease Control reports that in the year 2006, there were 594,000 hospital visits for self-inflicted injury inside the U.S., and 32,637 actual suicide mortalities inside the U.S.


In the year 2006, roughly 18,000 people were victims of homicide inside of the U.S.

That's a grand total of fifty thousand, six hundred and thirty seven deaths through murder or through suicide domestically, Steve. And yet you choose to focus on this one and and turn it into political ammunition.

I'm sure all fifty thousand of these people served tours in Iraq, that must have been what did it, or maybe some people are just unbalanced.

UD,Clearly the anony... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

UD,
Clearly the anonymity of the internet serves folks such as yourself quite well. You should be grateful callous comments such as yours cannot be easily attributed to a particular human being. Please seek professional help. You will benefit. If you are already under professional care, get another referral.

u dem - "Key the music.... (Below threshold)
marc:

u dem - "Key the music...and now from the wingnutia comes the somehow or another it's "Obamalama" the" Fascist", "Socialist", "Communist", "Muslim", "Nazi's" fault."

"Key the music..." u dem is on scene.

Heralder, it is cluster of ... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Heralder, it is cluster of factors. You are right to bring out the larger context of the high suicide/ homicide index in the US. Who can isolate what happens. It is like an airplane crash, witness the Buffalo one, a combination or chain of things/circumstances or bad decisons. One of the components of post traumatic stress is usually educational level. Some of these guys shouldn't be in Iraq in the first place, or surely going back in the second place, but where are they to go?

I found this an interesting and well-written story in the New Yorker, that I read a few months ago, of another veteran suffering from this syndrome/disorder -the one on the left- in the photo.

Key the music. Send ... (Below threshold)
914:


Key the music. Send in the clowns. And than blame Bush for an encore? Yeah, sounds about right.

The combat soldier's mind-s... (Below threshold)
mojo:

The combat soldier's mind-set is, necessarily, borderline psychotic. Always has been, since the first old-stone-age drill sergeant.

Nobody completely sane would do it, you see.

JC Hammer, are there a few ... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

JC Hammer, are there a few thousand unemployed clinical psychologists kicking around in your neck of the woods who want to work almost exclusively on PTSD cases--presumably at a lower rate than they would get in the private sector?

Nice thought, but nahgannahappen.

I am a bit confused. I have... (Below threshold)

I am a bit confused. I have read about this on the blogs, the news outlets etc, conservative and lib alike.

I am just a bit bewildered at the implication that the conservatives are media biased. The awful should be reported too!?

Come on, this is the very reason the conservative voice is so squeaky. We are apologetic for everything. This is a tragedy, which happens often everywhere. Because we have a soldier that did so is terrible because of the locale. But suggesting that this is being not as reported is, well sad.

The Left is releasing memos that will most likely cause more American deaths. The Left has pushed hard for the release of more photos of Abu Graves....my goodness the media stopped showing Americans choosing to leap on 9-11 for our sensitivities. The Right has not pushed to release to the media the beheading of Americans, the beheading of prisoners overseas, the chopping off of hands, the cutting our of tongues etc- Americans seem to have forgot the reality because of our trusted journalist.

We catch the Left in lies and the wiggle room is granted...no full court push(Nancy Pelosi) the hate at a media event with the president was giggled at...remember those who did so on the Right? Remember how the media spins everything into racism. , The Duke Lacrosse players lives have been changed forever because we have not pushed the REAL racists:Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton- the media never pushed for the truth.

The Right sits idly by when Jeneane Garafolo calls all that attended the tea parties as Racist...believe me if the Right did something like she suggested for real it would have been documented because they have us by our %@#$'s.

We need to widely and openly stop covering and cowering and suggesting that we even play by the same rules.I am sure that you perhaps did not even mean to do so BUT this is how we have been conditioned.

