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We are losing more soldiers to suicide than to the enemy.

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We are losing more soldiers to suicide than to the enemy.

Postby rabble » Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:06 am

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Re: We are losing more soldiers to suicide than to the enemy

Postby Dangerousman » Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:24 pm

rabble wrote:I wonder why.


It's a good news/bad news sort of thing. The good news being that the war isn't going badly from a military point of view when the number of deaths inflicted by the enemy is the lower number. Of course this particular enemy is more adept at killing defenseless civilians.

But the suicide rate numbers are sad. I did a quick statistical analysis a couple days ago. If you base the rate on the number of "active duty" military listed by Wiki, and take into account the differences in suicide rates for men and women, the rate among military is somewhat higher than the rate for the general American public. Given the stress of military life in general, let alone, during time served in hot zones, I guess it isn't surprising that the rate is higher than the average rate. I'll blame the officers-- they need to take greater interest in the emotional welfare of the people they command. It's as simple as that. Suicide is a deeply personal issue and so those who are the most close to an individual are in the best position to recognize any warning signs.
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Re: We are losing more soldiers to suicide than to the enemy

Postby snoqueen » Mon Jun 11, 2012 4:18 pm

I don't know how you'd go about investigating this -- it's probably a closely-held secret -- but I keep wondering if some of the mental health problems we're seeing are related to use of officially or semi-officially sanctioned drugs to keep the fighters awake for long periods, enhance performance under certain circumstances, or knock people out when they get back to base so they can sleep even though they're way overstimulated and have been through horrific events they badly need to process.

Suicide has always been part of military life, but if we're seeing an increase over earlier wars might non-recreational pharmaceuticals be related?
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Re: We are losing more soldiers to suicide than to the enemy

Postby Lily » Mon Jun 11, 2012 5:39 pm

I don't know about sanctioned drug use but I'm going to say Post-traumatic stress syndrome most likely plays a big roll in this. It's terrible more attention is not being paid to this.The health of those serving in the military needs to get more serious attention. It doesn't mean the soldier is weak. It means they need some help.
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Re: We are losing more soldiers to suicide than to the enemy

Postby Henry Vilas » Mon Jun 11, 2012 5:56 pm

Too many deployments to combat zones with no end in sight. In WWII it was a fight to the finish, with unconditional surrender the ultimate end. During Vietnam it was one full year tour or two shorter tours. After that one only needed to serve out their enlistment or induction.

Bush/Cheney didn't want the draft needed for sufficient numbers to fight one war, much less the two. Thus the average G.I. only has endless combat in his/her future.
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Re: We are losing more soldiers to suicide than to the enemy

Postby rabble » Mon Jun 11, 2012 7:45 pm

I think Henry's closest to the mark. This article gives these figures:
Soldiers between the ages of 18 and 24 accounted for 45 percent of the deaths, and 54 percent were among personnel of low rank. About two-thirds had been deployed in active combat.

Only a little more than half were low ranking, meaning there's a healthy percentage of officers killing themselves. And a full third of the whole group didn't even go into combat.

My vote for chief cause is the multiple deployments with no end in sight. Not only do they keep sending them back, but there's no "X days and a wakeup" to keep them grounded. It just never ends.

Lots of secondary causes to choose from but if you put a healthy human in a toxic environment long enough with no end in sight, no matter how well you try to treat them, permanent damage results.
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