Yet another surge by the US military.

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Happybunny, Jun 8, 2012.

  1. macrumors 68000

    Happybunny

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    #1
    I suppose that this was going to happen sooner or later, after 10 years of war for no real success.

    For all it's vaulted power it looks like the wheels are starting to come off the military.

    Don't you look after these people after they served your country, or are they just disposable.


    U.S. military suicide rate surges
    The Associated Press Posted: Jun 7, 2012 7:04 PM ET Last Updated: Jun 7, 2012 6:57 PM ET Read 12 comments12
    The 2012 active-duty suicide total of 154 through June 3 compares to 130 in the same period last year, an 18 per cent increase, The Associated Press found. (Mario Tama/Associated Press)


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    Suicides are surging among America's troops, averaging nearly one a day this year — the fastest pace in the nation's decade of war.

    The 154 suicides for active-duty troops in the first 155 days of the year far outdistance the U.S. forces killed in action in Afghanistan — about 50 per cent more — according to Pentagon statistics obtained by The Associated Press.

    The numbers reflect a military burdened with wartime demands from Iraq and Afghanistan that have taken a greater toll than foreseen a decade ago. The military also is struggling with increased sexual assaults, alcohol abuse, domestic violence and other misbehaviour.

    Because suicides had levelled off in 2010 and 2011, this year's upswing has caught some officials by surprise.

    The reasons for the increase are not fully understood. Among explanations, studies have pointed to combat exposure, post-traumatic stress, misuse of prescription medications and personal financial problems. Army data suggest soldiers with multiple combat tours are at greater risk of committing suicide, although a substantial proportion of Army suicides are committed by soldiers who never deployed.

    The unpopular war in Afghanistan is winding down with the last combat troops scheduled to leave at the end of 2014. But this year has seen record numbers of soldiers being killed by Afghan troops, and there also have been several scandals involving U.S. troop misconduct.

    The 2012 active-duty suicide total of 154 through June 3 compares to 130 in the same period last year, an 18 per cent increase. And it's more than the 136.2 suicides that the Pentagon had projected for this period based on the trend from 2001-2011. This year's January-May total is up 25 per cent from two years ago, and it is 16 per cent ahead of the pace for 2009, which ended with the highest yearly total thus far.

    Suicide totals have exceeded U.S. combat deaths in Afghanistan in earlier periods, including for the full years 2008 and 2009.

    The suicide pattern varies over the course of a year, but in each of the past five years the trend through May was a reliable predictor for the full year, according to a chart based on figures provided by the Armed Forces Medical Examiner.

    The numbers are rising among the 1.4 million active-duty military personnel despite years of effort to encourage troops to seek help with mental health problems. Many in the military believe that going for help is seen as a sign of weakness and thus a potential threat to advancement.

    Kim Ruocco, widow of Marine Maj. John Ruocco, a helicopter pilot who hanged himself in 2005 between Iraq deployments, said he was unable to bring himself to go for help.

    "He was so afraid of how people would view him once he went for help," she said in an interview at her home in suburban Boston. "He thought that people would think he was weak, that people would think he was just trying to get out of redeploying or trying to get out of service, or that he just couldn't hack it - when, in reality, he was sick. He had suffered injury in combat and he had also suffered from depression and let it go untreated for years. And because of that, he's dead today."

    Numbers troubling
    Jackie Garrick, head of a newly established Defence Suicide Prevention Office at the Pentagon, said in an interview Thursday that the suicide numbers this year are troubling.

    "We are very concerned at this point that we are seeing a high number of suicides at a point in time where we were expecting to see a lower number of suicides," she said, adding that the weak U.S. economy may be confounding preventive efforts even as the pace of military deployments eases.

    Dr. Stephen N. Xenakis, a retired Army brigadier general and a practicing psychiatrist, said the suicides reflect the level of tension as the U.S. eases out of Afghanistan though violence continues.

    "It's a sign in general of the stress the Army has been under over the 10 years of war," he said in an interview. "We've seen before that these signs show up even more dramatically when the fighting seems to go down and the Army is returning to garrison."

    The military services have set up confidential telephone hotlines, placed more mental health specialists on the battlefield, added training in stress management, invested more in research on mental health risk and taken other measures.

    The suicide numbers began surging in 2006. They soared in 2009 and then levelled off before climbing again this year. The statistics include only active-duty troops, not veterans who returned to civilian life after fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan. Nor does the Pentagon's tally include non-mobilized National Guard or Reserve members — part-time troops who normally divide time between civilian life and military services.


    http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2012/06/07/us-soldier-suicide-war.html
     
  2. macrumors 6502a

    (marc)

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  3. macrumors 68000

    VulchR

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    #3
    Fewer weapons would be a good thing. Less need for soldiers would be a good thing. Rather more compassion for soldiers and their families than your post seems to indicate would be a good thing.
     
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    leekohler

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    #4
    What a disgusting thing to say. Unbelievable.
     
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    iJohnHenry

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    #5

    Marc
    el, keep your insensitive thoughts to yourself, please.

    Sadly, I believe he's a Canadian. :( Thankfully, I also think he's from Québec. :D
     
  6. macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #6

    Really, dude?
     
  7. macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #7
    Only if it's because they have chosen a different profession.
     
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    Huntn

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    #8
    To reinforce my view that war harms everyone involved, an excellent article on the effects of war in Newsweek- The Things War Makes You See. A story of a war reporter who has entertained thoughts of suicide since reporting on the variety of wars involving the U.S. It's more than the desire for death, it's the desire to remove the mental pain. It's a downer article but food for thought.

    This morning MSNBC reported that the suicide rate in the military for the last year equals one soldier per day, more deaths than attributed to combat.
     
