As someone who’s spoken with a few grief-stricken and frustrated family members of dead soldiers, I can back the premise of the latest installment on the Star-Tribune’s series on military suicide–“After suicide, Army silence, censors heighten survivors’ pain.” When the Army stonewalls, it hits these people in a hurtful way, compounding their grief with suspicion, confusion and rage. The Minnesota Star-Tribune’s story highlights a disturbing clash — between families searching for the answers that will help them heal and the closed-mouthed military.
While the Star-Tribune focuses on soldier suicides, an independent documentary released this year, “A Second Knock at the Door” explores this phenomenon and friendly-fire incidents. Which friendly-fire casualty Pfc. Dave Sharrett’s father David Sharrett points out, nobody wants to talk about.
“Quarterbacks don’t like to talk about the interceptions they threw,” Sharrett said. “Running-backs don’t like to talk about how many fumbles they had. The Army doesn’t want to talk about friendly fire because it’s embarrassing.”
(For more on the Sharrett case, check out Tom Jackman’s ongoing series in the Washington Post’s State of NoVa blog.)