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Army's Prescription to Combat Soldier Suicides: Christianity

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posted on May, 13 2009 @ 09:10 PM
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reply to post by dooper
 

Very, very powerful, dooper. Once again very, very well put.
You have discovered your path to becoming whole again. The work of the warrior.




posted on May, 13 2009 @ 09:19 PM
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I am all for the millitary using religion as a tool to make soldiers feel better. Some soldiers may respond well to it. Religion should not be the tool and it should not be thrusted down solders' throats.

The major problem is that I do not think the military is going to properly use religion. Some soldiers are religiously inclined and would respond well if a chaplain approached them and offered them religious guidance and services. Other soldiers may be repulsed at the idea. I do not know if the military is good at finding out which soldiers are relgiously inclined. The military may not also be good at backing away from soldiers who do not wish to receive religion.



posted on May, 13 2009 @ 10:24 PM
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Originally posted by dooper
So. The highest form of valor and courage is reserved.

Not for warriors, but for mothers, wives, and fathers of warriors.



WoW. I can't put in words the valor, honesty and genuine thought of those words. I'm speechless. *tips hat*


www.youtube.com...

Also, DancesWithWolves, I caught a lump in my throat when I read about your son seeing the video (you sent) of his sister singing the Star Spangled Banner, and how it saved his life.
Truly remarkable. A beautiful story. I extend my gratitude and appreciation as well.
I hope for all combat-veterans the full emancipation from the horrible memories of war.
And that's by whatever means, including religion.
I really feel for this.

Most soldiers will tell you, everyone has a God when they're in a foxhole.
Personally I wasn't too religious by the time I enlisted.
I grew up in a strict Roman Catholic home......yeah.
My (much younger) sister was my motivator and mind savior, similar to your son OP.
At the same time. however, I would never try to take away or mock anyone's God.
The fact that the U.S. Army has adopted, of opening and closing Battle Update Briefs (BUBs) with a (Christian) prayer is a bit ludicrous.
Camouflaged bibles??????
I'm just theorizing, but I truly believe this approach will soften these men in the moment of battle.
Like Dooper mentioned of how a worthy and plausible approach should be to give peace and relaxation to these men (and women) for say 10 days, after combat, before sending them home, should a similar approach seem more worthy and plausible DURING combat????
Instead of clip-on-tie Chaplains and Christian prayers?
I know it's not the boy scouts, and that being mentally prepared for combat is crucial as well, but perhaps somthing relatively similar, making these soldiers SMILE from time to time. I'm not saying necessarily to make it fun being at war, because that's a ludicrous statement, but maybe keeping the psyche and soul happy might help not only the healing process of when they return, but keeping their spirits up DURING combat.
This probably sounds bizarrre, but I'm posting anyway, because it's an idea. And ideas can spawn from other ideas as well......help me out......what am I trying to say here?


Great thread, btw. ...




[edit on 13-5-2009 by Ben Niceknowinya]



posted on May, 13 2009 @ 10:50 PM
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In a combat zone, it is the smallest of things that mean the most to a soldier, and one can never underestimate the enhanced or perceived value of the tiniest of gestures.

After all, all the big stuff is out in the open- life, death, destruction, food, water, courage, fear. You get very accustomed to that stuff, to where you almost don't consciously notice. Everything is reversed. Things you should fear, you don't. Things you hold valuable are so base and twisted.

A small reminder of home, letter, a photo, a blow by blow report on a recital, a word, a letter from a child, possibly a sibling, a phrase, or a voice - that's what provides that damn near invisible thread that leads directly back home. And it turns things right side up for a while.

It's difficult to put into words, but I kind of welled up hearing how his sister's voice snapped him back, because I saw such things do the identical thing scores of times.



posted on May, 13 2009 @ 11:13 PM
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Originally posted by Ben Niceknowinya
.. should a similar approach seem more worthy and plausible DURING combat????
Instead of clip-on-tie Chaplains and Christian prayers?


Wow, I remember the RR of VietNam days. And how many years did I see on tv Bob Hope's USO tours. Of course, VN had another way to get relief...drugs and joints.

dooper, one of the most treasured things of my Mom's was a shoebox containing all my Dad's letters sent home while he was in the Army. That's another thing. Back then a Dear John letter was traumatic; I wonder if a Dear John email or video is more so today.



posted on May, 13 2009 @ 11:17 PM
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There is an old saying some obviously have never heard. I forget who said it, but it is very true.

There are no atheists in the foxhole.



posted on May, 13 2009 @ 11:31 PM
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reply to post by desert
 

I got my Dear John just as I headed for combat. I was so affected - angry, hurt, disappointed, puked out, and just plain mad.

I fear I took it out on our enemies. At the time I was doing this, I had no intention of making it home. My mom knew it and tried to talk to me about it, but I was having none of it, and it was a long time after I got back that she brought it up.

I had zero intention of coming back. None. I was absolutely, completely - empty.

I could wade in where as the Good Book suggests, "angels would fear to tread." Everyone thought I was brave, and I got lots of medals for valor. I once asked that if instead of another Bronze, I could trade it for something lesser - like a Good Conduct. The Command Sgt. Major said, "if you stay in this man's Army for another twenty years, you'll never, ever, get a Good Conduct Medal. You couldn't trade a Congressional for a Good Conduct."

We both laughed it off, but he made his point.

Courage? Nothing could be further from the truth. I had nothing. Odd, but empty, you have nothing to lose. Nothing to think about. You are free to react on a purely instinctual basis. No conscious thought - no reason for hesitation - no hesitation.

