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U.S. soldier suicides the highest on record

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The U.S. Army said Thursday 115 soldiers on active duty committed suicide in 2007, the most in one year since the service began keeping records in 1980. Nearly a thousand soldiers attempted suicide.

The spike came in a year that saw the highest U.S. casualties in Iraq and increased levels of violence in Afghanistan.

Barack Obama, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, called it "a tragic reminder of the staggering and ongoing costs of the Iraq war, particularly on our troops and their families."

Army officials acknowledged that long and repeated combat deployments were a major source of stress in soldiers' lives, but they found no direct relationship between increased conflict and suicides.

"In terms of this current conflict, we see a lot of things going on in the war which do contribute," said Colonel Elspeth Ritchie.

"Mainly it is the long time and multiple deployments away from home, the exposure to really terrifying and horrifying things, the easy availability of loaded weapons, and, of course, its very, very busy right now," she said.

In a report, the army said the 115 confirmed suicides raised the suicide rate to 18.8% per thousand for the active duty army in 2007, or 16.6% if based on a larger pool that includes reservists on active duty.

The suicide rate among active service members was 17.3 per 100,000 in 2006, compared to 12.8 in 2005 and 10.8 in 2004. In 2001 the rate was 9.8 per 100,000.

The suicide rate for the U.S. population, adjusted for the age group and gender, is 19.5%.

"It's the highest number since the army has been keeping records," Colonel Thomas Languirand said of the suicides in 2007.

He said the trend is holding in 2008. So far this year there have been 38 confirmed suicides and 12 suspected cases, he said.

© AFP

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

19 Comments
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Truly sad. I wonder how many of these were troops deployed to a hostile zone. A bit more analysis is needed to find out who these troops were, where they were stationed, and so forth. It wouldn't make sense for troops stationed in a safe area to be increasing their suicide rates.

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Nah, ain't happening.

The way hear these pro-war posters, they ought to be proud to wear that uniform and quit worrying about this PTSD.

They are all for tax cuts that take more money away from VA Hospitals.

And the system is rigged where if you admit to having mental problems, then they swiftly discharge you for some lame reason, then it's societies problem.

I've got two sons and a son-n-law on active duty. One of the sons goes to a phychiatrist. But he has to go on his off hours and pays for the Rx cash. If he went to sick-call about this, they'd kick him out.

But, it's perfectly alright to send these boys and girls overseas 2, 3 or 4 times.

It's not that there are a few who want multiple tours; they all are being forced to do multiple tours.

I'd love to see the draft re-instated.

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Who can blame them? Go to war on lies, risk their lives for the profit of a few super-rich, get thrown in the sewer when they get home (if!), and ALL for nothing! Sad state of affairs, all around, but no one should be surprised by it.

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Woowww- the bogus story that refuses to die-

I'm just making it up, of course, that suicides for American males in this age group are high over all- and kinda sorta lower for young males that are in the American military.

And the last time I saw this on JT, most of these suicides occurred among troops that hadn't even been deployed overseas yet. This apparently is the case this time, as well- I'll have to confirm the news piece I just viewed on American television.

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You are pilloried by journalists and newscasters. They consider you to be little more than man-child, forgetting that you are entrusted with defending their right to freedom of speech. You are likened to Nazis by one of the most influential senators from the very political party whose president led the nation in defeating Nazism and fascism 60 years ago. You are attacked and spat on when on university campuses.You are attacked and beaten on the nation's highways and on trains in the nation's capital by your fellow citizens, who protest just about any military endeavor that might further American aims. The same people insist that they object to your propensity for unnecessary and unjust violence. Major newspapers like the New York Times openly disclose anti-terrorism efforts, your buddies die as a result. And when your efforts in Iraq begin to succeed the national media cuts coverage of the war by 92 percent. I imagine the temptation to end it all would overwhelm at times.

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Who can blame them? Go to war on lies, risk their lives for the profit of a few super-rich, get thrown in the sewer when they get home (if!), and ALL for nothing! Sad state of affairs, all around, but no one should be surprised by it.

Read the article again, smith, and ask yourself if there are any facts supporting you claim or if your statement is just an emotional outburst. Read it calmly, think about it, then post your thoughts.

