Tal fra krigene i Irak og Afghanistan viser at antallet af faldne amerikanske soldater er under halvdelen af antal selvmord blandt forhenværende soldater, veteraner, hjemme i USA. Derudover andre skader på og omkring de hjemvendte soldater, som spritkørsel, narkohandel, partnervold, skyderier, slagsmål, voldtægt, knivoverfald og andre former for vold. Og altså masser af selvmord.
Dette har kunstnergruppen Dorothy illustreret med en serie af plaststøbte figurer af soldater, i samme stil som "klassiske" grønne legetøjs-soldater. Motivvalget er blot lidt skarpere. Soldaternes farligste kamp er efter at de er kommet hjem. Farlige for både sig selv og omgivelserne. PTSD er en del af forklaringen, men dækker ikke alt. Vold løser heller ikke problemerne i det civile liv.
Casualties of War
Plastic moulded figurines with bases
The hell of war comes home. In July 2009 Colorado Springs Gazettea published a two-part series entitled “Casualties of War”. The articles focused on a single battalion based at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, who since returning from duty in Iraq had been involved in brawls, beatings, rapes, drunk driving, drug deals, domestic violence, shootings, stabbings, kidnapping and suicides.
Returning soldiers were committing murder at a rate 20 times greater than other young American males. A seperate investiagtion into the high suicide rate among veterans published in the New York Times in October 2010 revealed that three times as many California veterans and active service members were dying soon after returning home than those being killed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.
We hear little about the personal hell soldiers live through after returning home
En anden ram illustration af denne problematik har kunstneren Sebastian Errazuriz pyntet sin ydermur med, efter at hans Facebook-indlæg om disse halvskjulte tal blev mødt med ligegyldighed og manglende interesse.
The counting of dead soldiers outside my studio was long and surprisingly eerie; it was hard to forget that every brush stroke was a soldier who had died the previous year.
A lot of people stopped to read the mural and were immediately impressed by the reality portrayed. Most of them seemed quite shocked and approached me to ask if what I was painting was real. I tried to explain that I simply wished to create a physical image that could capture people's imagination, creating awareness of the current numbers in death, war and the infinite discrepancy between the resources and energies destined to fight and protect soldiers at war versus the energies invested in protecting their mental health and stability.