U.S. Military Suicides Reach New High

Why are troops taking their own lives in steadily increasing numbers?

The rate of suicide among active and reserve military personnel has increased to its highest level since accurate record-keeping began in 2001, the Pentagon reports. CNN reports:

According to the Pentagon, 239 military deaths in 2012 have been confirmed as suicides and another 110 are being investigated as probable suicides. The number of suicides in 2011 reached 301; there were 298 the year before.

Perhaps the most chilling phrase there is “probable suicides”. Suicide victims often feel isolated, unable to reach out or communicate, and nothing bespeaks that condition more than a suicide that must be inferred. It implies that even in their last extremity, the victim could not speak of ending their own life. In civilian life, this often takes the form of suspicious one-car accidents under safe driving conditions. Military life offers many more opportunities to end one’s own life in an unclear fashion, leaving no note or apology, nothing but that phrase, “probable suicide”.

If you are having thoughts about killing yourself, call 1-800-273-8255 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org. Don’t think that your problem isn’t serious enough or that nobody wants to hear from you. Talking saves lives.


Photo—Brett Coomer/AP

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  1. Richard Aubrey says:

    I know the Army takes this seriously.
    Couple of years ago, a late relation–Cav Scout with two tours–was court martialed for being mean to a new guy. It was about the new guy’s suicide, but the Army didn’t courtmartial my relation and four other guys for that. They couldn’t, because…. But they wanted to make it look as if it were a response to the actual suicide and all these bad people around.
    When the last court sat, on the sergeant involved, it turned out the Army had been withholding exculpatory evidence. That is, the kid had been in Iraq two days and had been on a suicide watch since he arrived in Kuwait.
    Judge threw out all the convictions.
    But you can’t say the Army isn’t trying to impress the civilians with how seriously they take this. Willing to pitch five loyal soldiers under the bus to show you just how seriously they take this. Can’t do better than that.

  2. If there is only a small sampling from which to draw conclusions rather than a large war to war comparison how can one make accurate analysis?

    • That analysis at that degree of accuracy may never be possible because that information was never collected. It was considered insignificant, so it was ignored and never collected.

      That’s how male disposability works – it conceals itself in the culture with denial and indifference to the fact of male disposability.

  3. My son is stationed at Ft. Hood. He helped prevent a suicide at risk to his own health, and a few weeks later, two soldiers actually did commit suicide.

  4. Richard Aubrey says:

    We need to know whether this number is congruent with civilian men of the same age. If it is congruent, we have a problem in that the military isn’t able to do better than civilian life. Last time this became an issue, it turned out the numbers were congruent with civilian men of the same age, but the fuss was that it was higher than that of civilians in general. But the rate for young men is higher than the general average. IOW, not a particularly military issue. This time…. Anybody know?
    Also, I did read a report that 85% of the suicides are among those never deploying to combat, which makes things even more obscure.

  5. HMMM…Since accurate record began in 2001…GOOD LORD! Who are these f**king idiots running the show. And we are having conversations about whether or not men are DISOPABLE IN America.

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