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Grim Milestone: Soldier Suicides Outnumber Combat Deaths in 2012

We’ve grown accustomed to accepting the deaths of soldiers who lost their lives in combat, but few people are ready to face the grim truth that soldier soldiersuicides have now outpaced combat deaths.

Data released by the Department of the Army shows that through November, there have been 303 active-duty, Reserve and National Guard soldiers committed suicide. As of Dec. 7, Stars and Stripes reports that 212 soldiers have died in combat-related deaths in Afghanistan, well below the number of suicides.

This is a disturbing trend, not only for the families of those soldiers who took their own lives, but for military brass as well.

CBS DC reports:

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4 Responses to Grim Milestone: Soldier Suicides Outnumber Combat Deaths in 2012

  1. Steve

    December 31, 2012 at 2:48 am

    Ever since the Vietnam War, which led voters to push, successfully, for Congress to end the military draft of all 18 year old males, we’ve had the “poverty draft,” where, for want of decent jobs, underemployed youth turn to the U.S. military for a career or at least a few years of steady work.
    But nothing can prepare a person for the horrors of combat, witnessing horrendous deaths a maimings of fellow soldiers and of locals by our own guns. Nothing is more shocking to the human body-heart-mind than to find oneself to have killed “enemy” human beings and to find oneself wanting to kill again.
    Most soldiers come back from combat with post-traumatic stress disorder, what used to be called combat fatigue. And the Veterans Administration is failing to honor its duty to most of our soldiers who needed intense individual and group therapy to heal the terrible wounds that come with being immersed in the terror and violence of battle.
    I recommend two books of great importance to the well-being of veterans:
    Aaron Glantz’s The War Comes Home: Washington’s Battle Against America’s Veterans (2009), which has a lot of valuable references and studies vets can make great use of to get what they have earned, and
    Winter Soldier, Iraq and Afghanistan: Eyewitness Accounts of the Occupations
    A third book, On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society, by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, is also a book every public library should have, so civilians can know that most soldiers, just like most civilians, don’t ever want to kill another human being. He also goes into great detail about the kinds of things that lead to the suffering our grown kids come home with from having experienced the many horrors of combat. Books like these can help a great deal for those of us who’ve never gone to battle to better understand and support our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters who have made that sacrifice for our county.