There is surprising news that there is an increase in mental illness in US soldiers returning from Afghanistan. Parallels can be drawn to the Hollywood flick, The American Psycho, who hacks friendly people around him with axe and a chain saw. The number of suicides is also rising. The latest report published in US Army Times dated November 13 is about a letter written by a decorated Army Staff sergeant to his father. The soldier is accused of kidnapping, raping and murdering a local woman. The soldier served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He confessed in his letter that he killed lot of men, women and children overseas who were innocent. They begged for mercy but he killed them in the name of duty.

Now, he cannot stop himself and he is an ‘addicted to killing’. The report is shocking and is an eye opener that US soldiers are becoming aware that operation in Afghanistan is not justified. They are forced to torture and kill people who are no danger to them, neither are they involved in any terrorist activity. Various incidents and discipline problems also highlights that the leadership is not capable of handling the psychological effects of combat stress during and after deployment. The soldier might be pretending to be mentally ill to avoid punishment but there are thousands of soldiers returning from the combat zone. If most of them turn out to be ‘addicted killers,’ then how is the US going to fight this inner wave of terrorism? The problems in the US army from general to soldier level are indicators of serious policy flaws and of psychological disorder. The scandals of the Generals also raise questions of their decisions regarding overseas operations.

ANWAR PARVEEN,

Islamabad, November 28.