Since April, the military says, at least 17 Americans -- 15 Army soldiers and two Marines -- have taken their own lives in Iraq. The true number is
almost certainly higher. At least two dozen non-combat deaths, some of them possible suicides, are under investigation according to an AP review of
Army casualty reports.
Whether the suicide rate among the troops should be considered high is impossible to say because there is nothing to compare it with, experts say.
Rudd said that by the Army's calculations, its suicide rate in Iraq is roughly 12 per 100,000 -- well below the civilian suicide rate for U.S. men
of 17.5 suicides per 100,000. The comparison is misleading, however.
The civilian rate is an annual figure, and the Iraq figure covers only about seven months. Furthermore, the troops have not yet spent their first
holiday season in Iraq -- a time when the risk of suicide is traditionally at its highest.
In all, 422 U.S. troops have died in Iraq. The military has characterized 129 of the deaths as "non-hostile," including 105 since President Bush
officially declared major hostilities over on May 1. Most if not all the confirmed suicides occurred after May 1, according to the military. According
to an AP analysis of military reports, non-combat deaths include 13 caused by a weapons discharge, two from drowning, one from breathing difficulties
and one described only as "medical." An additional 13 are listed with no cause given.
For Rebecca Suell and many of the families of soldiers who are believed to have killed themselves in Iraq, answers are as hard to come by as sleep.
......So what is she supposed to tell Jada, Rebecca Suell said, the next time she asks: "When is my daddy coming home?"
this is sad....very sad...