Thursday, September 4, 2008

Soldier Suicides, Military Deaths, Iraq War

Army officials reported today that soldier suicides may surpass the record rate of last year. Army officials said Thursday, September 4, 2008 that there are 62 confirmed suicides among active duty soldiers and National Guard and Reserve troops called to active duty. Another 31 deaths are being investigated.

If all are confirmed then the number for 2008 could be higher than the 115 of last year—and the rate per 100,000 could surpass that of the civilian population stated by Col. Eddie Stephens, deputy director of human resources policy, at a Pentagon news conference.

Previous military deaths from suicide are: 115 in 2007; 102 in 2006; 87 in 2005; and 67 in 2004. In 2003, the suicide rate per 100,000 was 12.4, and now it is expected to be 19.5 per 100,000.

I don’t know if there are any statistics available on soldiers suffering from depression or other mental illness such as post traumatic stress. Word is that soldiers do not get the proper care they need for mental disturbances, and are being forced to return to combat, and are having long tours of duty, and repeat tours of duty.

Our media has put the war coverage in the background during all the current political coverage. Funny isn’t it, when the billions being spent on this unnecessary war should be addressed, as should the growing number of dead soldiers, causalities, and civilians?

The latest figures of U.S. military DEATHS in Iraq is 4,154, and 582 in Afghanistan. Since "Mission Accomplished" announced by GW. Bush on the Navy super-carrier USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003 there have been 4,015 deaths. Casualties figures are 30,568.

Approximately 551,231,600,000. DOLLARS have been spent in this war, and the per day figure is 341.4 million.

Last month a report issued by the Congressional Budget Office, indicated twenty (20%) percent of money spent for the Iraq War goes to private contractors. Senator Kent Conrad, D, North Dakota, the chairman of the Senate budget committee said the findings show a troubling trend. No kidding. Funny it took a investigation to uncover that. Conrad stated, "The Bush Administration’s move to out-source large portions of the Iraq war effort sets a dangerous precedent. The increasing use of private contractors restricts accountability and oversight; opens the door to corruption and abuse; and, in come instances, may significantly increase the cost to American taxpayers."

Military deaths, military suicides, military casualties, civilian deaths, wasted and unaccounted for money–our tax dollars.

I can’t help but wonder how many of the casualties–how many of those men and women will never regain their health–how many have brain injuries, how many have limb loss, how many will never be the same again.

Why do we allow ourselves, allow the media, allow the politicians divert our attention from the war that should ended a long time ago? NO, I take that back. The war that never should have began.

By the way, since I last put up a blog about the war in early January, there have been 250 deaths.

And as I asked then, how many will have died by the time our next president takes office? I sure hope our president is not the "military minded" one--as this war could continue beyond my lifetime if he has anything to say about it. It bothers me that the focus has turned from the war to superficial issues. LOL. Of course, the war was based itself on superficial issues, and oil and greed, and power are what these men and women really died for. Shameful.

Last week at dinner we had a friendly young man waiting on our table. Waitering was his second part time job, which he said he took a couple nights a week because he enjoys people. His first job was sales of security alarm systems, which he said was making him a decent living. He had just turned 21 and when ready to go to college he had turned down an opportunity to go to the Air Force Academy because of a girl,–not with her anymore although still friends–but now he wanted to go into the military. It was so hard for me to not tell him he was crazy to even consider doing so because he said it had always been his dream since he was a little boy to be a pilot. Damn, it is hard to ruin someone's lifetime dream, but I sure wanted to. I wanted to tell him he could take flying lessons at the local airport.....but...I kept his dream alive for him.

~ Linda

No comments: