The disturbing report last week of a record 164 suicides among active-duty Army soldiers in 2011 actually understates the rising number of American troops taking their own lives. Considering all military services, the fatalities are higher than the Army number, and total 2,356 since the so-called War on Terrorism began, through November 2, 2011. By comparison, 1,183 Americans have died in the Afghanistan conflict through February 15, 2012.
While the jump in suicides is correlated with deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, Army officials stressed “there are many other factors at work,” including alcoholism and “lower recruiting standards.”
The Army report also noted a sharp increase of 30 percent in violent sex crimes by active-duty troops last year, mainly against 18-to-21-year-old female soldiers. Army officials said the rise in sex crimes was due to increased reporting, alcohol and “new barracks that offered no privacy."
For more, please see the New York Times, January 19, 2012.