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Lower Recruitment Standards Contributing to Military Suicide Rates

All Posts  September 15 2008
 — By Scott Lee

Are you kidding me?

I was checking out the Army’s Stand-To website to see what tabs were being kept on the blog world. I clicked on a link about military suicides and found a whooping flaming red flag of ignorance and decided to Try and put it out.

When I read the question of whether lower recruitment standards were contributing to higher military suicide rates, I immediately wanted to react negatively and harshly. But I had to think about where it came from and I had to deduce that it was from ignorance of military life and the nature of combat.

The military way of life provides strong attachments through a communal approach to every aspect of interactions between soldiers and their families. Whether through a support network for the spouse of a soldier to help one another or to the training of our troops.

This interconnectedness brings a sense of herdness into the human fold centered around the soldier. Developing and enveloping the individual perspectives while opening them to a cohesive togetherness usually not felt before enlisting.

I am describing the level of bonding that occurs on a military post before a war has been brought into the picture. Now add in a military conflagration and this level of interpersonal commitment and associations have become welded to each others identity.

Bonding through blood and battle takes the soldier to a whole new level of raw humanism forged through survival and fight or flight defensive mechanisms. The psychology of killing alters the terrain of the mind disabling the rational machinery and enabling the ancient reflexive responsive unconscious.

When combat takes away the soldier who has became the centerpiece of an intimate community it breaks down. Whether he has been buried or she has become a prisoner of her own mind; war fractures the body, mind, spirit and the community that once knew cohesion.

The troops who do make it out of the theater of combat have been changed in body and mind. They have lost substantial parts of their mind, soul and community. Psychological trauma devastates the battle buddy, spouse, children and splinters everything that once was the bedrock of the out American Soldier.

Add it all up and what do you think the equation equals?

(5) Readers Comments

  1. Roman General, are we still ignoring the effect our own public and politicians play in this? With all of this research you have done, then surely you know that you can’t treat the patient without treating their environment. With the distructive/abusive environment we return our soldiers to, we DESTROY our own soldiers. We give our own soldiers PTSD. We make our own soldiers commit sucide.

    We tried to brand the Vietnam Veteran as a war criminal, we tried to brand the 1st Gulf War Veteran a hero (when most did not feel like hero’s), now half of us try to brand the soldier as a war criminal and the other half wants to brand them as hero’s (again, when most of them don’t feel like hero’s). Both of these are wrong, and both of these CONTRIBUTE to undue and uneeded stress.

    You, RG, were branded a hero when you felt like anything but. What has it done to you? It stopped you from putting your war experince in balance.

    Yes, RG, we need to treat the symptoms, but we can and MUST treat the causes. One of those that MUST be treated is the environment that brands our soldiers with unrealistic and unwanted brands.

    We can help with that. CF and his friends could also help, if they would.

  2. SSgtJ, If I thought that everything that can be done was on the topics of PTSD, veteran treatment by the gov’t, war, heroes and criminality then I would not be writing about such things.

    Shit man, have you not been reading ANY of my posts? Are you being judgmental after only reading four of my posts? If, IF you have read all, ALL of my posts you would see that your accusations were totally baseless. I have covered all that you have said in my blog (except the ad hoc arguments), go read it.

    Now, to address your attack on me. Why ask a question if you already have all the answers? Again, this attack of yours tells me again that you have not read anything about me. If you had you would know well the balance in my life today, yes I even wrote about that too.

    I would suggest to you, SSgtJ to look at self and ask why you have overwhelming anger to project at others. I suspect that your being treated badly after coming back from Vietnam might have something to do with it. Its just a theory, I am not claiming to know everything.

    Go get some therapy and quite attacking others who are actually working for change in themselves, others and society.

    I challenge you to seek out that which makes you passionate and make that your life’s quest. How else will we change the world?

  3. Our national institutions are working hard to help wounded warriors from past battlefields of WWII, Korea, Vietnam; and wounded warriors from current Global War on Terror conflicts in the Persian Gulf and around the world. In particular, the Armed Forces and the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as numerous civilian organizations; are working feverishly to help with the mental wounds of war.
    The reality, however, is that the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense simply don%u2019t have the capacity or the means to address the pervasiveness or the magnitude of this national challenge, particularly for the many National Guard, Reserve, and former troops and families who silently suffer in the %u201Cwoodwork%u201D of America.
    The reality, also, is that the wounds of heart, soul, and spirit have a spiritual component %u2014 an incredibly relevant faith component %u2014 that is not being adequately addressed. Despite the valiant efforts of many organizations and commitment of billions of dollars to address these issues, there remains a serious gap %u2013 the faith gap.
    So how do we address this faith gap? The initial premise must be that God is the true healer, and that Jesus Christ is the avenue to experience true recovery from the ravages of combat trauma, particularly those visited on the mind and emotions. For many of our veterans and returning warriors, this will be a long road; but there is hope.
    In my own life, and in the lives of many wounded warriors; I have personally observed the peace, the calm, the healing that God can bring to war-ravaged souls. Whether for the Veteran who has lived in the lonely isolation of combat memories for decades, or young Warriors just returning from their first horrors of combat; the power of God, the power of God%u2019s written word, and the community of God%u2019s people around our nation can become powerful resources in this healing process. And this healing can certainly extend to military families and many others impacted by these mental, emotional, and spiritual wounds of war.
    In a day where we are willing to try everything else %u2014 acupuncture, Eastern mysticism, drugs,yoga, etc %u2014 let us also have the moral courage to integrate the very powerful components of faith to fight the ravages of combat trauma, PTSD, suicide, and hoplessness which have become pervasive across our nation. See http://www.PTSDhealing.org for more information and resources.

  4. Sorry RG, there was no attack aimed at you. If you read that out of what I wrote, then possibly I wrote it poorly. Maybe my PTSD makes it difficult for me to write as eloquently as I would like. I certainly never intended to anger or harm you in any way. Man, I love you. You are my brother. I would fight to the death for you.

  5. SSgtJ, I am sorry myself. I have been going through some stuff concerning PTSD also and let my emotions rule my comments. Dude we have fought to near death for each other, we go on fighting everyday. Some days are better than others, love you to brother.

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