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Kristof writes: "Here's a window into a tragedy within the American military: For every soldier killed on the battlefield this year, about 25 veterans are dying by their own hands."

A photograph taken in Iraq of Specialist Ryan Yurchison (left), who died of a drug overdose on May 23, 2010, after returning home to New Middletown, Ohio. (photo: Ashley Gilbertson)
A photograph taken in Iraq of Specialist Ryan Yurchison (left), who died of a drug overdose on May 23, 2010, after returning home to New Middletown, Ohio. (photo: Ashley Gilbertson)

A Veteran's Death, the Nation's Shame

By Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times

15 April 12

Here's a window into a tragedy within the American military: For every soldier killed on the battlefield this year, about 25 veterans are dying by their own hands.

An American soldier dies every day and a half, on average, in Iraq or Afghanistan. Veterans kill themselves at a rate of one every 80 minutes. More than 6,500 veteran suicides are logged every year - more than the total number of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined since those wars began.

These unnoticed killing fields are places like New Middletown, Ohio, where Cheryl DeBow raised two sons, Michael and Ryan Yurchison, and saw them depart for Iraq.

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+21 # RMDC 2012-04-15 18:48
The US military knows about this and chooses to do nothing and say nothing. It hires 1000s of very good psychologists to train or brainwash its young recruits. David Grossman who was one such psychologists writes that his just was to create dysfunctional human beings at the least and psychopaths at the worst.

The Pentagon does not give a shit how many vets kill themselves or about the hell they bring to family and friends in the process.

I have a friend who does anti-recruitmen t talks in local high schools. He tells the kids flat out that if they join the military they 1 out of 2 chance of never living a normal life again. He says he would rather see them addicted to a drug.

Just the photograph above is truly pathetic. Why are those kids posing with sniper rifles? Did they murder people with those guns? Did they think it was manly or macho when they did it. They sure as hell won't in a few years.

The Pentagon knows all of this but it does not care. It asks idealistic kids to give up their lives for Amerikkka and when they say "yes" the Pentagon takes those lives and destroys most of them.
+3 # John Locke 2012-04-16 08:24
RMDC: It's all about the Drugs (Opium Fields) and CIA Profits from them and the Opium Trade... and of course the Unocal Pipeline that has now been built...The CIA is in charge even now of guarding the Opium fields and our servicemen are NOT allowed to touch let alone destroy them!
+1 # JJS 2012-04-17 18:04
And this (JL) is, as you know, why opium will never be medicalized, decriminalized or legalized. Follow the Mow-Nay!
+25 # KrazyFromPolitics 2012-04-15 19:02
Further evidence that the military personnel are held in no higher regard than cannon fodder. The psychological and emotional aftermath requires as much attention, if not more, than arming them and sending them into combat. However, this is the country that allows banks to foreclose on on GI's that are deployed and not earning enough to pay the mortgage. Of course, when the tragedy of suicide occurs under these circumstances the powers that be pound their chests and speak in platitudes of the soldier's great sacrifice, but couldn't fund services that might have helped the soldier. There seems to be no sense of shame in this country anymore.
+22 # jcaroleber 2012-04-15 21:14
My son was a victim of serving in the military. He shot and killed himself a few years after he was honorably discharged. According to the organization Vets1First 18 veterans commit suicide each day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 30,000 individuals commit suicide each year in our nation. Of those, 20 percent are veterans. However, only 16 states report veteran suicides to the National Violent Death Reporting System. It is an epidemic that our government refuses to do much about.
+2 # RMDC 2012-04-16 06:23
I've read this number -- 18 suicides a day -- but never in the main stream press. I don't know if it is true. But if it is, then it is horrific and a much bigger tragedy than even something like 9-11. At 18 per day, it would only take 166 days to reach 3000. That's not even a half year.

Why no outrage in the mainstream media? Why are the lives of US soldiers not even worth mentioning?

Like most people, I have had friends who committed suicide. The time before the suicide was extremely painful for them and everyone around them. We tried to help but could not. There must be a lot of vets and vet families who are in this sort of suffering right now.

