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Avoir le cafard


Avoir le cafard – To have “The Bug.”


Designboom (via Blue Lyon):

american kills’ by chilean-born new york based artist sebastian errazuriz is a public installation showcasing the suicide rates of US soldiers. after searching on official war sites on the internet, he accidentally found out that 2 times more american soldiers had died in 2009 by committing suicide than those killed during that same year in the war in iraq; an alarming comparison that errazuriz had personally never read or heard about before.


I remember reading about a World War II veteran who described his military service as “Long periods of extreme boredom interspersed with moments of sheer terror.” I first heard about Le Cafard in a book of fiction about the French Foreign Legion.

According to the story men stationed in the deserts of colonial Algeria and Morocco would grow so depressed they would go mad and start shooting cockroaches, each other and themselves. Supposedly deaths from Le Cafard exceeded deaths from combat.

I didn’t believe it at first (it was fiction, after all) but I’ve since learned it is true. Avoir le cafard is now a French idiom referring to an extreme depression or sense of pointlessness.

As you can see from the picture above, Le Cafard is very real and very deadly.

Young men and women, far from home and under stress. Fear, loneliness and firearms.

Stop the madness. End the wars and bring our kids home.



26 Responses

  1. It doesn’t help that the military is permeated with a cult of machismo that does not allow anyone to show fear or weakness.

  2. That’s so sad and wrong.

  3. OT: Ethics committee counselor recommends censure for Rangel. Hearing/discussion continuing on C-Span 3.

  4. Thank you so much for posting this. Nothing could more poignantly highlight the “self” destructive nature of war.

  5. I have said before and continue to maintain that a soldier sent to fight an unjust war, no matter his or her rhetoric about “protecting our freedoms” does not have the moral justification for the things they see and do during war.
    During WW2 they were stopping Hitler’s evil, protecting Europe from being swallowed up by the Nazis and retaliating against the attack from the Japanese at Pearl Harbor.
    Iraq and Afghanistan are not and never were a threat to the US. Dubya just wanted to be a wartime president. He’s a f**king cowboy wannabee and because we allowed the theft of the election in 2000, we got stuck with him.

    Because today’s soldiers have no real moral imperative and so they suffer terrible guilt and rage when they come home.
    Bush and Cheney should be in prison.

  6. Thank you for posting this. Your post says it all, myiq.

  7. OT: The same Corpo-dems who can’t pass the Paycheck Fairness Act are all set to pass S510 ( Food Safety Modernization Act ) which is effectively going to outlaw gardening and seed-saving unless you are a giant Agri-Corp because you don’t have the Modern Facilities to prevent “Contamination”.
    http://www.correntewire.com/senate_bill_s510

    This is a bill sponsored by Dick**** Durbin and supported by the Dick**** Dems.
    Good bye roadside farm stands and farmers markets and small organic growers. Hello Monsanto Overlords.
    So call your senator today and yell at them if they support S510.

  8. I’m glad you posted this. Just recently, on the anniversary of the Fort Hood massacre, I heard some radio coverage about Fort Hood and what little ongoing news coverage it’s received, and how little support the survivors are getting (including the families of the killed soldiers) from the Army. They are thinking/feeling they’ve been left hanging. Suicides on that base along have increased to several per month. It was astonishing and sad what they are going through. One person said something along the lines of: It felt like the word from up high was that what happened to us was not a big deal.

  9. Thanks for the post. War is hell. It kills. And those it doesn’t kill, it likely destroys. There should be a heavy burden for everyone when we go to war, to hopefully make it less likely. When there is no draft, it’s just too easy.

    • And it’s not just the people who are “fighting.” My (now former, and the war is probably why) SIL was a paramedic in Iraq and came back with PTSD. Still in her 20s and her life ruined.

  10. Teresa has some nice thought about the difference in the “good” war and those which follow. However, they are hollow as hell. Soldiers in combat don’t fight for high causes or to save the world, they fight to survive and for their brothers, and now sisters, in arms.

    It’s not complicated, it’s blood simple. Only later do you think about what happened to you and what you had to do. For the unlucky, that can be the hardest part along with survivor guilt.

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