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Is the U.S. Army Losing Its War on Suicide?

Modbert

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Military Suicides Up Among Soldiers in Repeat Army Tours - TIME

From the invasion of Afghanistan until last summer, the U.S. military had lost 761 soldiers in combat there. But a higher number in the service — 817 — had taken their own lives over the same period. The surge in suicides, which have risen five years in a row, has become a vexing problem for which the Army's highest levels of command have yet to find a solution despite deploying hundreds of mental-health experts and investing millions of dollars. And the elephant in the room in much of the formal discussion of the problem is the burden of repeated tours of combat duty on a soldier's battered psyche.

The problem is exacerbated by the manpower challenges faced by the service, because new research suggests that repeated combat deployments seem to be driving the suicide surge. The only way to apply the brakes will be to reduce the number of deployments per soldier and extend what the Army calls "dwell time" — the duration spent at home between trips to war zones. But the only way to make that possible would be to expand the Army's troop strength, or reduce the number of soldiers sent off to war.

"It's frankly frustrating that with the level of effort that we've put out there, that we haven't stemmed the [suicide] tide," General George Casey, the Army's top officer, told a House panel March 23. When pressed by a lawmaker the previous month on whether the Army was getting closer to solving the challenge, Army Secretary John McHugh was blunt. "Sadly, the answer is not much closer," he told the Senate Armed Services Committee Feb. 23. "As to why people take this step — particularly as to why men and women in uniform do — we're still in many ways befuddled."

Army leaders say that broken personal relationships seem to be the most common thread linking suicides. "The one transcendent factor that we seem to have, if there's any one that's associated with [suicide], is fractured relationships of some sort," Lieut. General Eric Schoomaker, the Army surgeon general, told a Senate panel last month. What they fail to note, however, is the corrosive effect repeated deployments can have on such relationships. Ritchie pointed out in January that there are "higher rates of mental-health problems and marital problems for multiple deployers."

I recall posting yet another article about this issue a couple months ago. And here we stand today as a country, the position in even worse shape. President Obama, Congress, and others involved need to put aside partisan bickering for once and deal with this. Not tomorrow, two weeks from now, or even today but rather months ago.

This is certainly one of those issues that never go away.

Sadly, this goes along with this:

Print: Disposable Soldiers

According to figures from the Pentagon and a Harvard University study, the military is saving billions by discharging soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan with personality disorder.

In July 2007 the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs called a hearing to investigate PD discharges. Barack Obama, then a senator, put forward a bill to halt all PD discharges. And before leaving office, President Bush signed a law requiring the defense secretary to conduct his own investigation of the PD discharge system. But Obama's bill did not pass, and the Defense Department concluded that no soldiers had been wrongly discharged. The PD dismissals have continued. Since 2001 more than 22,600 soldiers have been discharged with personality disorder. That number includes soldiers who have served two and three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Yet another issue as many of you who have been around awhile know, that I comment extensively on.

The issue of the U.S Military, more specifically the VA dismissing soldiers with "Personality Disorder" in order to not pay for medical bills. This problem has only gotten significantly worse, least since I had created my specific group on this topic back in 2008.

So for those of you who got all riled up on the healthcare issue, for either side, take the time out now to contact your congressmen or congresswomen on this issue. I ask this not as a Liberal, not as a USMB user, but as one human being to another.
 

uscitizen

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Combat is hell esp in a mixed civie and combatant situation.
I remember Nam, wish I didn't but I do.
 

Toome

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Take a look at all the contributing factors such as how the troops are treated when they come home, especially by those who oppose the war either specifically or in general. It's a tough issue, but the fact is that suicide by combat vets is nothing new. Only the awareness is new, and that's pretty sad.
 
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Maybe Obama could tack a bill to help our military onto the back of some outrageously crappy bill that doesn't stand a chance in hell of passing.... then, the left can scream 'you hate the military' at anyone who votes against it. Nice way to pass shit or be branded forever as someone who voted against saving the lifes of the military.
 

Si modo

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Anyone counting on Obama doing much at all for the military is betting on the wrong horse.
 
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Modbert

Modbert

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Maybe Obama could tack a bill to help our military onto the back of some outrageously crappy bill that doesn't stand a chance in hell of passing.... then, the left can scream 'you hate the military' at anyone who votes against it. Nice way to pass shit or be branded forever as someone who voted against saving the lifes of the military.

I seem to recall the right doing exactly that at some point during the Bush Administration, but I could be wrong.

However, perhaps we can go one thread without partisan politics and without having that need to attack Obama? :eusa_eh:
 

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