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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Army Suicide Rate Hits High

Think America's wars abroad are over or winding down?  Well, we lost seven troops in a copter crash just today.  More than that:  We have long been losing more soldiers to suicide than to enemy bullets and bombs.  And now today's shocker: suicides in July hit an all-time high for any year in memory, 38, more than one per day. "The Army suicide pace this year is surpassing last year, particularly among active-duty soldiers where there is a 22% increase — 116 deaths so far this year vs. 95 during the same seven months last year, according to Army data."  And that's just one branch of the military.

Then there are the countless unsuccessful suicide attempts and others not yet confirmed--and then there are the vets....a reported 18 suicides per day.

Suicides have increased across the military, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told Congress last month. He said service members of all branches are killing themselves at the rate of about one per day. "That is an epidemic,'" he testified. "Something's wrong."  I've written about this issue for ten years now -- here's just one case, involving a female soldier who refused to take part in torture.  Ten years of suicides, and counting.


Anonymous said...

What's wrong is that young men and women were redeployed once, twice and three times to endure the extreme stress of war (both the danger and the boredom). Soldiers could not count on a time line that would allow them to say to themselves, "I can make it two months more or ten days more." Soldiers understand the 'odds' when it comes to being injured or killed and with each additional deployment the odds turned against them. If they lived and without traumatic injury, soldiers re-entered a country that honors them with words, not deeds. The soldiers that have fought in GW's so-called wars are facing a lack of VA services for mental health, unemployment and isolation. Suicide can seem a viable option for those whose anxiety and depression won't allow them to imagine a future for themselves. Shame on the US Military and the US government who will not face what their decisions have wrought and provide care for returning soldiers and their families.

Anonymous said...

Somethings wrong? The unbelievable ignorance and naivety of the Military and US government are astounding. Many of the soldiers who fought in GW's wars and were redeployed two and three times were subjected to extreme amounts of stress over a long period of time. Soldiers know the odds of being injured or killed multiply the longer they are exposed to dangerous situations. They were unable to make 'bargains' with themselves, "I can make it for another two months" or another 30 days" and instead never knew when they would be left to pick up their lives again and to plan for the future. In a depressed and anxious state mind suicide can seem the only way out of extreme psychic pain. What these rates of suicide tell us is that there is not nearly enough mental health help for returning soldiers who came home from these 'so-called wars'
physically and psychically wounded. Shame on the US Military and US government for not spending the money to evaluate returning soldiers and to support them until they can 'unwind' their war-time experiences. Shame on the American public for their empty words instead of actual good deeds.

bikku said...

Shame on the US government for sending them into a trumped up war in the first place. Imagine how they must feel to train, deploy, and carry out orders rotation after rotation, only to learn later that there was no threat to America's interests. The Iraq war was about oil profits for energy sector companies that were the second largest contributors to the election of G W Bush (financial sector contributions were number one). Imagine how they feel to have killed strangers in order to make Dick Cheney money, he personally made 13 million off the Iraq war. Returning military members are so traumatized by the horrors of war that they cannot acclimate to normalcy. The wealthy in America have had a great first decade in this millineum, worker bees....not so good.