Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Profile of an Army base after the wars

Kim Murphy of the Los Angeles Times ran a scary profile of life around Fort Lewis, Washington, nowadays. (The base had a record 12 suicides in 2011, according to another article.) One local police chief reports that in his town over the last two years, there were "24 instances in which we contacted soldiers who ...

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Kim Murphy of the Los Angeles Times ran a scary profile of life around Fort Lewis, Washington, nowadays. (The base had a record 12 suicides in 2011, according to another article.)

One local police chief reports that in his town over the last two years, there were "24 instances in which we contacted soldiers who were armed with weapons . . . . We've had intimidation, stalking with a weapon, aggravated assault, domestic violence, drive-bys."

Here's the overview:

Kim Murphy of the Los Angeles Times ran a scary profile of life around Fort Lewis, Washington, nowadays. (The base had a record 12 suicides in 2011, according to another article.)

One local police chief reports that in his town over the last two years, there were "24 instances in which we contacted soldiers who were armed with weapons . . . . We’ve had intimidation, stalking with a weapon, aggravated assault, domestic violence, drive-bys."

Here’s the overview:

Over the last two years, an Iraq veteran pleaded guilty to assault after being accused of waterboarding his 7-year-old foster son in the bathtub. Another was accused of pouring lighter fluid over his wife and setting her on fire; one was charged with torturing his 4-year-old daughter for refusing to say her ABCs. A Stryker Brigade soldier was convicted of the kidnap, torture and rape or attempted rape of two women, one of whom he shocked with cables attached to a car battery; and an Iraq war sergeant was convicted of strangling his wife and hiding her body in a storage bin.

In April, 38-year-old combat medic David Stewart, who had been under treatment for depression, paranoia and sleeplessness, led police on a high-speed chase down Interstate 5 before crashing into a barrier. As officers watched, he shot himself in the head. His wife, a nurse, was found in the car with him, also shot to death. Police later found the body of their 5-year-old son in the family home.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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