U.S. Troop Suicides Need Proper Definition
Suicide statistics among service members belonging to demobilized reserve units are both unknown and unreported
Gasparilla Gazette, June 13, 2012
Memorial Day, America’s most somber holiday, was defined this year by disheartening war news from the Associated Press.
Troop suicides, little-acknowledged war casualties, have outpaced the number of troops killed in action by 50 percent so far this year.
The U.S. Army reported 154 suicides among active-duty troops in the first 155 days of 2012.
The one-a-day rate is unexpectedly high. AP calls it “the fastest pace in the nation’s decade of war.”
These deaths are an American tragedy. And the numbers are much worse than they appear at first glance.
Non-active duty reservists are not counted among the war dead by the military. Returning vets under Veterans Administration care are omitted, too. Returning vets not enrolled in the VA system are also ignored.
That’s an estimated two-thirds of U.S. troops deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq, many more than once. The military does not acknowledge these suicide deaths.
These unacknowledged, unreported military deaths are an American shame.
Veteran suicides are troop suicides – even if they were committed technically out of service.
They all count and must be included as we tally our casualties of war.
Only in this way can the full impact of deployment, and of military service, be addressed with proper training, intervention and treatment without fear.
We owe our military personnel and their families nothing less.
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