'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Sunday, August 22, 2004

The Homefront 

On Friday the Independent wrote of the family of a British soldier, Fusilier Gordon Campbell Gentle, who was killed in Iraq. Gentle was killed on the very day of the phony handover, and his family is speaking out against the war. In particular, his 14-year-old sister Maxine wrote a scathing letter to Blair. Here's the complete text of the letter

In other news, a week or so ago, in a truly affecting segment, Amy Goodman interviewed the family of Jeffrey M. Lucey, a US marine who hanged himself after returning from Iraq. Lucey's parents say that Lucey was unable to overcome the grief he felt about what he saw and did in Iraq. One incident more than any other haunted Lucey: he had, under a direct order, shot two unarmed Iraqi prisoners at point blank range. Here's the Luceys discussing the incident with Goodman:

KEVIN LUCEY: My understanding was that there was a higher ranking official who told Jeff, and this is the quote that is etched in my mind, “pull the [bleep] trigger, Lucey.” And it was two unarmed Iraqis. He shot them from about five feet away, and he watched them die. It was the first time, well, that he shot anybody. He told me those deaths he knew he did. That's what he said.

JOYCE LUCEY: One of them, he--Debbie just told me on the phone that he said he was looking at this boy's eyes and the boy was shaking. He was shaking.

KEVIN LUCEY: He told me about how that haunted him. “It's somebody's son, it's somebody's brother, pa. It's somebody’s father.” Jeff, I think was writing down when he came back, he didn't see dead soldiers. He saw dead people. That was one of the things that I guess concerns somebody. That's where--that was the beginning of the cancer--the Post-Traumatic Stress.

This interview and the Luceys' other public appearances have led to the Marine Corps "looking into" the shooting incident, which not very surprisingly isn't getting very far: (from here)

Kevin Lucey said yesterday he is puzzled by the tenor of the Marines' response.

"We never accused anyone of war crimes," he said. "We were just reporting what Jeff was saying."

Lucey said someone from the Marines spoke with the family on Monday about the probe.

"I thanked him because we wanted to find out everything we could," he said.

Kerr said the Marines also have no record that Lucey, a member of the 6th Motor Transport out of New Haven, was involved with a special operations unit, as reported by his family. Kevin Lucey said yesterday that his son was trained as a clerical worker, then assigned a job as a driver in a convoy.

Jeffrey Lucey told the family that he and seven other people in his unit were pulled out at some point and assigned to special operations in Iraq.

Kevin Lucey said that he and his family stand behind his son's version of events and questioned whether it was appropriate for the Marines to investigate the incident.

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