Army suicide rate highest in 26 years

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by obeygiant, Aug 15, 2007.

  1. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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    #1
    Houston Chronicle

    Not Good.
     
  2. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #2
    It's not really surprising either, is it?

    It's either time to bring them home or start a draft. There are simply no other choices.
     
  3. obeygiant thread starter macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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    Its more sad than surprising to me. And yes, a new direction is needed in Iraq.
     
  4. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #4
    Yeah, out.

    Everyone I know who's been there says things aren't going well and probably won't be any time soon. Some of them were saying it years ago. I've seen lives ruined by this war, families torn apart, and I'm not surprised they're feeling rather hopeless at this point, we all feel that way. Well, most of us. That's why it sickens me to see so many chickenhawks using our troops like cannon fodder while decrying us, saying we're the ones not supporting them. And for what? Nonexistant WMDs, getting rid of a guy who's been gone for awhile now, terrorists that weren't there before we got there, while the real terrorists responsible for the attacks on us are all but ignored because we pulled resources to go to a country that had nothing to do with anything? Just to completely screw things up.

    For those who still don't get it, this is one of the many reasons we're so angry at this administration, and if you don't get that I don't know what to tell you.
     
  5. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #5
    From the CNN article about this:

    "In 2006, the overall suicide rate for the United States was 13.4 per 100,000 people. It was 21.1 per 100,000 people for all men aged 17 to 45, compared to a rate of 17.8 for men in the Army."

    Even with this sad increase, soldiers are psychologically healthier than male civilians in that age group.

    'Rat
     
  6. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #6
    Every one of my relatives and friends in the military who have been or are there, tell me that place isn't worth one more American life. They've been saying it for a long time.
     
  7. nbs2 macrumors 68030

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    But, that would mean getting the whole story rather than the sensational headline.

    What percentage of men 17 to 45 are in the Army (how much does the Army rate skew the overall rate)? And what about the other Armed Forces? I'm curious to see what the rates for the three groups has been over the whole period - maybe the problem has more to do with the direction society is headed than the war in Iraq.
     
  8. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #8
    Umm... that's not unexpected. Look into any organization that screens potential recruits. "Male civilians" includes a whole lot of messed up people that the military would never accept.

    IOW, it's hardly a relevant point.

    And somehow it's not surprising that a report put out by the military would blame everything EXCEPT the stress of extended multiple deployments, poor morale, or feelings of helplessness / hopelessness of being shot at from all sides. Of course it's somebody else's fault.
     
  9. princealfie macrumors 68030

    princealfie

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    #9
    Hmm... rate of suicide rate = suicide bomber rate? :eek::eek::eek:
     
  10. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #10
    Huh?
     
  11. Peterkro macrumors 68020

    Peterkro

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    #11
    A draft is a non-starter,given what happened at the end of the Vietnam war even the neocons are not going to try that.A mercenary army of hired killers is the only way to get people to fight under the conditions of the present wars involving the US.Not that I think a return to the days of fragging would be such a bad thing.
     
  12. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #12
    There's already more private contractors under US pay than there are US military members in Iraq.

    The mercenary army is already well under way.
     
  13. killerrobot macrumors 68020

    killerrobot

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    I heard this story on NPR today and was wondering what the overall suicide rates were. Thanks for posting that info.

    On NPR they said the suicide rate was for only active duty males. I wonder if there were any increases/decreases/stagnation in the off duty category or retired?
     
  14. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    See post #8 above for why comparing the two rates on an equal basis is statistically misleading.
     
  15. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #15
    mac, what protracted engagement were we into, 26 years ago? Why was the rate so high, then?

    Screening or no screening, the fact that the rate is lower than for civilian males of that age group still says that even the stress of combat and IEDs doesn't create a problem that is abnormal.

    I'm not trying to say it's no problem, nor downplay it. But some perspective is called for when the media goes to selling excitement...

    'Rat
     
  16. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    'Rat- when every single person I know in the military tells me this a waste of time, I'm inclined to believe them. That alone would be enough to depress the crap out of me. I can't imagine what our soldiers are going through.
     
  17. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #17
    But... you kinda are. And this isn't the first time you've done so. Things aren't going well there 'rat, and PTSD is just one of the many side effects.
     
  18. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #18
    PTSD has been a side effect of every war we've ever had. Violent encounters in civilian life, for that matter.

    We didn't have that label for "battle fatigue" when my stepfather came back from flying a B-24 out of Henderson Field on Guadalcanal. ("We used them for everything from pursuit planes to dive bombers...") For him, it was as much bottle fatigue as battle fatigue. OTOH, my father's tone of voice in what little he said about D-Day through VE Day indicated he regarded the whole time as a somewhat different but interesting form of deer hunt.

    As far as "waste of time", that's a function of who you are in the pecking order, where you are, and what your job is. On scene as an E-4, I thought that occupation duty in South Korea was a waste of time--at that time.

    Guys who see villagers in Iraq becoming helpful in giving information on Al Qaida people have a different view. Some of the blogs are indicative of that.

    As far as "downplay" goes, it's not the seriousness I look at, but the comparative excitement over what's actually a common part of the world we live in and have lived in for decades and centuries.

    One of the better commentaries I ever heard about perspective came from a lawyer buddy of mine: "The average guy gets one, maybe two divorces in a lifetime. A lawyer might have to deal with five a week."

    'Rat
     
  19. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #19
    'Rat, you just downplayed it again. I know people from doctors to snipers in the military, people on the lines. They tell me it's not worth another American life.
     
  20. imac/cheese macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    In your opinion, what is worth an American life?
     
  21. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    What, exactly, does that have to do with the price of beans?

    No, it doesn't say that at all. In order to make a determination of whether the stresses of this war are causing a rise in suicides, you would have to compare pre-war suicides among military members to the current rate. Comparing apples to apples plus oranges does not give you anything useful.

    Some perspective indeed is called for. I just don't think you're providing the necessary perspective in this case.

    I don't know whether this is all that unusual or not. I made no judgement about whether this is unusual or not. My sole point was that it is meaningless to compare the rates of suicude among the general population and a subset of that population that is supposedly selecting for mental stability among it's members. Indeed, it would be a great surprise, statistically speaking, if the suicide rate for the military exceeded the rate for civilians.

    3,000 Iraqi lives?
     
  22. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #22
    You should ask them, not me. However, in my opinion, protecting our borders would be, not invading a country that wasn't a threat and didn't attack us.
     
  23. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #23
    Well, if this suicide rate is thehighest in 26 years, it seems to me that the old "record" was, then, 26 years ago. So, from curiosity, why was it so high back then? If the cause, now, is the Iraq war, what was going on in 1981 that brought about that size of a problem?

    A reason, now, implies a reason, then...

    'Rat
     
  24. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #24
    Now you're talking sense! :)

    Comparing the suicide rates of the same subset of people over time DOES provide meaningful information. Unfortunately I don't have an answer for you as to why. That would take some actual research. Was 1981 an aberration? How bad were the suicide rates in 1968? 1956? 1943?

    All I can offer is the same as anyone else here - my best guess.

    This is also a case of self-reporting. It's always suspect when an entity does it's own evaluation of a potentially embarassing problem within it's own ranks.
     
  25. obeygiant thread starter macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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    #25
    Well the study implies that there has always been suicides in the army. It fluctuates between 102 in 1991 and 99 in 2006. it could be that being in a conflict or not has no significant bering on the statistics. Just the stress of being in the army and being away from your family is the primary reason to kill yourself, not because the soldiers are fighting an unpopular war.
     

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