It is time to stop this wishy washy crap. Call your congressmen. Every phone call is prorated out to equal a percentage of their constituents. If Congress can hold hearings about steroid use in pro sports we darn well can push for hearings to force a checks and balance. We on the right have played nice and are being walked on...we need to stop.
just my thoughts

mojo--are you implying that... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

mojo--are you implying that every citizen of Israel; every Korean male; every WWI/WWII conscript has something fundamentally wrong with their capacity to make moral decisions?

Jennifer honey, the profess... (Below threshold)
Unrepentant Democrat:

Jennifer honey, the profession of purity from the right is as hypocritical as could be. The incessant whining is pathetic.
depp=true
notiz=Here's your shovel UD.

If anyone knows about being... (Below threshold)
Undead Democrat:

If anyone knows about being pathetic, it would be you, UD.

#22: You know he is, but wh... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

#22: You know he is, but what are you--nicely played, douche bag.

Violence against Health and... (Below threshold)
epador:

Violence against Health and Mental Health Care workers happens in the military and outside the military. It is a sad risk that mental health workers face at a slightly higher rate than medical workers. Its impossible to universally prevent, and it is dealt with about as well as possible in the military, much better than in the private sector. There is no need to finger-point or blame. Everyone surviving involved feels horrible and will be scarred by this experience.

Regardless of the details in this case, the odoriferous splanchnic mindless responses of folks that give the word trolls a bad name deserves banning and no further discussion.

You certainly recognize wha... (Below threshold)
Undead Democrat:

You certainly recognize what you are, eh, hyperdouche?

u dem - "Jennifer honey... (Below threshold)
marc:

u dem - "Jennifer honey, the profession of purity from the right is as hypocritical as could be. The incessant whining is pathetic."

Just who is it that professes purity u dem?

Can you point to a specific republican, oops sorry, let me rephrase that so YOU understand it...

Can you point to a specific "rethuglian" that claims to be perfect?

Your incessant parroting of dem, leftest, left-turd, progressive, democrap, demtard talking points is tiresome and well, about all you ever have.

bryanD - "Pfft! homebou... (Below threshold)
marc:

bryanD - "Pfft! homebound chickenhawk bawk. Go eat."

You shouldn't be calling the [always] homebound barack hussein obama a chickenhawk.

The military probably needs... (Below threshold)
Paul Hooson:

The military probably needs better mental health services to deal with soldiers who have gone past the breaking point due to overly long duty tours. But a soldier in bad emotional health like this also needs to seek out help as well, and certainly shares responsibility for their actions.

mojo, you are full of obama... (Below threshold)
twolaneflash:

mojo, you are full of obama. you are beyond borderline stupid. you must not know many combat soldiers who have walked the walk. they are the most decent and respectful men you will find on this planet. your smarmy psychoanalysis of combat veterans is worthy of a murtha award.

This is something that need... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

This is something that needs to be investigated, but never will be. There aren't really a lot of details here on why there was a concern over Russell's "mental state" before he shot the soldiers.

God bless the fallen, their... (Below threshold)
twolaneflash:

God bless the fallen, their families, and their comrades-in-arms. This event surpasses rational understanding. In the end, only the loss matters, not the why.

Crickmore said:<block... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

Crickmore said:

These are all casualties or unintended consequences from a war/ invasion that the neocon war hawks thought would be brief and relatively painless.

This is a leftist narrative contrived to suit a twisted worldview. It is a lie. As I remember, Bush repeatedly warned the war on terror would be a long and costly one.

16 September 2001. This will be a different kind of conflict against a different kind of enemy. This is a conflict without battlefields or beachheads, a conflict with opponents who believe they are invisible. Yet they are mistaken. They will be exposed, and they will discover what others in the past have learned: Those who make war against the United States have chosen their own destruction.

Victory against terrorism will not take place in a single battle but in a series of decisive actions against terrorist organisations and those who harbour and support them. We are planning a broad and sustained campaign to secure our country and eradicate the evil of terrorism.
...
I will not settle for a token act. Our response must be sweeping, sustained and effective. We have much to do and much to ask of the American people. You will be asked for your strength, because the course to victory may be long.

