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Army suicide spike

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by three_bags_full, Feb 28, 2009.

  1. three_bags_full

    three_bags_full Well-Known Member

    Edit: I guess this should be moved to the Sports and News Board. Sorry for the clutter on Politics. Please move, mods.

    Just wanted to bring this to everyone's attention.


    We've now caught, and maybe surpassed, the civilian sector in suicides. All Army activities will stop next Wednesday (I think), so commanders can address this problem. It is the MOST important byproduct of the wars, and it's beginning to make more of an impact. Every time a soldier dies, or is hurt or otherwise removed from his unit, mission readiness is obviously negatively impacted. It takes too much money and time to train, refit and replace a seasoned soldier who dies for no reason. The 15-month deployments weren't the only culprit. We've got guys on their fourth and fifth rotations to Iraq and Afghanistan. That's five of eight years spent in combat. Let that number sink in a little. Five of eight.

    These coffins aren't the ones I'm worried about


    It's the coffins of the guys who're killing THEMSELVES when they get back that bother me the most.
  2. I'm generally wary of these stories because of all the work I did covering Vietnam vets issues in the 1970's and early '80's, when the "crazy vet" frenzy did some real damage, but this seems like a sober, realistic take on a difficult, but addressable, problem.
  3. three_bags_full

    three_bags_full Well-Known Member

    Then, there's the Houston recruiting battalion issue. That commander's been relieved, thankfully. Apparently he was putting way too much pressure on them.
  4. Something very important is on the way to breaking, I fear.
  5. three_bags_full

    three_bags_full Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Moddy.
  6. OTD

    OTD Active Member

    A high school friend of my daughter's died in Iraq a few weeks ago, and the guess is that it was suicide. This kid was on his first tour, but he'd had some emotional problems before.

    Hopefully, this trend will abate some when more troops start coming home. One bright spot is that I don't think the "crazy vet" stereotype sticks anymore. There's been enough publicity about this that most people realize that these men and women have been under enormous stress.
  7. three_bags_full

    three_bags_full Well-Known Member

    It's not going to slow down, because we're sending those brought home from Iraq to Afghanistan, basically. That said, that's what we want. We've got to find a way to increase dwell time and better treat PTSD and MTBI.

    And it's not just the Army. My uncle, an Air Force logistician and a major, has been back from Iraq for a few months and having trouble with MTBI caused by an IED that went off near his vehicle.
  8. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    No, it's not just the Army. As many know, the market where I work has several major Navy and Marine bases nearby so military issues are a huge, huge part of our primary coverage.

    I swear, a week doesn't go by when we don't have a "suicide by motorcycle" incident on one of the highways here. I don't know how many times I've written the brief hed: "Crash victim ID'd as [base] Marine, 20". It's depressing as hell, but what can you do? I don't even want to think about how many times I've driven past one of those wrecks on my way home at night.

    PTSD is criminally under-diagnosed. I don't think TBF or anyone else in the military can emphasize that enough. It's imperative that we change the culture to get these soldiers the help they need and the support they deserve.
  9. Peytons place

    Peytons place Member

    I do wonder what the answer for this could be. Even for those who don't commit suicide, that much time over there is bound to mess with anyone's head. The problem I guess is even though the services are meeting recruitment requirements, the fact that soldiers are being stop-lossed, sent back multiple times and having tours extended tells me there may not be enough troops to ease the load. Do we bring back the draft so these voluntary soldiers can get a reprieve? Just a thought.
  10. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Only if you want to bring back Vietnam-scale protests and demonstrations. Some cynical souls will say we've become too complacent for that, but I assure you, we have not.

    I will say that I think a draft in 2009-10 would have been slightly more feasible if we had only been in Afghanistan since 2001 and had not added an unnecessary second front two years later. There was and is plenty of support for that front.
  11. Peytons place

    Peytons place Member

    Yeah, I'm sure people would protest. But what's the answer if these wars are going to continue and we're stepping up troop levels in Afghanistan. You always hear people, even those who may not be for the war, say they support the troops, so what would their argument against the draft be? That they don't really want to support them that much?
  12. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    No, the answer is: the wars shouldn't continue if we don't have the proper resources to fight them.

    The argument against the draft is: tell me why you want me to fight. Tell me, specifically, what the goal of this measure is. Tell me how we win the war.

    Right now, nobody who led us to war can answer those questions. That's the very definition of NOT supporting the troops.
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