Afghan Shooting Spree Raises Questions About Stresses of War

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An Army soldier staffs a security outpost at a construction site approximately 25 miles north of Kandahar, in Afghanistan
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Many details about the 38-year-old American solider who allegedly killed 16 Afghan civilians in a shooting spree are still unknown. However, the picture that is emerging is one of a career soldier under tremendous stress. Military sources say the gunman was married with two children. Although this was his first deployment in Afghanistan, he had over 10 years of service, including tours in Iraq. He also is reported to have previously suffered a traumatic brain injury and to have had problems at home after his last deployment. Despite those issues, the soldier — who is based at Fort Lewis in Washington state — was still deemed fit for combat duty.

Scott Swaim is Director of Veteran Services at Valley Cities Counseling. He’s also a contractor for the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs’ War Trauma and PTSD Program. Russell Galeti was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010, and is now a graduate student in Georgetown's Master of Science in Foreign Service program.