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Who can blame them? Go to war on lies, risk their lives for the profit of a few super-rich,

This part of smithinjapan's statement is true.

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This part of smithinjapan's statement is true.

Actually, no, it's not. It's an unsubstantiated claim based entirely on emotion.

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Really, adaydream? Are you sure about that? I'm actuve duty, and I know for sure that they don't kick you out for seeking psychiatric care. I do, however, know that there are many individuals around me that get care, and don't get kicked out. What it sounds like, without trying to be condenscending (sp), is that he is told by people who don't know what they are talking about, crap that is told to them by others who have no idea what is going on, things that they have heard through the "friend of a friend" about these things. I hear it everyday, if it isn't about this, it's just other assorted misinformation. I'm not saying they would have done it intentionally, but it does happen. It's called rumors and gossip.

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Or, through the ineptitude of military doctors (I know, that just doesn't happen...), they decided, in their infinite wisdom, that there was nothing wrong, and wouldn't give him the referral. I don't mean to sound like I don't believe what anyone has to say, I just like to look at all the facts and kind of play the devil's advocate.

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It's tragic that so many are dying, and terrible that the army are giving them the tools to do it.

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adaydream,

A draft is the only way for a democracy to defend itself. It is the best and final check against unnecessary war.

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The army appears to have studied this problem and found there is no relationship between increased conflict and suicides. Then Colonel Ritchie says that what does contribute (to the suicides presumably) are:

...the long time and multiple deployments away from home, the exposure to really terrifying and horrifying things, the easy availability of loaded weapons, and, of course, its very, very busy right now...

I'm not sure in what way this does not describe conflict.

From a common-sense point of view--yes, I know, not always the best indicator--it is a little reminiscent of the tobacco industry not finding any links between smoking and cancer or chemical companies not finding any significant relationship between buried waste and sickness at Love Canal.

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"A draft is the only way for a democracy to defend itself. It is the best and final check against unnecessary war."

Very amusing. I think I can guess the economic corollary: “From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need”

People like you (and zadaydream) undoubtedly thought you were scaring some sense into Americans (and getting John Kerry elected) by telling them only three and a half years ago that "BushCo" was going to reinstate the draft.

Make up your mind.

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super_delegate,

If you can find my posts from three and a half years ago, you'll find that I was saying the same thing then. I think you've guessed wrong about the economic corollary, though. But that would be the problem: you're guessing and you're having a dialogue with yourself and not with anything that I have to say.

If you'd like to try again and come up with a comment about the draft or about the problem of suicides, I'll certainly try to give you satisfaction. Do people like you do that?

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rtrhead1 - I'm very sure about my post.

I served active duty myself. I just visited my son in Panama City last month. I'm very correct in my post.

I'm glad that you have taken up the call to serve your country, but just because you're on active duty, doesn't mean you know everything going on.

So you are telling me that my son is a liar? Hmmmm...Really?

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Civilian, active duty, in uniform or not, if you're peddling this "epidemic of suicides in the military" story, you're peddling BS.

And since it's been proven by Senator John Kerry that the American soldier represents the segment of the population that didn't even do their homework in high school and got "stuk in Irak", I'm not so sure that JT readers should take seriously the postings of those here claiming to have served in the US military.

But enough of our fuzzy suicide statistics- let's talk about reinstating the draft! 乙支文德

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And this would be BS because...?

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Did I say liar? No. Exagerrating? Possibly. Or, he ran across one of the doctors there who don't know jack, and don't want to deal with it, and would rather tell him that they will kick him out. I'm not saying I know everything, however, knowing what the doctors are constantly harping on us, and continually telling us, is that you don't get kicked out for simply asking for help. Without knowing exactly what is going on with him, and judging from your post, you had implied, well, flat out said that if he went to sickcall, he would get kicked out. I'm saying that isn't how they deal with things. Perhaps if you have something that is very serious and after treatment they can't help him, they may kick him out. But, I am telling you, without intending to bash on anyone, that he is misinformed. You don't get kicked out for asking for help. Things have changed a bit since the days of when doctors looked at psychiatric care as a sign of weakness.

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