Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The quick and the dead

By Libby

Well, this is just horrible. CBS News did an investigative report and discovered there is a suicide epidemic going on among our war veterans, particularly those newly home from Iraq.

It found that veterans were more than twice as likely to commit suicide in 2005 than non-vets. (Veterans committed suicide at the rate of between 18.7 to 20.8 per 100,000, compared to other Americans, who did so at the rate of 8.9 per 100,000.)

One age group stood out. Veterans aged 20 through 24, those who have served during the war on terror. They had the highest suicide rate among all veterans, estimated between two and four times higher than civilians the same age. (The suicide rate for non-veterans is 8.3 per 100,000, while the rate for veterans was found to be between 22.9 and 31.9 per 100,000.)

Even worse, CBS had to go through a lot of trouble to compile those statistics. Our own government doesn't have a central tracking system to keep tabs on what happens to our soldiers once they've served their purpose as cannon fodder.

Bush likes to tell us we have to stay in Iraq to "fight them there so the terrorists won't follow us home." Unfortunately for our veterans, too many can't escape the horror of war even after they put their weapons down and our government has failed horribly in protecting them from the demons that hitched a ride home in their heads.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Connecticut Man1 said...

These statistics, and the serious issues that it raises, could have easily been found quite a while ago if the Media paid a little more attention to the great work going on in the the left Blogosphere.

As per usual the media is way behind the curve in what it labels as "News"... But at least they are covering the issue, even if they are almost a year behind the Blogs.

1:30:00 PM  
Anonymous swampcracker said...

Connecticut Man1, Colonel Ann Wright (retired), a columnist for TruthOut, is one of those persons reporting on this issue for over a year. I recommend her work highly.

Repeated deployments and stop loss orders (those that prevent personnel from leaving the military even if they wanted, i.e. threats of prosecution) contribute to the high rates of suicide. Please note: One cause of suicidal ideation is the feeling of being trapped with no means of flight or escape.

Furthermore, my daughter (who is currently on her third deployment in Iraq so far) tells me that the deployment burden is not being equally shared across the military. According to her, only 20% of Army personnel are bearing this burden of repeated deployments; 80% in cushy positions tend to keep those positions due to cronyism.

Thus, an overwhelming injustice plus the feeling being trapped is what drives these suicide rates. This is yet another sad and tragic consequence of the Bush Adminsitration's handing of the Iraq War.

Our only hope: Spread the word and help raise public awareness.

2:34:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

It makes me want to break crockery I get so disgusted with our government.

3:34:00 PM  

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