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Old 14th Jan 2004, 09:29 PM   #1
SlayerDragon
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[News] U.S. Soldiers' Suicide Rate Is Up in Iraq

This is an interesting article, although repetetive in a few places.

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WASHINGTON - U.S. soldiers in Iraq are killing themselves at a high rate despite the work of special teams sent to help troops deal with combat stress, the Pentagon's top doctor said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, about 2,500 soldiers who have returned from the war on terrorism are having to wait for medical care at bases in the United States, said Dr. William Winkenwerder, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs. The problem of troops on "medical extension" is likely to get worse as the Pentagon rotates hundreds of thousands of troops into and out of Iraq this spring, he said.

Both situations illustrate the stresses placed on the troops and the military's health system by the war in Iraq.

Suicide has become such a pressing issue that the Army sent an assessment team to Iraq late last year to see if anything more could be done to prevent troops from killing themselves. The Army also began offering more counseling to returning troops after several soldiers at Fort Bragg, N.C., killed their wives and themselves after returning home from the war.

Winkenwerder said the military has documented 21 suicides during 2003 among troops involved in the Iraq war. Eighteen of those were Army soldiers, he said.

That's a suicide rate for soldiers in Iraq of about 13.5 per 100,000, Winkenwerder said. In 2002, the Army reported an overall suicide rate of 10.9 per 100,000.

The overall suicide rate nationwide during 2001 was 10.7 per 100,000, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

By contrast, two U.S. military personnel killed themselves during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, although that conflict only lasted about a month. The Army recorded 102 suicides during 1991 for a rate of 14.4 per 100,000. The Army's highest suicide rate in recent years came in 1993, when the rate was 15.7 per 100,000.

The Marine Corps has the military's highest suicide rate. Last year the Marines' rate was 12.6 per 100,000. During 1993, the Marines' rate was 20.9 per 100,000.

In 1993, there was U.S. military action in Somalia and Haiti.

The military investigates every death and some of those probes may be incomplete, meaning the actual suicide rate could be even higher, Winkenwerder said. He said health officials haven't identified any common threads among the confirmed suicides.

"We don't see any trend there that tells us that there's more we might be doing," Winkenwerder told a breakfast meeting of Pentagon reporters.

The military has nine combat stress teams in Iraq to help treat troops' mental health problems, and each division has a psychiatrist, psychologist and social worker, Winkenwerder said. Of more than 10,000 troops medically evacuated from Iraq, between 300 and 400 were sent outside the country for treatment of mental health problems, he said.

The military prefers to treat mental health problems such as depression by keeping troops in their regular duties while they get counseling and possibly medication, Winkenwerder said. Less than one percent of the troops in Iraq are treated for mental issues during an average week, he said.

Winkenwerder said he had no specifics on the number of soldiers being treated for battlefield stress, although the military is focused on treating that problem.

"We believe they are being identified, they are being supported," Winkenwerder said.

The military also is working to solve the issue of soldiers awaiting non-emergency medical care. Since November, about 1,900 of 4,400 waiting for medical care have been treated, Winkenwerder said.

But the military expects more problems when tens of thousands of troops are rotated in and out of Iraq this spring, Winkenwerder said. Many of those troops leaving Iraq may have to wait at various bases in the United States for medical treatment such as physical therapy for injuries, he said.

The Army is working to sign contracts with civilian medical providers and bringing in more staff from the Navy, Air Force and Department of Veterans Affairs to help, Winkenwerder said.

Another source of the problem has been a large number of National Guard and reserve troops activated for duty in Iraq who have to be treated for underlying health problems, Winkenwerder said. The Army is working to solve that problem by screening those reservists at their home bases, rather than later.

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Old 14th Jan 2004, 10:40 PM   #2
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You can see now why many veterans are strongly against the war in the first place... just ask anyone who survived hellish Vietnam War...
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Old 14th Jan 2004, 10:51 PM   #3
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Sending social workers to Iraq! Bwahaha
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Old 14th Jan 2004, 11:24 PM   #4
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War is hell. I don't think any non-ignorant person would tell you otherwise.
I think maybe a lot of people going into the military don't take into account that you have a chance of seeing some action - and that's nothing like the movies (except maybe the beach scene of Saving Private Ryan, but it's still just a movie). It's a harsher reality than most people will ever know, including myself, but I wouldn't say suicide is a great choice in any situation.
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Old 15th Jan 2004, 12:39 AM   #5
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I was in the navy, I saw action.

There is no worse moral dilema than realizing you are going to take a life.... but have to, to save yours and your friends. Allot of people die due to hesatation, you register that what you are about to do isn't right.... but you realize that if you don't not only you, but you friends here, and at home will suffer for it.

suicide is a cop out, I have seen people die, and I have been part of the missiles that did it, its not easy, and no it doesn't get easier with time. and sadly at the end the "was us or them" arguement gives you no comfort. Especialy when sent to a war or fight you didn't agree with.

What some of you don't understand is that these wars happen, you aren't hurting the politicians, but the soldiers that come home and hear how people hate the things they did, that they had to do.