In his State of the Union in January 2002, Bush said, "Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror ... whatever it costs to defend our country, we will pay."

In October, he warned that, "... military conflict could be difficult. An Iraqi regime faced with its own demise may attempt cruel and desperate measures."

January 2003 State of the Union: "For the brave Americans who bear the risk, no victory is free from sorrow. This nation fights reluctantly because we know the cost..."

March 6: "No doubt there's risks in any military operation; I know that."

March 19: "(This) campaign... could be longer and more difficult than some predict."

Against this adversary there is only one effective response: We will never back down, we will never give in, and we will never accept anything less than complete victory.
...
Our goal is to train enough Iraqi forces so they can carry the fight. And this will take time and patience. November 30, 2005

CNN February 15, 2008. Republican presidential front-runner Sen. John McCain on Thursday defended his statement that U.S. troops could spend "maybe 100" years in Iraq...

There is more. This would what I could scare up on short notice. Why don't you step out of the darkness of lies and historical revisionism into the light of truth Crickmore?

"Jennifer honey, the pro... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

"Jennifer honey, the profession of purity from the right is as hypocritical as could be. The incessant whining is pathetic."

Ya big phony. Your off-topic, "kinder, gentler" rant is so out of touch with the people around you, that you can't even see how your incessant bitterness contributes nothing to a comment thread.

Jennifer honey, the prof... (Below threshold)

Jennifer honey, the profession of purity from the right is as hypocritical as could be. The incessant whining is pathetic.

What are you, a member of the Rat Pack? Jennifer, honey...

Aren't you a typical dem? I mean pretending to stand for causes... minorities, yet they are landlocked to a plantation far worse than they experienced in the early part of our history, thanks to governmental programs is(well to borrow your word...pathetic) oh and the Left as champions of women's rights, and then you refer to me as a pet name?

Hmm Unrepentant Democrat...hypocritical seems to be a wise description of YOU.

Jennifer, sweetie.....your ... (Below threshold)
Unrepentant Democrat:

Jennifer, sweetie.....your ignorance is as evident as is your hypocrisy.

"....minorities....landlocked to a plantation.." What the hell is that tripe supposed to mean? Obviously you are referring to african-americans, people of color, with your reference to "plantations." Do you even know any "minorities"? Do you know any "minorities landlocked to a plantation"??? Are you just ignorant? Since the political movement you so obviously are a part of has few if any "minorities" in it I'd think you'd pause before writing the racist crap you just wrote. But then, why should I expect anything different from the wingnutia universe?

UD- okay now you are just f... (Below threshold)

UD- okay now you are just full of class? Let's see, do I know any minorities? Yep, I am looking at five in my own home. Sigh the Left cries racism any time the plantation of governmental programs is mentioned.

I guess I should have expected this from you, and like Condi I cannot be in a minority if I am conservative. Perhaps I messed up your initials DU.

Oh and the political movement I am in has many many minorities- and Like I said before the Left strips color off any that are not Dems...

Thanks for being so condescending, as it continues to resonate loudly with others who are finally getting that the plantation is a weary place to be, just so one will vote a certain way. Condi showed so many women of color that beauty, class, and poise and a mind take one much further than a vote and then the disappearing congressmen.

If We could but get beyond ... (Below threshold)
914:

If We could but get beyond all the name calling?

UD ... BRING IT BETCH!

UD: Since in your bizarre r... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

UD: Since in your bizarre racist view of the world, only minorities may dare comment on the state of minorities, here you go:

It's OK to Leave the Plantation : The New Underground Railroad

Hopefully this better conforms to your separatist leanings. Happy reading.

"Key the music...a... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:
"Key the music...and now from the wingnutia comes the somehow or another it's "Obamalama" the" Fascist", "Socialist", "Communist", "Muslim", "Nazi's" fault."

