Friday, May 30, 2008

I've seen the enemy, and it is me

Who knows whether these Army statistics on troop suicides bear any resemblance to the truth. The Pentagon has such a storied reputation for lying, that we can only imagine the number is tragically higher.

Still, they are admitting something, but not culpability.

From the Hartford Courant this morning:

Army officials who released the report Thursday were reluctant to draw a link between combat exposure and suicide, repeating assertions made in past years that failed personal relationships, along with legal and financial problems, were the main factors driving suicides. But they did acknowledge that long and repeated tours of duty were wearing down soldiers' mental resilience. "Is it the war? It's unquestionable that the high op-tempo, the multiple deployments and long deployments put a real strain on relationships," said Col. Elspeth Ritchie, the Army's top psychiatrist, in a conference call with reporters. "There's also normal, girlfriend-boyfriend breaking up, irrespective of the war, marital difficulties that arise in both civilians and soldiers. ... We're not seeing a clear relationship between conflict increase and suicide."

I would think that boyfriend-girlfriend breakups, and marital difficulties, not to mention legal and financial problems, are all exacerbated by repeated deployment, combat stress, and the mental fatigue that comes from fighting a hopeless war without end for leaders who don't give a damned.

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