STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
A Dishonest Article about US Army Suicides
By Staff News & Analysis - December 13, 2012

Congress can help prevent military suicides … As troop commanders coming up through the Army ranks, we learned that taking care of our soldiers was a primary responsibility of military leadership. We knew that the troops were our credentials, and we tried to create an environment where they could be the best they could possibly be. This meant getting to know them and their families – whether they lived on or off post. This was part of our responsibility for those under our command. It was – and still is – Leadership 101. When we lost a service member, for whatever reason, it was a heart-wrenching experience. But it was worse in the case of those who took their own lives. Suicides have been a challenge for the U.S. military for a long time – and the problem is getting more severe. Suicides began rising in the middle of the 2000s, leveled off briefly in 2010 and 2011 and resumed climbing again this year, reaching a record high … Reversing this epidemic is among the military's highest priorities. In that regard, one of the things we learned during our careers is that stress, guns and alcohol are a dangerous mixture. In the wrong proportions, they tend to blow out the lamp of the mind and cause irrational acts. Commanders and noncommissioned officers need the tools to prevent this mixture from turning lethal. – Washington Post

Dominant Social Theme: Take guns away from servicemen so they can't kill themselves.

Free-Market Analysis: The reason this article is dishonest is because of what it leaves out. The authors, both retired army generals, suggest that a big help to officers when it comes to mental health is the ability to find out if soldiers have guns at home – and then to address the issue of how to secure such weapons.

This assumes that officers are constantly taking the pulse of those under their command and reacting empathetically to "perceived stress." The idea is thus propounded that officers are in some sense father figures, psychologists, relatives, friends, etc. They are to be seen as a trusted source.

And yet these same officers must order their troops into battle where they may be killed. There is a contradiction here. It is the reason officers never fraternize immoderately with soldiers under their command.

War is a bloody business and officers have the authority to send men to their deaths. Officers are not friends of their underlings. They are not father figures.

The argument of these two generals also treats the weapon as the culprit. The idea is that if the weapon is "secured," the suicide may not take place. This may be true … once. But what about next time? Can't the individual unsecure the weapon as easily as it has been secured?

The article seems to treat suicide as some sort of vague complex that descends like a miasma for no reason. But this is not so. There are very specific reasons for suicides of servicemen, from what we can tell. You won't find any of them in this article. Here's more:

In fact, suicides have become an epidemic. This year, more soldiers, seamen, airmen and Marines died by their own hand than died in battle. Suicide was the No. 1 cause of death for U.S. troops. More than two-thirds of suicides involved firearms, and nearly three-quarters of those cases involved personal weapons, not military weapons.

One of the most effective measures of suicide prevention is to ask those perceived to be under duress: "Do you have a gun in your home?" If the answer is yes, we might then suggest that the individual put locks on the weapon or store it in a safe place during periods of high stress – things that any responsible gun owner should do.

Unfortunately, that potentially lifesaving action is no longer available to the military. A little-noticed provision in the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) has had the unintended consequence of tying the hands of commanders and noncommissioned officers by preventing them from being able to talk to service members about their private weapons, even in cases where a leader believes that a service member may be suicidal.

We both strongly believe that this prohibition interferes with every military leader's obligation to ensure the health, welfare, morale and well-being of the troops under his or her command and care.

There is a movement now to remove the restriction: The House included an amendment in the 2013 NDAA that would allow these important conversations to occur. But the Senate just passed its version of the NDAA without addressing the issue.

We, along with other retired flag and general officers, senior noncommissioned officers and suicide-prevention advocates, are urging the House and Senate conferees to include language in the final bill that removes this impediment to suicide prevention.

This is what these two are upset about – the removal of certain language in an appropriations bill. We haven't been asked, and we don´t know as much about the military as these two … but we shall contribute some observations anyway.

It's what we do … yes?

One thing these two don't mention are the pharmaceutical drugs that many service members are taking, especially if they have depression. These powerful drugs place a veil between emotion and action. They make it easier for someone to "pull the trigger" as they have removed (blocked) the normal survival instinct for the moment.

Another issue is sexual abuse, especially of women. The US military has introduced women soldiers throughout the ranks and it seems evident and obvious that this has led to incredible problems with rape and generalized sexual abuse.

The fraternization between the sexes creates abusive situations, which no doubt contribute to the spike in suicides. This is not something the two generals responsible for this editorial seem to want to discuss. In fact, they do not.

Finally, there is the issue of war itself. Perhaps if the wars the US and NATO have engaged in over the past decade had meant something or had been seen as "good" wars, those involved would have a better emotional attitude.

But the current crop of wars is being fomented by a power elite that wants to expand global government around the world. The servicemen and women are merely actors in this larger strategy. Their patriotism is manipulated. Their youth makes them susceptible. Their poverty (most are relatively poor) gives them few choices.

And so they fight … and die … or return home as emotional cripples. The army doesn't really give a damn about them. These two generals have positioned guns as a major culprit when it comes to the epidemic of military suicides. But that is nothing more than a convenient dominant social theme: Guns kill and ought to be removed whenever possible.

The subdominant theme is that the top officers really care about their underlings. But caring is not something that comes easily to military forces. And in this case, the US military is operating more or less as a mercenary enterprise. Those who serve have not banded together as a citizens' army.

No, they have joined in many cases for a paycheck and have been sent halfway around the world to cement the globalist ambitions of a power elite that is determined to snuff out the last tribal opposition to its world-spanning plans.

There are many reasons for the rise in military suicides. The idea that better securing guns will have a big impact on this trend is most questionable, from our point of view. These generals have written an editorial supporting a kind of gun control – a meme dear to the collective heart of the power elite.

After Thoughts

A problem has thus been reworked to provoke a solution that is intended to reinforce elite control. Soldiers are nothing more than pawns in a power game.

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