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  1. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    18 Jan '13 09:18
    Last year more serving U.S. troops died as a result of suicide than were killed in combat in Afghanistan [and this does not include the alarming rate among veterans]. Why are so many soldiers - in increasing numbers - taking their own lives? What can be done to reduce the number?
  2. Standard member sasquatch672
    Don't Like It Leave
    18 Jan '13 12:31
    Originally posted by FMF
    Last year more serving U.S. troops died as a result of suicide than were killed in combat in Afghanistan [and this does not include the alarming rate among veterans]. Why are so many soldiers - in increasing numbers - taking their own lives? What can be done to reduce the number?
    Very simply, because combat produces stressors that are both more pronounced and more durable than other environments. You can see a broken leg, but you can't see a broken mind. There's also a criminal lack of treatment, due to a) the stigmatization of mental disorders by the military's macho mindset and b) the unspoken understanding of the military that if they did acknowledge the numbers of veterans with some kind of combat-related mental disorder, the costs of treatment and disability payments would stagger the military budget.
  3. 18 Jan '13 12:37
    Originally posted by sasquatch672
    Very simply, because combat produces stressors that are both more pronounced and more durable than other environments. You can see a broken leg, but you can't see a broken mind. There's also a criminal lack of treatment, due to a) the stigmatization of mental disorders by the military's macho mindset and b) the unspoken understanding of the military t ...[text shortened]... l disorder, the costs of treatment and disability payments would stagger the military budget.
    I know that if there was an emergency like a war or something
    then you might have conscription or a draft. In that kind of situation
    every able bodied person is needed.

    But in other circumstances, is it not possible for the military to have
    more rigorous checks on people before they pass them fit for military service?
    If they had these checks and balances at the starting point would it not avoid
    tragedy and the end point?
  4. Standard member sasquatch672
    Don't Like It Leave
    18 Jan '13 15:40 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by johnnylongwoody
    I know that if there was an emergency like a war or something
    then you might have conscription or a draft. In that kind of situation
    every able bodied person is needed.

    But in other circumstances, is it not possible for the military to have
    more rigorous checks on people before they pass them fit for military service?
    If they had these checks and balances at the starting point would it not avoid
    tragedy and the end point?
    I have to tell you, predicting how people will react to combat stress is impossible - unless you want to say that prolonged exposure is almost certain to have some negative effect on almost everybody. For some people, a single initiating event is enough; for other people, the cumulative effect is significant. But investing in that would be an acknowledgment that there's a problem. They're getting better at it, but they've got a long way to go.

