Sep 28, 2010

Updated: Army Still Says Risky Behavior, Not War Drives Suicide Rates

- U.S. Army: It’s not war; the “risky behavior” of our troops at home drives them to suicide. Did you know that a solider committing suicide with a pistol often has just engaged in the high-risk behavior of aiming at his head and squeezing the trigger, in blatant violation of existing Army policies and standards? -

Update: See DoD Suicide Task Force Contradicts Army Findings and Insider: The DoD and Military Brass Don't Know and Don't Care about Suicide.

via mal contends

The Army calls their report released in July: The Health Promotion, Risk Reduction, and Suicide Prevention (HP/RR/SP) Report, the “result of a focused 15-month effort to better understand the increasing rate of suicides in the force.”

One wonders what exactly the Army-sanctioned authors do understand in this 9.97 MB of wasted computer space. The Army says suicides are caused by "high-risk behaviors" and "erosion of adherence to existing Army policies and standards."

Those servicemen and women and their reckless behavior! That’s why the high suicide rate.

Responds Steve Robinson who retired from the Army in 2001, after a career serving in Ranger and Special Operations units: "The leadership treats this problem as a lack of moral character, and a lack of intestinal fortitude, when it is really a medical issue. If somebody lost their legs due to an IED [improvised explosive device], and the leader came, and said, 'Get up! Get back to your job! Get back into the humvee!': That is the same thing that they are actually doing to people with these mental-health injuries and traumatic brain injuries that you can’t see. They simply do not understand the medical side of what has happened to the human mind and body, and they are punishing people for having the symptoms of PTSD [posttraumatic stress disorder] and traumatic brain injury. And when you do that, it’s the same as punishing an amputee for having lost his legs."

Nothing in the Army report’s finding about war, the risky nature of war, repeated deployments, the stupidity of making war at any price. It’s the troops’ fault, the Marines’ fault, and a lack of leadership in keeping an eye on those reckless men and women who just need a firmer hand and tighter regulations.

“The dedicated effort behind this report sends a clear message to our force that we take the resiliency of our soldiers and families very seriously,” said Secretary of the Army John McHugh. “This effort is part of our culture to look closely at ourselves, and to make continuous improvements in our capability – but most importantly, to reduce the number of soldiers we lose to suicide.”

Sorry to put you through McHugh, but you get the message they’re sending: Covering War’s ass, either that or: We’re incredibly stupid..

The Army’s key findings:
  • Gaps in the current HP/RR/SP policies, processes and programs necessary to mitigate high risk behaviors;

  • Erosion of adherence to existing Army policies and standards;

  • Increase in indicators of high risk behavior including illicit drug use, other crimes and suicide attempts;

  • Of course, targeting veterans and those actively serving is nothing new. See Blaming the Veteran: The Politics of PTSD (Ford, Huber, and Meagher),a truly classic piece of work published in February 2006.

    But one has to look to fiction to describe the utter vacuity and obtuse mindlessness of the U.S. Army brass in addressing the epidemic suicide rate.

    I refer you to that paragon of leadership, resiliency and regulations against the reckless, one Major Frank Burns (also known as Ferret Face played expertly by Larry Linville) from the M*A*S*H* television series.

    “Well, I’m glad the Army has that cleared up,” said Frank to his disbelieving unit who were fed-up with the Army brass.

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