11/13/07

Do YOU support the troops?

Well? Do you even know what kind of support these soldiers need?
And, a CBS News analysis reveals they lose that battle, and take their own lives, at a clip described by various experts as "stunning" and "alarming," according to Chief Investigative Correspondent Armen Keteyian. One called it a "hidden epidemic."

He says no one had ever counted just how many suicides there are nationwide among those who had served in the military -- until now.

The five-month CBS News probe, based upon a detailed analysis of data obtained from death records from 2004 and 2005, found that veterans were more than twice as likely to commit suicide in 2005 as non-vets.

From an August ePluribus Media diary on military suicides:
So now every year they send another team of experts to Iraq, and every year they file another report (MHAT I, II, III, IV and counting), and every year some poor spokesgoat has to stand up and tell a bunch of grownups that it's these kids and their personal problems, not the war, that motivates these young people with their whole lives ahead of them to end it.

Well, every year except for 2004, when the rate dropped a lot, and everyone started crowing about how all the new suicide prevention measures were working, and they looked real good until the numbers for 2005 came in, and someone noticed that in 2004 they had used a different definition of a suicide. Tricky. That year they only counted the deaths involving guns.

Last year's goat was a Col. Joseph Curtin, who assured the gathered journalists, "We're not alarmed." He went on to say that the Army was not aware of any single reason for the rise, but he dismissed the notion that the increase was somehow tied to combat exposure. Instead, he blamed (are you ready?) financial difficulties, failed relationships.

Some stats from March via ePluribus Media:

OEF/OIF Suicides

  • Portion of veterans making up total U.S. suicide population: 25%
  • Army soldier suicides in Iraq and Kuwait, 2005: 22
  • ...above rate compared to national average: nearly 2X
  • Rate of OIF Army combat zone suicide increase,2004 to 2005: 2X
  • MN active-duty/discharged servicemember suicides, Jan. 2003-Oct. 2006: 13
  • ...extrapolation of above rate to 50 states: 650
Do YOU really support the troops? A little clue to some of you... Parades, flag waving and magnets on your car mean squat.

8 comments:

Beach Bum said...

Great post, as usual. I've had to step away from the subject for awhile due to the shrill nature for which I've developed trying to talk intelligently to Chickehawks, cowards, and those who think serving is for someone else's kids to do.

Connecticut Man1 said...

I know how you feel on that. What really pisses me off on this particular issue is that this info has been out there on the net for a while. Now, a half a year or more later, it is "News" to the BIG media.

M. Simon said...

War is a tough business and not all wounds leave visible scars.

That said: If you join it is part of the risk. Always has been.

Simon - Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club '66.

I wish I could be a chicken hawk for you. Unfortunately I'm one of the other kind.

Victory in Iraq is going to cost us. Defeat however, has a balloon payment attached.

Connecticut Man1 said...

So M. Simon, your answer is to talk tough and continue to ignore the real underlying issues behind this serious problem? Oh yeah, and "Stay the Course" even though it is a collision course with disaster for this nation.

Sorry. Not. Buying. It.

cpalm said...

I can't believe a proud liberal such as yourself, censored my comment. Way to be a hippocrite - you must be very proud. You are such a bitch.

-infectiousInk

Connecticut Man1 said...

Where did I censor your comment? I am thinking that maybe you forgot to click on publish.

swampcracker said...

Connecticut Man1, I followed you link in response to your comment place at Impolitic (Libby's post).

Colonel Ann Wright (retired), a columnist for TruthOut.com, is one of those persons reporting on the issue of suicide. I recommend her work highly.

Repeated deployments and stop loss orders (those that prevent personnel from leaving the military even if they wanted, i.e. threats of prosecution) contribute to the high rates of suicide. Please note: One cause of suicidal ideation is the feeling of being trapped with no means of flight or escape.

Furthermore, my daughter (who is currently on her third deployment in Iraq so far) tells me that the deployment burden is not being shared equally across the military. According to her, only 20% of Army personnel are bearing this burden of repeated deployments; 80% in cushy positions tend to remain in those positions due to cronyism.

Thus, an overwhelming injustice plus the feeling being trapped is what drives these suicide rates. This is yet another sad and tragic consequence of the Bush Adminsitration's handing of the Iraq War.

Our only hope: Spread the word and help raise public awareness.

Connecticut Man1 said...

I am familiar with Colonel Ann Wright's efforts. But thank you for adding the link. Well worth the recommendation.

My brother in-law is on his third tour in Iraq and the last time I visited him (for a funeral) none of the soldiers I met appeared to be too happy at the prospects of returning to Iraq given the complete lack of a real mission. When my brother in-law (a hardcore Infantry platoon daddy) says that the only mission he sees is to get his boys home alive, then that is a sad statement on the mission. He said that the last time there was a clear mission for his group was when they pulled security on the mission to get Uday and Qsay Hussein. That was a long time ago on his first tour.

There are many other issues that may be driving up suicide rates. Among them, the waivers being given to people that should never have been allowed to join the military in the first place.

But the people like M. Simon (above) would rather ignore the real issues and blame the victims of this disaster they continue to cheerlead for.