Lost when they came home

Linked with Jerry Mazza – USA.

Published on Online Journal, by Jerry Mazza, August 15, 2008.

While the Bush administration is busy once again antagonizing Superpower Russia and inciting Georgia’s attack on South Ossetia, let us turn to some of the administration’s less flashy claims to fame: the shocking suicide rates of soldiers returning from Iraq, more than twice the number of US civilian suicides. The figure in 2005 alone ran at the rate of 120 suicides a week, according to CBS News, which described this tragedy as a Suicide Epidemic Among veterans.

The age group most severely affected is the 20- to 24-year-olds, a tender age in any locale, when a young man is wetting his feet in the tides of life let alone war. For those young men exposed to the violence of Iraq and the demands that were made on them (which too often seemed totally immoral), their suicides run at twice the rate of non-veteran suicides, between 22.9 and 31.9 percent per 100,000 as opposed to 8.3 percent per 100,000 of non-vet deaths …

… So what is learned?

Given this sobering tale, what would we expect for returning and even active soldiers from a McCain presidency? What has the “100-year warrior, wet-starter” learned from his experience? And I might ask the same question of draft-dodging George Bush and Dick Cheney. They did not dodge the draft out of principle, either an anti-war or pacifist stance. They simply desired not to serve. Yet, these are the commanders in chief of our soldiers.

Bringing this back to those soldiers whom we are losing at home, what improvement in dealing with the alarming veteran suicide rate could we expect from these leaders? Very little I suspect. Yet the Bush administration continues to ask more and more of our fighting men and women, that is until the wheels fall completely off them and they’re left in a scrap pile. If that seems cruel to say, so too is it cruel to read those statistics and the comments of the families of the lost … (full long text).

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