Unrepentant Democrat,

Your first comment is the most telling. The only reason you came here is your immature, desperate need for attention. Your political acumen is a big zero, and you demonstrate no real interest in the post, yet you try to be "clever" with a silly, "Key the music...". Go back to DU, where your need to show the world how creative you are is applauded methodically, like the next big thing, just because you're you.

Unless, of course, you can get past the fake patronizing and say something that has to do with the topic.

Jeff Blogworthy..I could li... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Jeff Blogworthy..I could list some quotations too, but I was thinking of more strident neo cons, who promoted the war like Asst. Secretary of defense, Paul Wolfowitz.

Bush and McCain weren't in that category, and Cheney, well he is so 'political and opportunistic'. He will always justify any political action of his party's administration, in uncompromising language. For example, here is what Cheney said in 1992 about occupying Baghdad in February 1991, when the first Gulf war ended:

"I would guess if we had gone in there, I would still have forces in Baghdad today. We'd be running the country. We would not have been able to get everybody out and bring everybody home.

"And the final point that I think needs to be made is this question of casualties. I don't think you could have done all of that without significant additional U.S. casualties. And while everybody was tremendously impressed with the low cost of the (1991) conflict, for the 146 Americans who were killed in action and for their families, it wasn't a cheap war.

And the question in my mind is how many additional American casualties is Saddam (Hussein) worth? And the answer is not that damned many.



..that would be my more my feeling for the loss of American casualties... in the second Gulf war.
Hoosan, Since you're... (Below threshold)

Hoosan,
Since you're continuously posting about
your great wealth, why don't you give it all
to the Veterans Administration for their
hospitals. The VA hospital in Shreveport could
readily use your wealth to repair its' foundation problems, so they can resume the work on the 3rd floor that was dedicated to specialty care for veterans. Also it would allow the hospital to resume honoring Champ-VA for the spouses of disabled veterans.
I can assure you I know one disabled veteran
that would greatly appreciate the donation.

Hooson?????????????????????... (Below threshold)
914:

Hooson????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

u dem - "Jennifer, swee... (Below threshold)
marc:

u dem - "Jennifer, sweetie.....your ignorance is as evident as is your hypocrisy."

Jesus H. Christ on a Segway! This "u dem" nutzoid is obviously so far in the "obama tank" he needs a scuba gear to breath but...

... u dem not only spews whatever the current talking point is he talks just as his overseer does.

Compare the above u dem quote with one of barack hussein obama's past quotes.

"Hold on a second, sweetie. We'll hold a press avail," ">replied Obama, referring to a structured question and answer.

u dem - separated at birth, or Siamese Twins?

oops, sorry <a href="http:/... (Below threshold)
marc:

oops, sorry link

Folks, it would help if you... (Below threshold)
epador:

Folks, it would help if you knew what you were talking about when decrying the mental health (MH) system in the military. Its not ideal, but neither is the civilian MH system. Maybe after the next Columbine we should recommend all school kids get quarterly head shrinks?

Active Duty and Veteran mental health systems are separate entities. They are at least as functional as and, perhaps superior to, that available in the private sector (given the income levels of most enlisted and compared to what they could get on the outside in similar paying jobs). Soldiers, sailors, airmen, etc. are already screened before, during and after deployment, and referred to MH when indicated.

This is not an indication of a breakdown in the mental health system, any more than the mass murders in a school are the result of the failure of the school system to educate students.

MH care is less than it could be in this country, but general health care dollars are pointed at physical ailments in our current system.

Ah! Steve with the pre 9/11... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Ah! Steve with the pre 9/11 clips. It really helps to prove the extreme left does not believe in terror.

In regards to that time, the lefties were saying we will have 10,000 casualties if we go into Kuwait. You guys are brilliant. ww

@epador - well said. ... (Below threshold)
Jake:

@epador - well said.

