Sunday, May 14, 2006

Support (the mental health of) the troops

The Hartford Courant has a very disturbing story this morning:
These practices, which have received little public scrutiny and in some cases violate the military's own policies, have helped to fuel an increase in the suicide rate among troops serving in Iraq, which reached an all-time high in 2005 when 22 soldiers killed themselves - accounting for nearly one in five of all Army non-combat deaths.

The Courant's investigation found that at least 11 service members who committed suicide in Iraq in 2004 and 2005 were kept on duty despite exhibiting signs of significant psychological distress. In at least seven of the cases, superiors were aware of the problems, military investigative records and interviews with families indicate.

9 Comments:

Blogger Ezzie said...

I believe that morale in general is way above normal, though, and suicides may be below normal. It's not "because of" Iraq per se - though obviously these should have been handled better.

12:48 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

Ezzie, where on earth do you get your morale assessments?

When something as tragic and complex as suicide occurs, it's impossible to blame a single event -- of course. But this is symptomatic of a military force pushed to the very limits.

Moreover, there will be 12,000 sailors and airmen in Iraq performing combat support roles normally (almost always) performed by army personnel.

12:51 PM  
Blogger zen said...

This story illustrates the absurdity and emptiness of "Support the Troops".
Imagine the standards of protocol that are being ignored, abused and misinterepted by troops that are forced to stay in service with mental and emotional disabilities, under this severe stress. "Hearts and minds."

Assessments that see only the rosey, or blame everyone else come from the "tinkerbell strategy"
Just clap louder and it's sure to be OK.

6:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Ezzie, where on earth do you get your morale assessments?"

Ezzie is probably an honest, down-to earth man that most likely does not rely on news sources like The New York Times, AP, LA Times, CBS News, ABC News.

Have you ever possibly assumed that there are some of us that may have served in active duty and may know actual people that are currently serving in the military that pose the truth about the bullshit that the press covers?

True, there ARE suicides in the military, but the numbers have not necessarily increased due to the war. Suicide is an ugly fact, but using suicide rates and exaggerating on them is a ploy used by the media today. It drives opinion to whatever direction that the liberal media wants their readers to follow, and this is sad but true.

Often, I have contacted a friend that works over in the Pentagon over stories that are covered in the news. He tells me never to believe in the astute and confounding bullshit that the NY Times spews out, and especially the LA Times as well. Most of the time, the "numbers" are grossly exaggerated.

There is no better time to bullshit the public during the time of war. It's almost as if the sheeple seem to cave in and frantically believe everything the NY Times and CBS News has to say, even when there is record of SEVERAL TIMES that both of these "news sources" have been PROVEN to be lying about something or have deliberately lied and twisted up facts - something that is completely unethical in the journalistic world - but if you have to lie and the story sells, that's the way to sell papers.

Ezzie gets his morale assessments obviously by not reading the drivel and lies that seep out of the sources that you seem to follow as gospel. That is NOT good. It tends to remove a lot of the credibility that you try to put forth in your news comments. Try other sources. Blogging on news is much alike being a wine critic.

Perhaps give it a shot and try to quote a more broader spectrum other than the liberal media sources you stick to.

You are a talented writer. A good news blogger quotes several sources and makes comments. Try steering over to more alternative sources.

Thank God you at least don't quote on the crap over at salon or daily KOS - you're far too intelligent to do that. I compare both of those sites to the weekly world news, or the national enquirer.

9:05 PM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

Though Anon was a bit strong, he made good points. There was a USAToday article a few months back about desertions in Iraq. The liberal blogosphere and most major news sources made a big deal out of it - for one day. Then, they realized that the numbers were in fact LOWER than during periods of non-combat, which was my point. It is *not* symptomatic of a military "pushed to the limits" - this military is nowhere near the levels of just about any previous war in US history.

2:42 AM  
Blogger zen said...

Hear that? The government, military, Pentagon are the trusted sources. Especially in a time of war. No reason for them to steer us wrong or paint rosey assesments. They've such an impeccable track record of feeding us the truth. What an institution to praise as an "ethical" example. "There is no better time to bullshit the public during the time of war." Indeed.
Other media sources too. So you hear that? It's not that he wants unbiased reporting, only reporting that leans toward his way of thinking.

If you're against this war, or see anything wrong with it's execution, or Bush diplomacy in general you must have been brainwashed by that evil "liberal media". Better to just pull the flag down over you eyes and clap louder.

8:50 AM  
Blogger copy editor said...

There is a lot to respond to in these comments. Would have been nice if I wasn't drinking with two e5s last night and I could have responded.

Anonymous, you wrote:

Have you ever possibly assumed that there are some of us that may have served in active duty and may know actual people that are currently serving in the military that pose the truth about the bullshit that the press covers?

Your assumption is that I have no contact with anyone in the Military or in Iraq. Those are both erroneous assumptions.

Anon, you also wrote: ... NY Times and CBS News has to say, even when there is record of SEVERAL TIMES that both of these "news sources" have been PROVEN to be lying about something or have deliberately lied and twisted up facts..."

Could you please provide explicit examples instead of merely writing "something" and "several times" and then asserting that these were lies when in fact they may have been human errors in reporting -- but how can we tell, you are referring to vague icidents.

Anon, you also wrote:

Ezzie gets his morale assessments obviously by not reading the drivel and lies that seep out of the sources that you seem to follow as gospel.

You've stated where he does not get his assessment of troop morale, when the issue was where that assessment is achieved.

Anon, you also wrote:

Perhaps give it a shot and try to quote a more broader spectrum other than the liberal media sources you stick to.

Perhaps you'd like to offer some sources. I check the DoD's press release page regularly. Any other suggestions?

Lastly, Anon you wrote:

Thank God you at least don't quote on the crap over at salon or daily KOS - you're far too intelligent to do that.

Agreed, Kos' bloggers are pretty awful.

Ezzie, you wrote:

There was a USAToday article a few months back about desertions in Iraq. The liberal blogosphere and most major news sources made a big deal out of it - for one day. Then, they realized that the numbers were in fact LOWER than during periods of non-combat, which was my point. It is *not* symptomatic of a military "pushed to the limits" - this military is nowhere near the levels of just about any previous war in US history.

I distinctly recall that article. It was misrepresented by USA Today and fed the Left Wing's political machinations. It was, journalistically, "sexed up"... as a Brit once wrote. You've confused desertion rates for troop morale, however. Retention rates are high in the active duty force and the reserves. However, reenlistment bonuses are also very high and there have been a number of call-ups from IRR. Ezzie, much more knowledgeable people than you or I have determined that the military is pushed to the limit. Please read this story from the USA Today about Navy and Air Force personnel being trained to replace Army support staff in traditional Army roles in Iraq.

Zen, as you said, If you're against this war, or see anything wrong with it's execution, or Bush diplomacy in general you must have been brainwashed by that evil "liberal media".

I could not agree more.

12:04 PM  
Anonymous Daniel Haszard said...

Bravo your blog,they are risking life and limb in the defense of our country.Back in the early 1970’s i worked with a crew of Vietnam vets many who were deeply troubled with PTSD.
It’s about time the mental health concerns of military personnel and their dependents gets priority.–Daniel Haszard

1:30 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

Thanks, DH. That means a lot.

1:42 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home