    The short answer to your question is no, unfortunately l.
  5. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    18 Jan '13 15:53
    Originally posted by sasquatch672
    Very simply, because combat produces stressors that are both more pronounced and more durable than other environments.
    Why do you think the rates are increasing? What is different about the environments nowadays that make the rates of suicide higher now than in the past?
  6. Standard member sasquatch672
    Don't Like It Leave
    18 Jan '13 16:06
    Originally posted by FMF
    Why do you think the rates are increasing? What is different about the environments nowadays that make the rates of suicide higher now than in the past?
    That's a very difficult call, a very complex answer, and one I'm not fit to answer fully. If I had to take a stab at it, I'd say that the length of the deployments, the very high operational tempo (deployments are now, for some units, back to back for the first time in US history), the inability to remove oneself or be removed from the environment in a non-emergency situation (most countries take combat troops off the front lines in regular intervals, and for prolonged periods; the US does not), the sheer horrors of war, loss of one's friends, the greatly enhanced chance that a soldier will survive battlefield injuries (ironic - the improvement in combat medicine eventually has the effect that some of the soldiers who would have died on the battlefield will die by their own hand), the absolutely inadequate state of veteran mental aftercare - I think these are some but by no means all of the factors that contribute.
  7. Standard member bill718
    Enigma
    18 Jan '13 21:34 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by FMF
    Last year more serving U.S. troops died as a result of suicide than were killed in combat in Afghanistan [and this does not include the alarming rate among veterans]. Why are so many soldiers - in increasing numbers - taking their own lives? What can be done to reduce the number?
    Here is an idea to reduce the suicide rate among our soldiers: Stop trying to police the whole globe ourselves, work with the world community, rather than try to do everything ourselves.
  8. Standard member sasquatch672
    Don't Like It Leave
    18 Jan '13 21:53
    Originally posted by bill718
    Here is an idea to reduce the suicide rate among our soldiers: Stop trying to police the whole globe ourselves, work with the world community, rather than try to do everything ourselves.
    Once again, your true colors are on display. You take a nonpolitical discussion about a tragic subject and politicize it. Just like you did with the Newtown massacre. All class there, you.
  9. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    19 Jan '13 00:18
    Originally posted by sasquatch672
    Once again, your true colors are on display. You take a nonpolitical discussion about a tragic subject and politicize it. Just like you did with the Newtown massacre. All class there, you.
    I think - with the comment about "trying to police the whole globe" - bill718 is addressing the stuff you said about length of the deployments, the very high operational tempos and the back to back deployments etc.
  10. 19 Jan '13 01:13
    Originally posted by sasquatch672
    Very simply, because combat produces stressors that are both more pronounced and more durable than other environments. You can see a broken leg, but you can't see a broken mind. There's also a criminal lack of treatment, due to a) the stigmatization of mental disorders by the military's macho mindset and b) the unspoken understanding of the military t ...[text shortened]... l disorder, the costs of treatment and disability payments would stagger the military budget.
    I think there may be other issues as well, among them what I brought up in the variety of gun threads, which is that a staggering number of young men and boys are routinely put on powerful psychotropic drugs. I don't know what the policy on accepting these lads into the military is. I have read that suicide is epidemic among young people at large, not just in the military.

    If there are mental health issues in the population at large, they are bound to be magnified in combat soldiers.
  11. 19 Jan '13 01:17
    Why are they killing themselves? I just can't understand it. After all, places like Afghanistan makes a swell place to live for a decade or so with little to no respites. Add to that girlfriends and wives who give up on their marriage and there you have it. It makes no sense to me either.
  12. 19 Jan '13 01:24
    Originally posted by FMF
    I think - with the comment about "trying to police the whole globe" - bill718 is addressing the stuff you said about length of the deployments, the very high operational tempos and the back to back deployments etc.
    I tend to agree with you and bill on this one. It is a necessary part of reducing our government spending, which can't be ignored.

    The US, and no other nation can afford to patrol and fix all the political brush fires around the world, especially when the deployments end up with nation building, attempting to fix up parts of the planet that have been virtually ungoverned and ungovernable for long periods of time.

    The real trick is to right size a military to a smarter mission, and to get it past Congress which is always regionally aware of what facilities are going to be downsized or eliminated. Republicans tend to want the status quo, and Democrats just want to hack the military budget, without regard to mission specifics, or making it leaner and smarter.
  13. 19 Jan '13 01:29
    Originally posted by bill718
    Here is an idea to reduce the suicide rate among our soldiers: Stop trying to police the whole globe ourselves, work with the world community, rather than try to do everything ourselves.
    What I don't understand are those that support Big Government but then scratch their heads when this all powerful government begins to meddle internatinoally as well.

    It's the nature of the beast.
  14. Standard member sasquatch672
    Don't Like It Leave
    19 Jan '13 17:31
    Originally posted by FMF
    I think - with the comment about "trying to police the whole globe" - bill718 is addressing the stuff you said about length of the deployments, the very high operational tempos and the back to back deployments etc.
    Maybe he's had so many anti-Republican things to say that I interpreted that post as blaming the soldier for going where he was ordered to go.
  15. 19 Jan '13 18:25
    i suspect people are more comfortable talking about mental issues these days and having war related mental issues is taken more seriously by medical organisations, which in turn makes more people feel confident about being taken seriously if they go to the doctors. i think these issues could alone account for the increase in reported cases.