Thursday, May 14, 2009
Cal Perry is currently based in Beirut but prior to that he spent four years in the Baghdad bureau, and was a Bureau Chief for two of them. He is currently doing a rotation in Baghdad, and (sadly) got a lot of airtime this week on another tragic story from there.
Monday, five US servicemembers were killed by a fellow soldier at a stress clinic located at Camp Liberty in Baghdad. As the early reports came in, Cal was on the air hourly with updates. He spoke with Rick Sanchez about the story behind the killings:
Tuesday morning, Cal identified the name of the shooter and discussed the investigations into the shooting as well as whether it could have been foreseen and prevented:
A couple hours later, Cal had more information about the shooter, the fact that his gun had been taken from him by his commanding officer, and that he had been near the end of his third tour in Iraq:
Wednesday morning, Cal had a very moving piece about the stress of the war and the toll it is taking on the men fighting it:
There will be so many long-term ramifications from this war, but the men and women who served and will now be struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (exacerbated by the multiple deployments so many of them served) will be an enormous issue that we must be aware of in order to help them and their families. We owe them that, whether we agreed with this war or not. We owe it to the memories of those who lost their lives in Iraq; we owe it to those who were wounded and are suffering with pain every day yet struggle to overcome their injuries; we owe it to all the families who sent loved ones to serve their country and now must deal with grief for the lost and damaged men and women that were returned to them and the knowledge that as badly as they are suffering, they know others whose pain is worse.
(And since this is a blogsite about CNN, I will also say that we owe it to the reporters and cameramen and producers and to the local staff, all of whom take risks and witness brutalities that we cannot imagine -- that they cannot even show on television -- in order to keep us aware of what our troops are dealing with in the midst of war.)
Please visit Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America to support our troops, and if you know a veteran or family member, encourage them to visit Community of Veterans and Support Your Vet for support.