A must read: “The Last Tour”, in The New Yorker, on the psychological horror that is war

William Tecumseh Sherman, one of our most revered criminals of war, remarked, “War is Hell.” I don’t think he quite had this in mind.

From the towed car, park rangers had already deduced who they were. They had called Kellee Twiggs, Travis’s wife, in Virginia. She had missed a call from her husband earlier that afternoon, she said; he had left no message. He and Will had disappeared a few days before. She was stunned to hear that they were in Arizona. She explained about the P.T.S.D. and said that Travis had been “out of his mind” the last time she saw him. He was a highly trained marine—a martial-arts instructor, weapons expert, and skilled combat tracker. “I’m very scared,” she said. “I don’t want anything bad to happen to him or your people.” Anyone who approached him should use his nickname, Tebeaux; it might help him understand that he was in America and that they were not the enemy. She added that her husband’s combat flashbacks were worse if he had been drinking. (In the towed car, the rangers found beer cans and an empty fifth of Jägermeister.) Will, she said, was not a fighter but might “man up to impress his brother.”

Not long thereafter,

they heard shots; some heard one, others heard two; there were actually three. It was later determined that Travis Twiggs had pulled the trigger each time. The first shot was fired at point-blank range through the left temple of Willard Twiggs, and it was fatal. The second was fired from under Travis’s own chin. The bullet came out through his left cheek. It was not fatal. The third shot, fired at point-blank range, went through his right temple—fatal. Will’s head had fallen back against the seat. Travis slumped into his brother’s lap.

May God have mercy on their souls and console their loved ones always. And may those who purport to lead this nation, but who have led her astray, recognize the tremendous errors they have committed and do all that they must to rectify the situation, that we see this no more.

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