From today's Washington Post:
Suicides among active-duty soldiers in 2007 reached their highest level since the Army began keeping such records in 1980, according to a draft internal study obtained by The Washington Post. Last year, 121 soldiers took their own lives, nearly 20 percent more than in 2006.
At the same time, the number of attempted suicides or self-inflicted injuries in the Army has jumped sixfold since the Iraq war began. Last year, about 2,100 soldiers injured themselves or attempted suicide, compared with about 350 in 2002, according to the U.S. Army Medical Command Suicide Prevention Action Plan.
Let's not forget that there was no post-war planning done in the run up to war - that it was all supposed to be over quickly. No one expected repeated and lengthened deployments. Or did they? From the Washington Post in 2005:
The Army was unprepared for the high number of suicides and cases of post-traumatic stress disorder among its troops, as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have continued far longer than anticipated. Many Army posts still do not offer enough individual counseling and some soldiers suffering psychological problems complain that they are stigmatized by commanders. Over the past year, four high-level commissions have recommended reforms and Congress has given the military hundreds of millions of dollars to improve its mental health care, but critics charge that significant progress has not been made.
The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have placed severe stress on the Army, caused in part by repeated and lengthened deployments. Historically, suicide rates tend to decrease when soldiers are in conflicts overseas, but that trend has reversed in recent years. From a suicide rate of 9.8 per 100,000 active-duty soldiers in 2001 -- the lowest rate on record -- the Army reached an all-time high of 17.5 suicides per 100,000 active-duty soldiers in 2006.
A briefing paper prepared for British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top advisers eight months before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq concluded that the U.S. military was not preparing adequately for what the British memo predicted would be a "protracted and costly" postwar occupation of that country.One more stain on dubya's legacy. Thanks to his war, more troops have been killing themselves.
Here's some artwork.
But I can hear the quivering voices cry out from the right-wing wilderness calling on me to something good about dubya's illegal war regarding these rising suicide rates.
Ok, I'll try.
So far there haven't been ANY suicides in the Air Force. So let's just ignore the Army suicides and the Navy suicides and the Marine Corps suicides and just focus on the good news here: No Air Force suicides. Woo-hoo! Yea, Bush kicks ass!