Michael Crawford

Suicide Rapidly Increasing Among Soldiers

Filed By Michael Crawford | February 03, 2008 12:31 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Democrats, George W. Bush, military

As if we needed further proof that the Republican Party's bleating about "supporting the troops" is nothing more than cynical political rhetoric, check out this from CNN:

Every day, five U.S. soldiers try to kill themselves. Before the Iraq war began, that figure was less than one suicide attempt a day.

The dramatic increase is revealed in new U.S. Army figures, which show 2,100 soldiers tried to commit suicide in 2007.

"Suicide attempts are rising and have risen over the last five years," said Col. Elspeth Cameron-Ritchie, an Army psychiatrist.

Read the rest of the story and what you will see is that it is Democrats who are fighting to provide improved services including suicide prevention programs, support for soldiers returning from war, substance abuse prevention programs and access to mental health professionals for our troops forced to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq because of George Bush and his cowboy diplomacy.

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Does anyone know why the suicide rate is going up?

Alex, I don't know if there are any hardcore studies answering this --- or maybe the military has them but won't release them. In any event, it stands to reason that soldiers being required to serve multiple tours of duty, and longer tours of duty, must have something to do with this.

It is a known fact that, left untreated, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a cumulative process. Soldiers placed under the stresses of urban warfare for a year or more at a time, for multiple times, has got to take its toll eventually.

More alarming is the fact that some of these suicides take place after the soldier has returned to the US, and possibly after being discharged. The PTSD is often left untreated, and the most serious cases are at high suicide risk. Many are left untreated because virtually all returning soldiers need some level of treatment, and the demand on military and VA mental health care resources is prohibitive.

In the absence of specific studies, this is the best answer I can suggest.

That's exactly what I would have said too, Allen.

Bill Perdue | February 4, 2008 8:41 AM

Alex, A. J. Lopps comments are a well thought out answer, but other factors are in play that are just as important.

The fact that these GI’s witnessed the murder of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi’s and came face to face with the explosive hatred of an invaded population that wants them dead has something to do with it. Additionally the high count of disabling wounds and learning that the fighting and death have been to aid Texaco are powerful demoralizing factors.

Sources active in the union led US Labor Party, the Federation of Workers’ Councils and Unions in Iraq (FWCUI) and US Labor against the War report that the situation is rapidly evolving. There’s been a spike in the number of causalities in 2008. The figures stand at 3,945 with 28,870 wounded, among which 12,096 were seriously wounded. As reported last year 121 active duty soldiers committed suicide and more than 2,000 others attempted suicide. The suicide rate among GIs has essentially doubled since the launching of the war in Afghanistan in 2001 and is the highest since the Pentagon started keeping such records.

KC Labor, an online site representative of the growing left wing in the labor movement reports the following:

“A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows one in six GIs returning from Iraq had suffered at least one concussion, greatly heightening the chance of them developing post-traumatic stress disorder.

In Iraq a household survey by one of Britain's leading polling organizations concluded that Iraqi war related deaths in 15 of 18 provinces totaled, allowing for statistical errors, between 946,258 to 1.12 million as of September 2007. The provinces they were not permitted to survey include Kerbala and Anbar - among the bloodiest.”