Monday, June 24, 2013

Unacceptable Losses

One thing that has perplexed me about the military suicide issue is the increase after the stress of constant deployments ended as the Iraq surge faded and combat missions decreased dramatically after victory.

Strategypage notes that suicide rates are still lower than the general population of similar demographics. And this is odd:

In fact, most of the military suicides are of men who were never in combat, or even overseas.

I've always wondered about the old theory that it isn't so much the combat as the post-combat let-down. Keep the troops busy so they don't have time to think, I've read. For those who came back after the high tempos of deployment to win in Iraq, did they have too much time to think before the effects of PTSD could be treated and wear off?

But with so few people involved, the very real impact of PTSD on those who were overseas in combat makes the rates go up a lot. Add in some troops with family or personal problems unrelated to combat or deployment and you have a crisis.

The suicide problem isn't as bad as it seems--but the military is rightly trying to fight the trend. The trend at least is down from the 2009 peak.

I also wonder if the jihadis have similar problems--or if their casualty rates make it unlikely that there would be survivors to suffer PTSD.