More on the Toll of War….
At a recent Pentagon news conference, a U.S. Army spokesman reported that the suicide rate of active duty soldiers could surpass last year’s record rate.
Here. Oh, and a running count of failed attempts to ‘get Palin’. But . . . but . . . “She didn’t mention that military suicide might actually rise enough to be on par with those of the civilian population! Tsk Tsk.”
Some people . . . .
Not that the redoubtable Michael J needs me to defend him, but….
First off, Iafrate’s point may be a bit ungenerous, but it is not even in the same universe as the certifiably whacky stuff that PolitiCatholica links to. So speaking of whacky smears…..
Much more importantly, if PolitiCatholica’s point is that military suicides are only on par with civilian suicides and so no problem, then it’s sadly off base. To begin with, let’s remember this story originates with an Army press conference, not a liberal blogger. Here is more from a Washington Post story which explains why rates being on par with the civilian rate are such a concern to the military:
The officials voiced concern that an array of Army programs aimed at suicide prevention has not checked a years-long rise in the suicide rate. Still, they said, the number of deaths probably would have climbed even more without such efforts.
“What does success look like? Frankly, we do not know,” said Col. Eddie Stephens, deputy director for human resources under the Army’s personnel division.
The Army’s suicide rate has increased from 12.4 per 100,000 in 2003, when the Iraq war started, to 18.1 per 100,000 last year. Suicide attempts by soldiers have also increased since 2003, Stephens said.
This year the death rate is likely to exceed that of a demographically similar segment of the U.S. population — 19.5 per 100,000, Stephens said. According to service officials, the last time that occurred was in the late 1960s during the Vietnam War, when the United States had a draft Army that suffered from serious discipline problems. In 1973, the nation created an all-volunteer force that has generally enjoyed an above-average level of mental health, a condition contradicted by the recent rise in suicides.
More troubling still, remember that this is the suicide rate among active military personnel only. A longitudinal study showed that the suicide rate among male veterans is about twice as high as that of the general population, and – although no precise numbers are available – there is evidence that the rate is significantly higher still among Iraqi veterans.
I think it’s perfectly fair to wonder why McCain and Palin have not talked about the terrible toll these wars are taking on our soldiers.
Of course, McCain, Palin, and bloggers like PolitiCatholica are perfectly free to ignore this, to pretend it’s not a problem. But I don’t see how you can do that and claim to support the troops….