While writing my book ‘Shock and Awe on America’ I discovered startling information about the high number of troops’ suicide during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. This suicide rate started to increase soon after the Bush wars started and climbed higher than anyone could have imagined. This was probably the most guarded secret of the former Bush administration.
They just could not risk losing the public’s support for their wars that they had dishonestly garnered, so they shamelessly hid the information of the PTSD suffered by the troops and the devastation it caused. They instead manipulated and suppressed the information released to the media. We know this by the fact that the information was not made public by them even though CBS and others were able to uncover the numbers.
This cover-up compounded an already bad situation because the issue was not brought out in the open and consequently was not dealt with in any purposeful way that would have brought about a solution to the growing number of suicides. In any event, the true numbers were kept hidden even with sources like CBS and myself trying to get the word out. Below is a post I made on my blog in 2009 that describes the situation and puts some real facts and numbers to the issue, it is really a snippet of a chapter in my book.
CBSNEWS.com found in their investigations that in 2005 there were at least 6,256 suicides among those who had served in our armed forces. Shockingly, that means approximately 120 troops per week throughout the year of 2005, committed suicide. On 9/11, 3000 people died, so Bush started two wars, but this information means we have been having approximately two 9/11 events taking place every year, with over 6000 suicides, and Bush and his followers did nothing significant to stop this atrocity.
This is Bush’s true shameful legacy of Shock and Awe. This article also showed findings that veterans were twice as likely to commit suicide than civilians, veterans having a suicide rate between 18.7 to 20.8 per 100,000 compared to civilians’ which was 8.9 per 100,000. The article also pointed to a really shocking fact among troops aged 20 to 24 years old. Their suicide rate is a shocking two to four times higher than civilians of the same age, civilians that age have suicide rates of about 8.3 per 100,000 thousand, while vets that age was found to commit suicide between 22.9 and 31.9 times per 100,000.
It is expected that the number of those who attempted suicide and were saved is much higher. A Bloomberg.com article reported that about 1.6 million troops have fought in the two wars since 2001 and an estimated 20% or 320,000 suffer from PTSD or depression. This echoes a Rand Corporation study that was published in April 2008. I am truly Shocked and in Awe that Bush and his people did nothing significant then and still do nothing significant….they don’t support the troops….so don’t trust or follow them or their radio and TV mouthpieces, who still say they do. They are not patriotic.
There is still not enough observance and emphasis even now in 2012 placed by the Government, the Military or the general media, on revealing this startling epidemic to the public. I believe it is an epidemic. These suicides do account for a significant enough number of the amount of troops involved on site, in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars that it qualifies and can in my opinion be termed an ‘epidemic’… something the powers that be in the Obama administration must do their darndest to reverse.
I am happy to see that a Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Huffington Post’s senior military correspondent David Wood, who is now bringing some light to the issue of troop suicide.
Huffington Post reports:
David Wood has spent decades covering war, watching as wounded combat troops are loaded onto medical evacuation helicopters and, he said, “go off in a cloud of dust.” But after their sacrifice on the battlefield, Wood said, “you never know what happened to them.”
So for eight months this past year, Wood reported extensively on the lives of severely wounded veterans and their families in“Beyond the Battlefield”, a 10-part series awarded Monday with the Pulitzer Prize in National Reporting.
Wood, 66, began his journalism career in 1970 as an editor for the Pioneer Press chain in Illinois. In 1977, he started covering guerrilla wars in Africa as Time magazine’s Nairobi bureau chief, later reporting on the military, national security and foreign affairs for the now-shuttered Washington Star, Los Angeles Times, Newhouse News Service, Baltimore Sun and AOL’s PoliticsDaily site. Wood, who was previously a Pulitzer finalist, has covered conflicts in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Central America. Most recently, he has made several trips to the front in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I now ask everyone who reads this article to reach out to our troops in any way you can and help them to get through this PTSD epidemic. Please give them the respect and honor they deserve while extending a graceful hand of assistance in any way you can. Their numbers are many and their needs are overwhelming.
We all know or sometimes meet various members of our armed forces, please remember just smiling and being civil to them is a step in the right direction and even if they do not tell you, it is greatly appreciated. It is time to return the love, to share the love that these men and women wore as shields of honor on their chests when they rode to war and fought on the battlefields for their country – for you and me.
This is still an unfolding story, they are still fighting, still being hurt, still arriving home on wheelchairs, on stretchers and in body bags, although thankfully they are not being spirited away in the dark of night anymore, in secret as they were in the Bush administration’s shameful and inexcusable handling of our lost soldiers for all those years, as if there was some shame anywhere in these troops’ existence on or off the battlefields.
They now arrive with honor, with ceremony and respect fitting of fallen heroes, who ultimately gave all. As I write this, I offer a tearful blessing and thanks to them, they are the very best of us.
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