October 6, 2005

WSJ_com - For Nate Self, Battlefield Hero, Trauma Takes a Toll

A person directly responsible for the al-qaeda in pakistan? Musharraf, Bush's "best friend" in the war on terror. Bastard of a man.

In May 2004, he changed his mind and accepted command of a 120-soldier company that he was to lead to Iraq. Then his wife became pregnant again. A couple of months later, Mr. Self suddenly relinquished command and told his bosses he was leaving the Army. (After officers meet their initial commitment -- five years in the case of West Point graduates like Mr. Self -- they are generally free to leave the service.)

The family moved back to Texas. Mr. Self took a job selling medical supplies.

"I looked at him in his business suit and I thought: Who is that? It wasn't Nathan," his wife says. "I could see he was struggling with finding his place."

His nightmares worsened. Images from Afghanistan -- of Airman Cunningham bleeding in the snow and dead bodies of his fellow Rangers lying on the ramp of their damaged MH-47 helicopter -- intruded on his thoughts. His depression worsened. He began to wonder why he had survived while others died. He criticized himself for not realizing sooner that his platoon was sent to a mountain crawling with al Qaeda fighters. (His fellow soldiers and commanders say there was no way Mr. Self could have known.)

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