The suicide rate among the nation’s active-duty military personnel has spiked this year, eclipsing the number of troops dying in battle and on pace to set a record annual high since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan more than a decade ago, the Pentagon said Friday.
The military said Friday that there had been 154 suicides among active-duty troops through Thursday, a rate of nearly one each day this year. The figures were first reported this week by The Associated Press.That number represents an 18 percent increase over the 130 active-duty military suicides for the same period in 2011. There were 123 suicides from January to early June in 2010, and 133 during that period in 2009, the Pentagon said.
Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, called suicides among active-duty military personnel “the tip of the iceberg.” He cited a survey the group conducted this year among its 160,000 members that found that 37 percent knew someone who had committed suicide.Mr. Rieckhoff attributed the rise in military suicides to too few qualified mental health professionals, aggravated by the stigma of receiving counseling and further compounded by family stresses and financial problems. The unemployment rate among military families is a particular problem, he said.
Saturday, June 9, 2012
I'm not sure how much more I can say about this, or say something I haven't said already over the past five years on this blog. I can't remember the first time I used the phrase "national shame" in reference to military suicides, but it was many years ago.
While the partisan idiots sit in Washington "fighting" (as if they know anything about combat) over stupidity like "Taxmageddon" and the clownish nature of the 2012 presidential election, we have a wave of active-duty and returning vets coming home to a wrecked economy (for those in the working classes), an unresponsive government that demonizes those on the public payroll, and an indifferent citizenry (despite all the "remember the troops!" jingoism just last week on Memorial Day).
Bravo, America. Y'see, you really don't care about the troops. And the men and women in uniform know it.