More Soldiers Killed by Own Hand than by the Enemy

Regina Gail

Examiner | April 17, 2010

Colorado Springs is a soldier’s city with the U.S. Army’s main Western base Ft .Carson housing thousands of troops and their families, but war-torn, over-deployed heroes are killing themselves and others and “Time” magazine featured the forlorn mountain city as PTSD central.

It’s a dubious distinction that can’t be ignored as the body count (not from the enemy) rises as a direct result of the Middle Eastern wars.

“Time” reported that more soldiers have killed themselves than those who died in combat.

Since the invasion of Afghanistan until last summer, the U.S. lost 761 soldiers in combat – however, a higher number in the service — 817 — had taken their own lives over the same period.

As this posts, Congress is considering more money for the war to the tune of $33 billion. (Call your representative, and tell them what you think of that.)

“Time” online also featured a photo series of the murders attributed to soldiers (suffering from PTSD) from Ft. Carson.
Since 2007, eight men from a single 500-man 4th Infantry battalion nicknamed "Lethal Warriors,” have carried out murders and attempted murders in Colorado Springs. Among those implicated in the crimes are young soldiers back from two, three and four tours in the wars.

A recent Rand Corporation report concluded that one of every five military service members — about 300,000 men and women — are coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and major depression.

This week military officials told a Congressional panel that "A third of the confirmed suicides are committed by troops that had never deployed," “Time” reported.

However, “Time” reports the other two-thirds killed themselves either in a war zone or after returning from one.
"The suicide rate among soldiers who have deployed to [war zones] is higher than for soldiers who have never deployed," Colonel Elspeth Ritchie, a top Army psychiatrist, told a suicide-prevention conference in January.

The Army may be realizing combat “may also play a role” for symptoms. Duh!

“Combat increases fearlessness about death and the capability for suicide," said Craig Bryan, a University of Texas psychologist, briefing Pentagon officials in January.

The combination of combat exposure and ready access to guns can be lethal to anyone contemplating suicide. About half of soldiers who kill themselves use weapons, and the figure rises to 93 percent among those deployed in war zones.

Meanwhile President Barack Obama told the Australia Broadcasting company in an interview this week that troops will be “drawing down” next year and “handing responsibility for security to domestic forces in Afghanistan.”

“We can't be there in perpetuity," Obama said. "Neither the American people nor the Australian people should be asked to carry that burden any longer than it needs to be carried."

Well, the U.S. has a huge responsibility to the heroes who are carrying our butts in these (illegal, some may say) wars. Conflict has been going on in the Middle East for hundreds of years. It’s difficult to know who the enemy is with the Taliban, Al-Qaida and surrounding governments already showing their disloyalty all the way around.

Do we need to sacrifice more young men and women?

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