Before we get to Esteban Santiago and yesterday's "incident" in Fort Lauderdale, let me tell you (since the American lamestream media can't be bothered with this little story) about the late Lionel Desmond, pictured below with his late wife and late daughter.
Mr Desmond was an "African-Canadian" who served with the Canadian Army in the American-led invasion of Afghanistan. On Tuesday night he shot his wife, daughter and mother in their home in rural Nova Scotia, before turning his gun on himself.
The Mounties refused to give specifics about the two guns seized at the home or Mr Desmond's mental health. "Those are details that we're not able to release at this time and, of course, a person's medical condition is protected information," said Cpl. Jennifer Clarke. However, family members and friends have said he suffered from PTSD.
PTSD. Post-traumatic stress disorder. In a rant about the sanitization of English, George Carlin said PTSD is what we called "combat fatigue" in World War II and "shell shock" in World War I. Putting it another way, something that happened to Mr Desmond in Afghanistan -- something he saw or heard or did -- made him crazy.
Lionel Desmond had no business being in Afghanistan. He was sent there by the Canadian government to assure the US government that Canada was standing shoulder to shoulder with America in their quest to defeat terrorism and bring democracy and the American way of life Army to the benighted Muslims. The invasion of Afghanistan was ill-conceived and ill-executed. The price of intervention is still being paid not just by "the natives" but by 1000s of American, British and Canadian servicemen (or "servicepersons", if you like) and their families. The Desmonds are four more casualties of the Muslim civil war.
Now we come to Esteban Santiago, who yesterday added another five dead and eight wounded to the list of casualties. We know how that turned out. Mr Santiago is a Hispanic American, and, the authorities say, a decorated veteran of the American invasion of Iraq. He served from 2007 to 2016 in the Puerto Rico National Guard and Alaska National Guard including a deployment to Iraq from 2010 to 2011. He received half a dozen medals before being transferred to the inactive ready reserve in August of 2015.
Since returning from Iraq, Mr Santiago served in the Army Reserves and the Alaska National Guard in Anchorage. He was serving as a combat engineer in the Guard before his discharge for "unsatisfactory performance," according to spokesthingy Lt. Col. Candis Olmstead. His military rank upon discharge was E3 (Private First Class), and he worked one weekend a month with an additional 15 days of training yearly. Lt. Col. Olmstead would not elaborate on his discharge, but the Pentagon said he went AWOL several times and was demoted and discharged.
Last November, Mr Santiago turned up at an FBI office in Anchorage, behaving erratically. He told the Feds the government was controlling his mind and telling him to go and fight for ISIS. Did this alarm them? Apparently not, for they turned him over to local police, who took him to a medical facility for a mental health evaluation. His brother, Bryan Santiago, told AP that his brother's girlfriend had recently called the family to alert them to his treatment.
Bryan Santiago said his brother never spoke to him directly about his medical issues. "We haven't talked for the past three weeks," he said. "That's a bit unusual... I'm in shock. He was a serious person... He was a normal person." Esteban Santiago's aunt in Union City New Jersey didn't see it that way. Maria Ruiz Rivera told the press the suspect in the Fort Lauderdale massacre had recently become a father and was "struggling" after a tour of duty in Iraq. "It was like he lost his mind," Ms Ruiz said in Spanish. "He said he saw things."
Esteban Santiago is in custody in Fort Lauderdale, helping authorities with their investigation, as the saying goes. Walt assumes they're asking him why he packed an assault rifle -- literally -- unpacked it in the baggage claim area of FLL, calmly loaded it and fired randomly into a crowd of travellers. What happened to him in Iraq? What things did he see that unhinged him so? What did the voices he heard say to him? Was he "radicalized"... or just plain crazy?
Whatever happened to Mr Santiago, the fact remains that there was no reason for him to be in Iraq other than the total and utter failure of American foreign policy through the administrations four (4) presidents. Can we expect any change when Donald Trump takes office in less than two weeks? Let's hope so... but don't count on it. (Lifetime pct .987.)