Maggie, the soldier in Iraq... (Below threshold)
Paul Hooson:

Maggie, the soldier in Iraq should have been expected to behave himself better while at the mental health facility. He was supposed to be getting help there. However, as Dr. Epador pointed out, mental health workers all over sometimes face violence from disturbed patients. All the money in the world won't help it when some mentally persons choose to act up somewhere and not behave themselves. But believe me, I give plenty to charity and helping organizations. I pray you do the same.

Hoosan, Since I am t... (Below threshold)

Hoosan,
Since I am the care giver for my husband who is 100 per cent disabled, I do give every day.
My message to you was not about an individual soldier.
My message was about your bragging incessantly
of your assumed wealth, and how wonderful you
are. Mr Pious Hoosan, let's see how generous
hearted and concerned you really are by giving
away all of your wealth for the benefit of
a hospital that nees funds to repair foundation
problems, so the stopped work on the 3rd floor
can be continued for special care for veterans.

I'm here on Liberty in Iraq... (Below threshold)
Big Country:

I'm here on Liberty in Iraq... The guy lost it... I was a witness to the insanity from a distance thank God. One girl who was being seen at the clinic here had to jump out through the window of the building to avoid getting shot. The guy, from all reports, had been under care for a while, but was definately at the end of his rope. His chain of command was giving him flack and accusing him of 'making up' his issues... Obviously he wasn't...

Everyone here is pretty wigged out about it. Our biggest concern is it's bad enough that we have to watch out for the Hajjis, but now we have to worry about a random "Joe" popping his cork and going postal... things are tense enough without turning it into a partisan slapfest. Keep that in mind when you start trolling and throwing ad hominems out there... this isn't some poli-sci discussion or class... this's combat, and shit happens, and bad shit most of all.

Would you say, Big Country,... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Would you say, Big Country, that there is indeed a stigma against seeking therapy/counseling within the armed forces?

Hyper,There is a sti... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Hyper,
There is a stigma against men seeking therapy in many if not most cultures.

Obviously true, SCSI, but w... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Obviously true, SCSI, but wouldn't you support a mandate that troops--people who are required to do things that are potentially psychologically traumatizing that you or I don't have to think about--seek counseling rather than internalize these issues? Cast it in terms of improving unit cohesion--ensuring that everyone is dependable--rather than coddling the traumatized, as it's currently perceived.

It might be unrealistic to expect this to work, but shrugging off incidents such as this as tragic and unfortunate corollaries of extended deployment in a war zone seems insufficient to me.

Hyper,The US militar... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Hyper,
The US military is actually ahead of American society in general in removing the stigma of therapy and recognizing the very real effects of psycological trauma.
I had a friend in college that had to shed some credits because he was diagnosed with PTSD (saw something first hand that he could not get his head around). When people got word, many asked "oh, he's in the reserves?". When they found out he wasn't, you could see the level of acceptance and sympathy actually go down. That soldiers and cops (ok, EMTs, firemen and so forth) are exposed to things that can mess up their heads, and that therapy can help we have an obligation to help these people that became scarred standing between us and whatever bad thing did the messing, is widely accepted.

Getting men to agree that they need help, however... it's one thing to agree in the abstract but much harder when it is close to home (you, your husband, your brother).

No argument here. Hard to t... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

No argument here. Hard to tell someone that they're a ruthless killing machine, but also expect them to seek counseling when the going gets tough.

Hyper, SCSI, that culture i... (Below threshold)

Hyper, SCSI, that culture is being changed
slowly among veterans who are being treated.
One of the most effective tools is one on one
peer to peer groups where the veterans themselves
mentor each other. It works.
It has helped my husband tremendously in that
it expands coping skills, gives them
understanding of what is going on, and opens up
new paths of compassion and acceptance.
Another item of interest, it's been discovered
that sometimes traumaic events are physically
burnt into the matter of the brain physically
meaning it cannot be removed as those memories
become a permanent part of the brain.

Hyper,You need to ge... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Hyper,
You need to get past Full Metal Jacket and similar depictions of military forces.
I have never met a single soldier, sailor airman or marine that described himself (aside from jest) in such a way.




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