  9. macrumors 68020

    niuniu

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    #9
    Anecdote..

    A friend of ours had his Mini Cooper done in by his next door neighbour earlier in the year. This neighbour turns up at their doorstep at all hours of the night tryin to get in, sometimes he's quite aggressive.

    The neighbour is an ex-soldier, quite young, back from Afghanistan over a year ago. He's completely nuts, but he has no support. No family or friends visit him, he seems to have no treatment - no-one except the neighbours seem to care.

    People in that area are quite nice so they sympathise with his unusual behaviour, but they're a bit sick of him, even started calling the police to handle him when he's being aggressive.

    Really pathetic how 'they' fill young guys heads full of nonsense about defending your country then shipping them back, clearly a bit disturbed and not supporting them.

    I have another anecdote about a childhood friend of mine, but he was a bit weird even before was shipped off. Think whatever he experienced simply exacerbated it.
     
  10. citizenzen, Jun 8, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2012

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    citizenzen

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    #10
    I totally agree.

    But it isn't just young guys' heads that are filled with this nonsense. U.S. society is constantly sold this bill of goods and brainlessly believe much of it.

    What concerns me the most is how entrenched this mindset is, and long it will take for our society to demilitarize. I doubt any real change will happen in my lifetime.

    It is such a waste.

    Edit: For example, now that things are winding down in the Middle East, we're moving warships from there to the Pacific Ocean as a show of force to China. The military is a self-pertetuating machine ... always looking for and creating the next conflict, the next reason for being.
     
  11. macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #11

    I just finished Rachel Maddow'as book, 'Drift'. Was an excelelnt read about how easy it has become for the US to wage war and how far removed the vast majority of Americans are from it. Highly recommended.
     
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    Eraserhead

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    #12
    If we're going to do it we have to support them afterwards, sad story :(.
     
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    skunk

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    #13
    Hust in case you thought it was a problem confined to the US, there were more UK servicemen behind bars in 2009 than were serving in Afghanistan. An estimated 8,500 in jail and over 20,000 in the criminal justice system as a whole. That's 1 in 10 of the prison population.
     
  14. macrumors G3

    Huntn

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    #14
    My vote is share the gain, share the pain, at least 4 years mandatory service/draft. For training purposes, 2 years does not meet an adequate cost ratio benefit.

    Under our volunteer system, the vast majority are separated from the pain. We have soldiers on their 4th-5th tour of duty loosing their marriages and in some cases their minds, if not their limbs and life. Start rounding up high roller's kids and send them off the war and beside the ability to kid ourselves how much it cost in $, it might actually make us think twice sending young adults off to die, as in finding a worthy cause first. Saddam was not it. And IMO, occupying Afghanistan for the last X years was not worth it.
     
  15. macrumors 65816

    citizenzen

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    #15
    Militarize society even more?

    No. Thank. You.
     
  16. macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #16
    Sparta lasted quite a while. Think of it as giving Darwin a helping hand.
     
  17. macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #17
    How many servicemen are there in total?
     
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    skunk

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    #18
    220,000 regulars in active service, give or take.
     
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    mcrain

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    #19
    I say kill two birds with one stone. We need to give these men and women help, they are looking for work, and we have a sputtering economy. I say for every year of military service, you have a guaranteed job doing infrastructure or other specialized work in the US. If that means creating a new branch of the military to perform services for society, then so be it. It would be cost effective and be a good way to help these people who sacrificed so much.
     
  20. macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    #20
    Sadly I'm not surprised by these suicide statistics.

    There is sooooo much wrong with the military (I know from personal experience) that its simply too long to list.

    A few highlights would be:

    -People who are in charge, often should not be in charge. Pretty much anyone can get promoted in the military and its a terrible thing.

    -Command does not take suicide threats seriously. They usually see it as a tactic to avoid deployment or try and go home if on deployment.

    -Injured soldiers should not be put back on the battle field (until they are healed, and even then it should be subjective). I couldn't believe how many times I saw soldiers on crutches while in Iraq. They are obviously NOT battle ready and should be sent home to heal.

    -Unnecessary taking of down time. Humans need some down time, but the military often disagrees. In my unit, anyone e-5 and below worked 18 hours every day, and would have to do an hour of detail when we got off of work. E6 and higher did not have to work on the missions and stayed in their tents all day and read, watched movies, and slept.

    The lower enlist bared the brunt of work. People were stressed, people talked about killing the command (in joke, but still), and eventually an inspector general had to come in to resolve the situation (by relieving the entire command and demoting the hell out of a ton of people). The entire situation should have never have happened, but sadly you see it in many many units.

    Thats just a few thing but in short, the military is VERY poorly run.
     
  21. thread starter macrumors 68000

    Happybunny

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    #21
    Those are some terrible stories about returning military personal.

    I would have thought that the US would have had a far better safety net, given the major problems during and after the Vietnam war.:(
     
  22. macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #22
    You would think but mental health in this country has such a negative stigma to it that people are afraid to get help. That goes double for the military.

    I get strange looks when people find out I am in antidepressants
     
  23. macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #23

    I'm all for national service but not only in the military.

    What we've done to our soldiers and their families the past 10 years in criminal.

    Her book spends a lot of time on the increasing use of contractors which allows war to be waged with a volunteer army. In some cases, we've had as many contractors in theater as soldiers.
     
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    iJohnHenry

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    #24
    Alas, conscription interferes with Darwin's theory.

    But a volunteer army, now we're talkin'. ;)
     
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    skunk

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    #25
    I don't suppose the "contractors" fare much better, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of dead, innocent foreign people who have been slaughtered for peace - and political expediency. War is a poor substitute for common humanity.
     

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