Iraq Vet Faces Life Over Suicide Try

Shrinks say she's mentally ill, but Army calls it 'psychobabble'
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2007 4:15 PM CST
U.S. soldier from the 3rd Brigade combat team of 101st Airborne Division gets in the water to cross a canal during a patrol mission in the town of Owesap some 20 kilometers (about 12,4 miles) south of...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – First Lt. Elizabeth Whiteside faces possible life in prison. Her crime? Attempting suicide in Iraq. At a military hearing this week, her diagnosed mental illness was spurned by superiors as an "excuse” and labeled “psychobabble." Suicide tries remain illegal in a military culture that scorns mental disorder, the Washington Post reports, but Whiteside says she "can fight them, because I'm alive."

She was platoon leader at an Iraq prison two years ago when she argued with a superior one day, lost control, and shot herself. She ended up at Walter Reed Medical Center just as Bush tried to fix the facility—by appointing combat-hardened officers, who evaluated Whiteside and hit her with criminal charges this spring. Now an outpatient and bitter at the US Army, Whiteside waits to hear if her case will go to a full court martial hearing.