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 SuicidesDo YOU really support the troops? A little clue to some of you... Parades, flag waving and magnets on your car mean squat.
- 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