Thats why I take these threads kinda personaly, I have been there, I have done it, I have friends that are dead. Some of you need to think about that. The world is harsh, and bad things happen daily, ironicaly they can only be cured by more bad things. For all the "I know it all" I have seen here I have yet to see this

"I have taken lives that I didn't want to, I have taken lives to save lives, I have lost friends that can't be replaced"

I can say thaT

You said

"War is hell."

No ****ing ****, even if you live through it some things never heal. I beg of you all, before you go flaming here and on any thread, bear in mind, some people here are vets, some people here probably served with a person who died. Allot of you blantantly dont support the war, thats fine, but bear in mind allot of your comments dont support the soldier that is there. Flaming people is fine... but realize that some people here, and there are in ****ing hell, you may not feel you owe them anything. But I can say for sure, that a "welcome home" sounds better than a "this war was wrong you are evil" anyday.
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Old 15th Jan 2004, 01:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saito
I was in the navy, I saw action....
Hey man, I hope you realize I wasn't saying anything bad about the war. I was just replying to Gamma_Sword about the Vietnam thing. War is hell. Not this war, or that war. They are all hell. I don't know this from experience, but I know it from the experience of others'. Thank you for doing your service for our country, and just so you know, I for one won't be saying any harsh words to any soldiers. I didn't go into the service only because of my eyesight and I wouldn't have been able to do any of the things that I wanted to do (although I realize now I could have done some other, sometimes even much cooler, things). Part of me is glad I didn't, though. I've had a lot of good experiences at college that I would have missed if I had been shipped off.
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Old 15th Jan 2004, 04:14 AM   #7
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Quote:
but the soldiers that come home and hear how people hate the things they did, that they had to do.
Iraq is not Vietnam. The soldiers are there because they volunteered for an institution whos primary purpose is to travel to foreign climes and kill people.

Oftentimes it is not as black and white as that, there are mitigating social and economic factors, but for many people that is the bottom line.
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Old 15th Jan 2004, 04:33 AM   #8
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Lets not turn this into an another war is wrong/war is right -thread.

The fact of the matter is that soldiers are fighting and dying in Iraq and not one of us can really even begin to imagine what they have to go through on daily basis. All we can do is try is hope they make it safely back home and try to help them overcome the horrible things they've experienced.

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Originally Posted by Tapeworm
Sending social workers to Iraq! Bwahaha


I'd like to see how you would react if you were in the same situation as the soldiers in Iraq.
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Old 15th Jan 2004, 11:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetalMickey
Iraq is not Vietnam. The soldiers are there because they volunteered for an institution whos primary purpose is to travel to foreign climes and kill people.

Oftentimes it is not as black and white as that, there are mitigating social and economic factors, but for many people that is the bottom line.
Dont forget the brain wash and lies factors.

Saito, i think you should be angy on those that send you into a war not those that realise it was an oil grab war for rich boys. We know soldiers follow orders of politicians, so noone thinks you are to blame even thogh you are a killing mashine. It's not like you had a choice.

Criticism of a war is good so soldiers dont need to fight unjust wars and feel bad about it. You should join in on the criticism.
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Old 15th Jan 2004, 12:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kavoN


I'd like to see how you would react if you were in the same situation as the soldiers in Iraq.
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Old 15th Jan 2004, 12:48 PM   #11
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Welcome to the wonderful world of emoticons. I sincerely hope you enjoy your stay.

..

Do you even have a point?
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Old 15th Jan 2004, 12:52 PM   #12
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Yeah, i thought it was funny that they were sending social workers to Iraq.

That's all.
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Old 15th Jan 2004, 12:55 PM   #13
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How funny am I!
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Old 15th Jan 2004, 12:57 PM   #14
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Old 15th Jan 2004, 12:58 PM   #15
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C'mon, c'mon, people! Let's be nice... there's no reason at all to hate the servicemen, even if you don't agree with the leadership's decisions. Personally, I support the war and the cause, and I have my own opinions about what the war is for (which I will not post here because I'd get flamed... ), but you gotta keep the two parties seperate... the guy's who were there fighting should be respected, and their ideas should be taken more seriously, because they experienced it. Lets all remember Phil's post, where we usher in a new era of peace for BuF.
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Old 15th Jan 2004, 12:59 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tapeworm
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Old 15th Jan 2004, 01:13 PM   #17
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I saw some action in the Civil War, and after watching our drummer boy take a cannonball in the face all I could think was....man...war is hell. But I took my duty like a man and instead of having thoughts of bayoneting myself in the gut, I stood up, aimed across that field, and shot the rebel flute player right in his dixie sized sack.
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Old 15th Jan 2004, 01:15 PM   #18
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Quote:
I saw some action in the Civil War, and after watching our drummer boy take a cannonball in the face all I could think was....man...war is hell. But I took my duty like a man and instead of having thoughts of bayoneting myself in the gut, I stood up, aimed across that field, and shot the rebel flute player right in his dixie sized sack.
Hah! I actually laughed out loud when I read that.
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Old 15th Jan 2004, 01:16 PM   #19
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That goes for me too.. good one.
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Old 15th Jan 2004, 01:29 PM   #20
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Kinda amusing.
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