Death by War, Suicides Outpace Combat

Death by War, Suicides Outpace Combat

More soldiers commit suicide each year than are killed in combat. 349 young American men and women in the military took their own lives in 2012––one every 25 hours––confirms the Department of Defense. Struggling with guilt, broken marriage, drugs and alcohol abuse and mental illness, American soldiers are killing themselves because War Does Something Bad To You. War is not only hell for those who fight; it becomes a disease brought back into society by those who cannot deal with the dangers of stress. Post Traumatic Stress or PTS not only debilitates the soldier’s mind, but it stigmatizes him or her––labels them with a huge and obvious black mark as someone buddies cannot count on.  Some can ignore death and destruction, but the legacy of soldiering can all too often be suicide by hopeless depression. “I should have died with my buddies.” Nothing in war makes sense anymore, nothing makes life worth living. A soldier learns how to kill. How does learning how to kill contribute to society? Haunted by the death and destruction seen with their own eyes, done with their own hands…watching those they have lived and fought with die right in front of them, their bright red blood seeping into the porous sand…knowing they have faced and overcome danger together over and over again has a tendency to burden a soldier with a deep sense of guilt. Like a cancer, guilt grows, guilt kills. Who do we blame?  The military for missing the disease? The military demands a killer. Only society can create a culture of war. Only society sends boys and girls to fight telling them they are fighting for our freedom, when in reality for Standard Oil. What did the average American citizen need with war in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan? We have only ourselves to blame for war after war after war. How many American sons and daughters will commit suicide before we question wars for Standard Oil?

Richard Dorsey, Hacienda Heights, CA

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