[Marxism] Britain: soldier opposed to Iraq war commits suicide

M. Junaid Alam junaidalam at msalam.net
Mon Aug 23 19:24:48 MDT 2004

    Britain: soldier opposed to Iraq war commits suicide

          By Robert Stevens
          23 August 2004

<mailto:editor at wsws.org>*

On August 10, the funeral of Private Peter Mahoney, a soldier with the 
Territorial Army (TA) who served for six months in the war against Iraq 
in 2003, was held at St. Aidan’s church in his hometown of Carlisle, 

On August 3, the 45-year-old father of four had committed suicide by 
gassing himself in his family car. He died of carbon monoxide poisoning 
after attaching a hosepipe to the exhaust of the car parked in his 
garage at his home in Botcherby, on the outskirts of Carlisle. Mahoney 
was wearing his old TA uniform and had shaved his head in a regulation 
military style.

He was discovered by Donna, his wife of 21 years and a staff nurse at 
the local Cumberland Infirmary. She called the emergency services, which 
were unable to revive him. An inquest into his death has been opened and 

In Iraq Mahoney was attached to the Royal Logistics Corps, responsible 
for taking medical supplies and injured soldiers between the front line 
and British Army field hospitals near the Kuwaiti border.

While Mahoney did not die in Iraq, his experiences there undoubtedly 
contributed to his suicide, making him another casualty of the criminal 
and illegal invasion by the United States and Britain.

Mahoney was profoundly disillusioned by his experiences in Iraq, which 
had confirmed his belief prior to and during the war that it was a war 
of aggression and that claims that Saddam Hussein possessed “weapons of 
mass destruction” were lies.

On July 16, following his return from the Persian Gulf, Mahoney gave an 
outspoken interview to his local newspaper condemning the war and the 
administrations of President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony 
Blair for engaging in a war of plunder. His comments also indicate that 
his views were shared by other soldiers that he was in contact with.

Mahoney told the newspaper: “The general consensus among the troops was 
that we were in Iraq so George Bush could seize control of the oil 
fields. All this talk of weapons of mass destruction was simply a 
smokescreen as far as we were concerned. There was certainly no evidence 
they existed. From what we saw Saddam’s regime did not have advanced 
weapons. Iraqi troops were using ancient Russian machines. They were 
firing sticks and stones. They might as well have had catapults.”

Mahoney continued, “I think Tony Blair was just following whatever Bush 
said. He was simply his puppet. He got in too deep and couldn’t back out.”

In his letter, Mahoney spoke about his plans for the future and of how 
he intended to leave the Armed Forces permanently. “I was considering 
leaving the TA before I went out there but I will definitely be leaving 
when my time is officially up in September. I will be happy to turn my 
back on the TA. It also gives my wife and children peace of mind.”

Mahoney quit the Territorial Army in September and made plans to 
undertake employment at the local poultry factory. He eventually took up 
a job recycling waste as an employee of the local authority. He was also 
in the process of reconciliation with his wife who he planned to go on 
holiday with when he took his life. The couple had agreed to split five 
weeks before his suicide, following his descent into depression as a 
result of his war experiences.

*“A broken man”*

Following his death, Donna spoke of how he had changed as a person 
following his time in Iraq. She said: “Iraq changed him. I don’t know 
what happened because I wasn’t in his head but it changed him. He was a 
broken man. I really don’t know what happened out there.”

full: http://wsws.org/articles/2004/aug2004/army-a23.shtml

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