Army Suicides Soar Past 2008's Pace
The day after the shooting at a combat stress clinic in Iraq, new data released to Salon shows soldiers committing suicide at a record-setting pace. Is combat stress the reason?
The Army is on a pace this year to shatter the record suicide rate set among soldiers in 2008, according to data released by the Army to Salon. And the numbers, obtained a day after a patient at a combat stress clinic in Iraq killed five, suggest that combat stress may be contributing to the spike in suicides.
Exhaused and stressed troops are our responsibility. Trying to cheat them out of benefits or push them out into homelessness and unemployment after we have "used them up" is immoral, unpatriotic and wrong. It has to be stopped.
'This Is Mental Health, Military-Style'
But long-time observers of the U.S. military say the shooting shows all the signs of a soldier pushed to the brink of insanity by repeated and consistent exposure to war. The 44-year-old Russell had spent many years of his life at war when he allegedly opened fire and killed five of his fellow soldiers. Russell was drawing to the end of his third tour in Iraq and had also served deployments in Bosnia and Kosovo.
"It was tragic, but unfortunately it doesn't surprise me given the way we're recycling them in and out of war zones," said Shad Meshad, head of the National Veterans Foundation, which runs a toll free hotline for soldiers having difficulty adjusting to civilian life.
"We are not doing a good job of treating these people as they serve two, three, or four tours in a combat zone," he added.
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