The Iraq Shooting and the History of "Fragging"

Dealing with mental-health problems inside the military

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

More details are emerging about the soldier who allegedly killed five of his fellow servicemen in Baghdad on Monday. Sergeant John M. Russell had recently been relieved of his weapon by commanding officers. On Monday though, that didn't matter. Russell reportedly wrestled a weapon from an officer who was escorting him away from a mental health clinic. He then went back to the clinic and opened fire. The incident is raising tough questions about mental health in the military, and shining a spotlight on how military authorities have dealt with these incidents in the past.

We’re taking a look today at the history of soldier-on-soldier violence in the U.S. military with Paul Springer, a professor of history at the United States Military Academy at West Point. We're also speaking to Major Dena Braeger, Executive Officer to the Dean of West Point. She’s a social psychologist who served in Iraq from 2003 – 2004.

"Soldier-on-soldier violence, thankfully, is something that does not happen on a regular basis. It is not an epidemic of violence. It is the exception to the rule."
—Paul J. Springer of the United States Military Academy on the recent shooting in Baghdad.

Wilburn Russell, John Russell's father, discusses the incident.


Dena Braeger and Paul Springer

Hosted by:

Farai Chideya


Noel King

Comments [1]

Dominick DePinto

Great interview. The Takeaway is at its best when goes directly to the primary sources. You get the news as well as background and emotions behind it.

May. 13 2009 08:18 AM

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