ARMY SUICIDES: The Most Alarming and Tragically Hidden Secret in America
by Mike Fayette
Policymic.com, July 15, 2012
A cursory glance at recent media reporting exposes the important issues we Americans are most concerned about – the looming presidential election, our long-suffering economic condition, the Penn State scandal and Tom and Katie’s break up.
If you’re interested in our military’s involvement in Afghanistan, our successes and failures, the names of those killed, etc., then you’ll have to search more aggressively. The fact is, America’s media, and perhaps the American people, have generally lost interest in the decade-long war.
There is however one story about the war that recently made headlines. Time magazine’s July 23, 2012 cover read, “ONE A DAY: Every day, one U.S. soldier commits suicide. Why the military can’t defeat its most insidious enemy,” by Mark Thompson and Nancy Gibbs.
Time’s story shared the secret, “More U.S. military personnel have died by suicide since the war in Afghanistan began, than those who have died during combat.
The rate jumped 80% from 2004 to 2008, and while it leveled off in 2010 and 2011, it has soared 18% this year. Suicide has passed road accidents as the leading noncombat cause of death among U.S. troops.”
Compare the rate of suicide among our service members to the national average and you shouldn’t be surprised.
As reported by FT.com in 2010, an internal U.S. Army report revealed “160 active duty soldiers took their lives in the 2009 fiscal year, putting the Army suicide rate at a record 20.2 per 100,000, exceeding the national average of 19.2…” And that trend isn’t new.
According to a March 2011 Examiner.com story, “As of 2008, the suicide rate in the military has surpassed that of the civilian population, and it has steadily increased since that time. Before the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts began in 2001, the rate was rarely over 10 per 100,000.”
But here is the part that may surprise you.
As the Time article continued, “[n]early a third of the suicides from 2005 to 2010 were among troops who had never been deployed; 43% had deployed only once. Only 8.5% had deployed three or four times.”
This is of course sad and tragic. And as this information suggests, we can’t just write off these suicides as a post-traumatic stress-induced epidemic. No, there’s something else here.
Read the rest of this story:
Watch interviews with Time Magazine’s Mark Thompson and Nancy Gibbs:
Read related stories on military suicide from Time Magazine:
The War On Suicide? (for subscribers only)