Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters yesterday that the expected increase in suicides among soldiers is “an emergency issue.” Existing rates are already alarmingly high. Mullen attributes an anticipated rise over the next few months to the large number of troops coming back to their bases after facing years of multiple deployments. As the U.S. draws down its forces in Iraq, Army and Marine Corps units in particular are finally getting a break from back-to-back tours of duty that started in 2003. Suicide rates have gone up in every branch of the military since 2004 with record highs in the Army, which has faced the most repeated deployments. Five Army suicides were reported just last weekend. In addition to post-traumatic stress disorder, Mullen said soldiers could also face problems that have not manifested themselves. Why do they keep assigning students Tim O’Brien books if no one ever learns anything?
Joint Chiefs chairman warns of rise in military suicides [Boston Globe via Daily Beast]