Suicide rate among US troops hits all-time high

One US soldier killed themselves each day this year, on average: the fastest pace of suicides among active-duty troops in the nation's decade of war. AP reports: "The 154 suicides in the first 155 days of the year far outdistance the U.S. forces killed in action in Afghanistan - about 50 percent more - according to Pentagon statistics obtained by The Associated Press.


  1. I think we have a few active-duty and vets that sometimes post at this site, maybe they have an insight into what has changed in the life of the regular soldier, driving them to suicide?

    I’m always met with the ‘man-next-to-you’ flub when conversing with them face to face.
    I suspect that that particular mitigating factor has been overtaken by the increasingly politically-driven, expedient reality of signing away your ability to choose for yourself just how evil your actions will be.

    I know it’s insulting to even ask and I’ve tried to pare down the language but thems the apples.

    1.  Without any actual knowledge on the matter, my first guesses would be repeat deployments, psychologically and emotionally troubling experiences, minimal or ineffective social support systems, and PTSD.

      1. These experiences seem like they would be par for the course.
        Are you saying that these are new types of experience or that they are somehow worse than before?

        1. To my knowledge no one up until the whole Iraq thing served more than 2 tours, and if so it was very rare.  Now you have guys serving 4+ tours…  You have to imagine that for someone that is 20 years old that’s going to be 1/10 of their life roughly spent in a war zone.

          1. after some reading I admit I was ignorant of the extent to which soldiers were being asked to repeat, what seems to be being described as, harsher tours of duty.
            There are many references to the lack of a draft and some talk from soldiers who suspect that they are being more readily asked to return to active duty if they have already been on it, rather than being replaced by others who may not have the same level of experience.
            And that impetus to return really does seem to be driven by the ‘next guy’ attitude.
            However, the people who served long tours in Vietnam were all, essentially, choosing to do so.
            I still think there is some inherent quality to the type of warfare they are being asked to fight in which is contributing to the situation.

  2. Today’s soldiers face a battleground which is absolutely unprecedented. It’s basically legion garrison duty punctuated with firefights and explosions. And then you go back to base and get on Skype with your spouse. And you do it for ten years

    Can somebody explain how you’re supposed to remain sane in those conditions?

    1. That guy who went out and shot up a couple of families a few months ago was on his fourth deployment. Against his will. After two injuries. One of which was a head injury.

      1. Against his will? What, was he drafted? Or more likely he just wasn’t willing to leave the military without an “honorable” discharge, and the extra cashflow from Uncle Sam that comes with it?

        No one forced him to join the military. And no one forced him to stay. If anyone or anything other than the man himself is to blame, it’s the financial incentives of our mercenary army combined with the crippled state of our economy driving him to choose a life of brutality in exchange for money.

        It’s a sad and pitiable state of affairs. So long as we have young men and women who feel compelled to do our government’s dirty work because our society tells them it is their duty and obligation, and because for many it is one of the few ways to ever be able to pay for an education and have a life beyond menial labor, this sort of suffering and senseless destruction will continue.

        1. Against his will?

          It’s a term of service, which is usually four years with the military’s option to force you to do four more years if they’re short on personnel.  It’s not a job that you can just quit.  It’s called desertion, and you go to jail.

          1. Sadly and ironically, it’s the government that has deserted these soldiers, especially once they return home.

          2. I’m sure you appreciate that eldritch’s primary point was that he volunteered to enter that contract, not that the contract is easy to get out of.

            Although his comment wasn’t very sugar coated, he makes a solid point. It’s not just a gang of blood thirsty war mongerors that join the military, it’s also people with no better option. It’s all a bit sad really. And costly.

  3. Its a war with out any objectives that can never be won. And sadly there is very little out rage to make it end. I truly feel so sorry for our men and women over seas going through this.

    1. I agree with this.  This kind of “war” makes me sick.  We aren’t fighting a country or even a specific group of people, we are really fighting an idea.

      Notably the kind of “war” I might advocate would end up with a lot more people dead, but at least it would have a clear and rapid conclusion.

  4. War really is hell and I imagine Iraq/Afghanistan are about the seventh circle.

    This image is from the excellent On Killing by Lt. col. David Grossman about the personal and societal impact of conflict. 

    Much like the WW II returning participants versus the Vietnam participants there is a huge impact on the person depending on the support and recognition you get when trying to re-intergrate.

  5. this is all very sad, and to any troops reading:  Keep your head up.  we are disillusioned by this “war” also, but we do support you, the soldier.  Please, do your time and come back to us, we WILL help you.

  6. Every time I hear or read “freedom isn’t free”  I hope these hidden costs are being taken into consideration. Is what we have “freedom”, and is it worth this?

  7. This ‘news’ is unsurprising.  War is inhumane for everyone involved.  Don’t blame the soldiers, blame the cultures that create them – on both sides.  Take some personal responsibility.

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