And what does Obama do? He sure as hell has never mentioned this tragedy. He's working like hell to plan more wars, sending more US soldiers into combat zones all over the world.

It is clear that the mass media takes its orders from the Pentagon and will never expose this outrage. It its time for direct action -- for me, I will deface all war advertising I see. I will scrawl over those posters -- "18 suicides a day -- is it worth it." I wish potential enlistees understood this. Maybe there would be a mass resignation and desertion from the US armed forces.

Face it, the Pentagon kills more US soldiers than the Taliban and al Queda ever dreamed of.
+4 # JetpackAngel 2012-04-16 00:59
I loved a young man who was a combat doc in the Army. I found it fascinating, and a good and noble profession, but he didn't like to talk about it.

When he returned from a tour in the sandbox and was reassigned stateside, I'd looked up some stuff online and decided that the best thing for him was to give him a little extra space but otherwise treat him normally, don't ask, and don't spring any big surprises on him. I was open, as honest as I'd always been with him, and I didn't push him. I liked to think that he felt safe with me, that he could tell me anything, and the feeling was mutual.

I loved this man, but I never told him that. And I never got a chance to. He spent a year in his stateside assignment, I saw him on his three-week leave, and he committed suicide two weeks after returning to work. He had seemed so perfectly normal. I still agonize over my last encounters with him, trying to determine if there was some silent cry for help that I'd missed, but I can't think of any.

This was over a year ago. And there are still some days when I have to stay inside with the lights dim, lock the doors, listen to depressing music and cry about how much I miss him. We fit together so perfectly and I honestly don't have the heart to try dating again because I haven't exactly had a gentle love life prior to meeting him and I can't imagine finding anyone like him ever again.

One every eighty minutes. Jesus Christ.
+2 # Glen 2012-04-16 18:06
Yes, Angel, it is a no good deal. Suicide in general is horrific and leaves survivors with guilt, but in the case of the military, it is heavier due to the obvious training followed by experience in the field. It isn't pretty and it isn't easy to digest when you are there.

A lot of us are rather guilt ridden just for having those folks in the field, but when they succumb to the emotional disasters and requests to murder people, rather than fight a war of real consequence, we are left with nothing. NOTHING.

You will recover, Angel, as many of us have, even with citizen suicides, rather than military. The days do go by, but you will forever carry the person in your mind and heart. A real tribute to their existence.
+7 # Doubter 2012-04-16 01:08
No wonder I'm an "Anarchist Wannabe," and my 'religion' is "Don't fall into the hands of Institutions."
I preserved my sanity (or what little I had) by shooting over the Germans heads in WWII. I was 19 and just couldn't accept the reality, and specially the IRRATIONALITY of being in the war.
I've told the story of how the training Lt. started me thinking by trying to teach us "don't think - react." I figured it was alright for reacting to incoming artillery shells, but just the opposite ("think before (re)acting) would be a better idea.
The awful suicide rate actually vindicates Americans, and maybe even the human race. It shows that the corporotocracy cannot override human humane sentiments without destroying the individual. It means most of us ARE NOT EVIL or killers.
+3 # eremench 2012-04-16 05:36
My heartfelt sympathies to jcaroleber.

I do not want a gun in my house - impulse can lead to tragedy...

once heartfelt sympathy...

I wish we would get out of Afghanistan...N OW....
+8 # genierae 2012-04-16 07:31
My heart goes out to you in the loss of your beloved son. My grandson has just enlisted in the Army, his dad is an Army Ranger and he wants to follow in his footsteps. He sees only the exciting part of special forces, jumping out of airplanes and such, but he will be turned into a killing machine and this gentle giant that I love dearly will be changed forever.
+2 # brotherdb 2012-04-16 13:48
Thank God President Obama is increasing money for the Veterans not reducing the money to the Veteran administration like Geo Bush did. Repubicans want us to go to war but they dont want to pay for the vets when they come home.
+2 # brotherdb 2012-04-16 13:52
FBI statistics state tha tif you have a gun in your house you are 4 times as likely to shoot a family member of friend than a criminal.

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