Alan never took the pills they gave him. I do believe it was Xanax, and as I recall, the VA marked his file as if he killed himself due to depression. I can tell you that he wasn’t depressed when he left, and there’s no way to know now if those pills would’ve helped him adjust back to civilian life.
When he got back, he drank... A LOT. I took him to an AA meeting, but he shrugged it off later and simply said, “That’s not me.” I never evangelized to him about it, because I truly believed that he didn’t drink for the same reason those in AA drank.
Alan believed that what he was doing in Iraq truly meant something. He said the locals were grateful for their presence. He spoke Arabic pretty well, and he was often an interpreter/liaison for his squad. He said the locals often related stories about the brutality of the police under Saddam and feared that when Americans left, the country would be left with something even worse than the old guard police. Apparently their fears were justified.
Yeah, it is common in military pow wows to blame suicide and depression on anything other than the behavior of the trickle down leadership of the One into the ranks. The interviews will blame a third party (wife problems) or circumstance (depression), and not on whether he was threatened for upsetting the locals because he used self defense, for example.
The government talks about not losing good soldiers but it does because of bad networking of potential or abandoning some potential for politics. It thus is not uncommon to see a commander beg a good soldier to stay while berating him for not covering up his arse, ie. speaking up his mind when unprofessional or irresponsible behavior violating the law occures above. They cannot have it both ways, ie. you cannot keep a good soldier expecting him to carry all the wrongs of the unit on his back and fix everything, including the bad policies and behaviors of the upper ranks. That’s madness. One might as well either leave physicaly, or, as you say, just lose your mind, as a mean to get out.
I had drill sergeants during basic who encouraged me to shoot at insurgents and others who were ready to crush me if “I did not think of the rules of engagement”. The latter were usually considered the jerks because no one felt safe or able to survive around this type of kiss @$$ back stabbing mentalities.
In any case, self hate becomes the norm as a result, ie. a shame to be, say, a good guy, a family man, as opposed to a haji or something crazy and celebrity oriented the way Bin Laden is playing it. So the behaviors deteriorate as a result of poor leadership and a general enforcement of a state of stupor that narrows further down the focus to myopic views of life pushing people over the edge instead of seeing possibilities beyond a day at a time - giving the day a chance to open doors “like in a video game where undiscovered higher levels all of a sudden open up” as one recovering civilian contractor once explained his epiphany when “opportunities” occured as he held on - ie. they decided to stop cock blocking him for some reason and they needed a spot to be filled.
It’s sad to see good men destroyed because of government bull crap and little lies for petty details, and this is why government care of this country is going to be a complete disaster. Government is hired to do a job for the advancement of business, not the other way around.