Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Michael Fumento: The CBS report on suicides among Iraq war vets is bogus

It doth appear that CBS is "doing it" again.

CBS asserts: "veterans were more than twice as likely to commit suicide in 2005 than non-vets." And "veterans age 20 through 24, those who have served during the War on Terror. They had the highest suicide rate among all veterans, estimated between two and four times higher than civilians the same age." And, "CBS said the suicide rate of these young vets was 22.9 to 31.9 per 100,000 people."

Mr. Fumento observes:

Last month, the Army released a report finding that the suicide rate among these GIs in 2006 was 17.3 per 100,000 troops -- rather lower than CBS's rate for veterans. Why would soldiers who were recently on active duty be killing themselves at a much higher rate than those still serving?

More important still, the Army study corrected for some key demographic facts -- notably, that the military is largely male and that men are much likelier to commit suicide than women are. Among civilians who match the overall age, gender and race profile of the U.S. Army, the suicide rate was 19 per 100,000 -- higher than for the troops.

More, at the link.


Anonymous said...

Hi. Not looking to comment -- looking for an email contact for Mata. Terry. ex-reuters. terryfriel@fastmail.net

Alia said...

H back atcha! Have forwarded your comment to Mata.

TrekMedic251 said...

Its OK,...Katie the $15M Hooker will show her legs, bat her lashes and say the whole thing is more of the vast, right-wing conspiracy!

Alia said...

trekmedic251, I'll give you that and raise you another one:


The Huma ruma is Hillary disinformation
James Lewis
So you're Hillary Clinton, and your past can't withstand examination. What do you do? Well, try a little Black PR operation.

Call it a pre-emptive self-inflicted smear. Because you know your shady past is bound to come up, and a lot of that stuff happens to be verifiable

MataHarley said...

Pajamas Media has a Jules Crittenden article that addresses this very subject. Notable statements of reality that stand out in my mind are in the last paragraphs:

Theoretically, the CBS report of a GI suicide epidemic -with U.S. senators now prompted to react- should improve treatment and help make life better for returning war veterans. Whether it actually will is debatable: whether the senators will in fact do anything useful and if the veterans are stigmatized as they were in the post-Vietnam-era. And beyond that, if they are encouraged to see themselves as maladjusted.


.... we’ve become too sophisticated now to fall for the stories of great leaders and heroes. The flaws and failures are what fascinate us. And as we seek to spare everyone from all harm, we may find ourselves incapable of preventing greater harm from falling.

Sadly, Crittenden has nailed the truth. We are a society that cares more for the negativity of war than for the cause and results. We wring our hands in genuine sadness for those unable to cope with what they saw, while the media and pols use such statistics to drive their particular agendas.

I actually heard this suicide story a few months ago. At that time, they were saying the rates of suicide were up, and used the 90s as the threshold.... an era of relative quiet for the US military by comparison.

Personally, I am not surprised by the increase. And I'm not sure it is something that we can ever prevent. As Paul Rieckhoff, a former Marine and founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans for America said:

Not everyone comes home from the war wounded, but the bottom line is nobody comes home unchanged.

In the somewhat peaceful decades between Vietnam and Iraq conflicts, the service became considered a finance tool for education... and it is. But the reality of serving in conflict is still the main course of the military.

I saw the "dead look" in the eyes of many friends and companions that returned from Vietnam. The lights were on, but often no one home. There was a distance. Sometimes it closed over time. Sometimes it did not.

But for today's generations, used to violence and conflicts being confined to their video games, the real thing has an impact that manifests in not so pretty ways on a young psyche. Violence is not as glamourous as Hollywood and gaming makes it to be.

I don't know the suicide rate of WWII veterans as a percentage, but I'm sure it was higher than in times of peace. And they were welcomed home as heroes... not spit upon by a spoiled and narcassistic society.

I imagine that frontline in any war cannot help but make one forever vunerable to how easy it is to take a life.... including their own. And that they choose to do so just breaks my heart.

Alia said...

I read the Jules Crittenden article when it came out. That para you excerpted, Mata, is so profoundly true.

And, "As Paul Rieckhoff, a former Marine and founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans for America said:

Not everyone comes home from the war wounded, but the bottom line is nobody comes home unchanged.

Is also very true. My dad, veteran, active duty in two wars over ulti-decades still has occasional nightmares and "memories". My daughter will not forget what she saw, those she fought beside and with, it's a permanent part of her. Still has an occasional dream. I share your experiencs in re Vietnam vets, Mata. But I won't also say that illegal drugs didn't play a part in some experiencing and prolonging PTSD, if not even INDUCING it. That has been my experience; it may not be anyone else's.

I'm around soldiers daily. Here. Routinely, the ones I see who seem to exhibit PTSD are those who also have "relationship" troubles here back home in the U.S.

One close pal fresh back from Iraq a while back, I was watching closely. Over time, he sorted out just fine.

You know what got him something fierce? Every single night at his outpost, the "enemy" was flying out morter. Every single night. It was psychologic torture for he and his troops. You knew the "enemy" was dicking with you; but you could never be sure they wouldn't just "hit home" with a shell; so, you were on your edge by night; all night; and trying to sleep during the day with all else going on.

What I do get creeped out by is this Hollywood image attributed to PTSD -- The "Coming Home" Syndrome. I hated that film when it came out; and to this day I still hate it.

Making people afraid or overworried around soldiers is no way to help them, either. Dealt with a woman a while back who was nearly hysterical, whispering "PTSD" every time her husband even looked funny. He finally blew up and yelled at her to knock it off; he'd already told her he was fine. She just wouldn't let go of overdramatizing every single behavior of his. If he was quiet, she'd worry. If he cussed when hammering his finger, she'd worry. She was driving him nuts.

And then there's the chicks who decide they don't want to be married any more; and if they have kids, take the kids away from the soldier dad/soldier mom.

The latter is where I see the the greatest worry when it comes to PTSD. Began seeing it towards end of year 2001. Compounded by soldier's emails asking if there was anything I could do here, to help.

Politicizing PTSD really peeves me.

Getting help is exactly what soldiers need. And the soldiers know it too. They worry about each other plenty without politicians policitizing PTSD.

And right there is the rub.

How far does one go?

We already have at least half a nation of drama queens and their leaderettes in the media needing fresh blood for their "sensation" machines to feed the blood and sorrow lust of the masses -- I know people still psychologically messed up from car accidents in their lives -- at what point is there a balance between between stresses and war.

Far too many children are now slapped with labels and drugged and dragged through "mental health" because they are deemed "stressed out" or "insufficient focusedly stressed".

And that's exactly what I think some wish to do with our soldiers.

And here's the worst part. And I know this from the soldiers themselves -- MANY WON'T GO FOR HELP and because THEY KNOW THEY'LL BE USED AS A STATISTIC TO BOLSTER THE ANTI-MISSION, ANTI-VICTORY SIDE OF THE POLITICAL AISLE.

Alright. I'm sorry for shouting. It just gets my very last nerve.

The soldiers themselves are bending over backwards doing their jobs, meeting their obligations and watching over their buddies, trying to help. Either trying to help those buddies get professional help, or helping out in any way they can to reduce whatever load it is the troubled soldier has on his plate.

They believe in the mission, and they will achieve Victory.

If that's the last breath they've got.

And this is our brave and wonderful men and women in the military.

Would that our citizenry could be even remotely as self-disciplined. snort.