US military veterans’ suicides

This video from the USA is called 18 U.S. Veterans Commit Suicide Each Day.

By Rae Abileah, AlterNet in the USA:

Veteran Suicides: A Predictable Epidemic?

Friday, 15 June 2012 09:25

Now that our troops are actually coming home from Iraq, many are killing themselves. Why?

As the sun set on June 9th, nearly 2,000 walkers in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness Overnight Walk took off down the grassy path toward the Golden Gate Bridge along the promenade that hugs the bay. The view was not only stunning, but also poignant: as the famous Golden Gate celebrated its 75th birthday earlier this month, San Franciscans also mourned the loss of the 1,500 people who have died by jumping over the edge.

Last month I was riding BART to SF and read a statistic in TIME: 18 veterans die by suicide every day – that’s one every 80 minutes. As the subway pulled up to my stop, I saw a large poster advertising the Out of the Darkness Overnight Walk to break the silence about depression and suicide. Then a couple of weeks later, Newsweek ran a feature story on veteran suicide.

For years I’ve been a “Bring Our Troops Home” banner waving leftist, attending anti-war marches and rallies more often than I ate ice cream. So now that our troops are actually coming home from Iraq, many are killing themselves. Why? To dig deeper into the question, I decided to join the Overnight, speak with fellow walkers, and do a little homework.

Veteran Suicide – A Predictable Epidemic?

When Ryan Yurchison returned home from Iraq in 2007, his mom said he was a shell of a man, consumed with tremors, flashbacks and a steadily growing problem with drugs and alcohol. While waiting for help from the V.A. and placement in an addiction program, Yurchison died of a drug overdose believed to be suicide in May 2010. The New York Times reported, “For every soldier killed on the battlefield this year, about 25 veterans are dying by their own hands.” Last year, over 6,500 veteran suicides were recorded, which is “more than the total number of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined since those wars began.”

Military suicide rates increased 150% from 2001 to 2009, according to an article in USA Today.

Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) started “Operation Recovery,” a campaign to fight for the rights of service members and veterans to heal, and not be redeployed if experiencing PTSD. Too often, service members with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), military sexual assault, or combat stress, are forced to redeploy rather than receiving the support they so desperately need.

It’s clear that there’s a correlation between sending soldiers off to a warzone, asking them to do the unthinkable while dehumanizing the alleged “enemy” and the PTSD that so often follows deployment. Not only should soldiers receive the care they need, but also those who redeploy traumatized soldiers – and the elected officials who created these monstrous and unnecessary wars – should be held accountable. As Nicholas Kristof wrote in his op-ed earlier this spring, “We refurbish tanks after time in combat, but don’t much help men and women exorcise the demons of war. Presidents commit troops to distant battlefields, but don’t commit enough dollars to veterans’ services afterward.”

Novelist Uses Fiction to Depict War’s True Aftermath. Eleanor J. Bader, Truthout: “Kristin Hannah’s twentieth book, the novel ‘Home Front,’ zooms in on the aftermath of war by telling a deceptively simple story. In it, Jolene Zarkades, a member of the National Guard and a wife and mother of two, is called to Iraq. The narrative not only charts her 2005 deployment to Balat, but also describes her life in country. It further chronicles her return home after devastating arm, leg and facial injuries – compounded by PTSD – make it impossible for her to continue fighting”: here.

9 thoughts on “US military veterans’ suicides

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  4. Afghan vet faces five years in jail

    Friday 06 July 2012

    An Afghan war veteran will spend five years behind bars for the “horrific” killing of his landlady.

    Gamekeeper Aaron Wilkinson, 24, of Leeds, was sentenced to a minimum of five years today at Bradford Crown Court for shooting 52-year-old Judith Garnett three times with a shotgun.

    Mr Wilkinson admitted manslaughter in April on grounds of diminished responsibility, citing a combination of Asperger’s syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder from a tour of Afghanistan.

    Mr Wilkinson had said he felt in a “trance” when he shot Ms Garnett, who had earlier shouted at Mr Wilkinson for not letting her dogs out.

    But Judge Justice Kenneth Parker said Mr Wilkinson had taken time to reload the gun – “an element of calculation.”

    It is understood Ms Garnett’s family plan to appeal the sentence.


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  7. Military investigates death of SEAL commander

    Official says death being investigated as apparent suicide

    Author: From Barbara Starr CNN Pentagon Correspondent

    Published On: Dec 23 2012 03:57:31 PM EST Updated On: Dec 23 2012 10:16:01 PM EST

    (CNN) –

    The Navy is investigating the death in Afghanistan of one of its most senior SEAL officers as an apparent suicide, a U.S. military official tells CNN.

    Navy Cmdr. Job W. Price, 42, of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, died Saturday while serving as the commanding officer of SEAL Team 4, a special warfare unit based in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

    The official, who has direct knowledge of the event, spoke on the condition of anonymity because the death remains under full investigation by the U.S. military.

    The official said the family has been notified of the death and that it is being investigated as an apparent suicide. There is no indication at this time that Price was involved in any military-related investigations or controversies, the official said.

    Apparently, when Price did not appear at an expected time, other military personnel went to look for him and discovered his body with an apparent gunshot wound.

    As the commanding officer of the team, Price oversaw more than two dozen commandos and support staff conducting counterterrorism operations in Uruzgan Province in Afghanistan, a longtime center of insurgent activity, according to a statement from the Defense Department.

    Copyright 2012 by CNN NewSource. All rights reserved


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