Upside? No fear. But no compassion, no empathy, no mercy, no feelings, and worst of all - no hope.

Never did drugs. Hardly drank.

I finally worked it out when a friend told me that by example, I was getting a lot of guys hurt and killed trying to emulate me.

Never intended that. Here they were, trying so hard to get back home, and yet I'm the one causing them to do things they just couldn't do. They weren't empty.

So one of my officers took me on a personal R&R, and we commenced to have a real good time. I could taste food again. I could taste the beer and the liquor. I found I could actually laugh. It was quite a revelation.

Problem was, when I got back and I now had a little sense, I was expected to do the same things as before.

Scared *less after that!

Served me right!




[edit on 14-5-2009 by dooper]



posted on May, 13 2009 @ 11:38 PM
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Originally posted by dooper
In a combat zone, it is the smallest of things that mean the most to a soldier, and one can never underestimate the enhanced or perceived value of the tiniest of gestures.

After all, all the big stuff is out in the open- life, death, destruction, food, water, courage, fear. You get very accustomed to that stuff, to where you almost don't consciously notice. Everything is reversed. Things you should fear, you don't. Things you hold valuable are so base and twisted.

A small reminder of home, letter, a photo, a blow by blow report on a recital, a word, a letter from a child, possibly a sibling, a phrase, or a voice - that's what provides that damn near invisible thread that leads directly back home. And it turns things right side up for a while.

It's difficult to put into words, but I kind of welled up hearing how his sister's voice snapped him back, because I saw such things do the identical thing scores of times.




Hence, it's the little things that count the most.
Things I (we) take for granted, daily.
I remember the letters I received from loved ones meant the WORLD to me!
Yeah, you nailed it right on the head. . .exactly with what you just said.

"and one can never underestimate the enhanced or perceived value of the tiniest of gestures."

"After all, all the big stuff is out in the open- life, death, destruction, food, water, courage, fear."

Incredible how an environment such as war, reverses perception, and alters the very conscience.

I think your abilty to fathom this, and understand it also gives you the ability to cope with it greater, or better. Aside from being a person with incredible wit, intellect and character, you are, truly, a great soldier. I salute you Dooper, and would like to add you as a friend.
What is your rank, if you don't mind me asking?
I would guess, a hard-nailed NCO, with a platoon under his wing?
If so, your men were fortunate to have a good leader such as yourself.

I often find myself boggled by the lack of the leadership I found in the Army when I was enlisted. Shammas as I liked to call em.
I would find grizzled veterans I could have this discussion with, and one in particular I remember saying how the 'calibur and quality' of leaders has squandered in the Army.
I understand times have changed, the world has evolved, and people also, but compare the men of today's Army with say WW II era?
Were spazzes and suicides as common? (I'll have to look into that)
My point is, if aim for suicide prevention and dealing with pre and post-traumatic stress of soldiers was taken towards the LEADERS of these soldiers, these soldiers might find the better understanding of war within their leader. I know I admired my NCO. He was a good man.
I would let him try to preach me some good, instead of a Chaplain any day.
I also remember (like in Basic) when everyone would go to Church, & I (with some others) would me mopping floors or waxing because we didn't have deep religious beliefs.
Which in a way, if you're not religious in today's (Christian) Army, you're an outkast.....in some sense.
I think it touches the root of the problem.
Let the soldiers find God themselves, possibly in a foxhole with tracers piercing above, and find stigma and 'mind salvation' from their leaders.
Dude, great f*cking thread.! Ideas...here........
What today's Army need more of. Ideas.
But you're right Dooper.
""But the Army is the Army, and no one can tell them a damned thing.""

It's the soldier's who don't get the letters from loved ones.....
don't have pictures........
the perfect family memories......
that we need to reach out to. "To turn things right side up for." I don't know........you're right tho Dooper it is difficult to put in words.

*carry on*






[edit on 13-5-2009 by Ben Niceknowinya]



posted on May, 13 2009 @ 11:43 PM
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They need to send in new troops. Let the ones there come back and get some much needed rest. There will be a whole generation of men and a few women with mental problems coming back to the USA.

I'm all for the draft. Let all those über-patriots who are sitting comfortably in their sofas at home get to do something for their country.
That'll be the end of the war (hopefully).



posted on May, 13 2009 @ 11:46 PM
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Hey this is a great idea, similar to how Christianity can heal gays so they can become straight. If you pray enough, it will solve anything!! Jesus is the way.



posted on May, 13 2009 @ 11:46 PM
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reply to post by DancedWithWolves
 


So much for the 'Prince of Peace' aye?
....or are the soldiers suddenly going to have epiphanies and turn their guns into ploughshares?



posted on May, 14 2009 @ 12:09 AM
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reply to post by Ben Niceknowinya
 

I was in SF, and I served with two Ranger companies. When our team would get shot up and until replacements could come in, I was loaned out to Companies who had fresh officers to try to keep them from getting folks killed their first couple weeks in country.

I wasn't a great soldier, probably not even a very good one. I was just very good at what was required at the time.

The caliber and quality of today's soldiers are the best we've ever had. Ever.

But we have too many soldiers.

And they're piling on the mileage. It isn't the length of the trip, it's the mileage that's rapidly piling up on the men.

You know. In combat you only get a series of brief, troubled naps, and no real rest. Your exposure is 24/7. The thousand-yard stare? No goal posts in sight.

These guys we have now are absolutely great. They suck it up and head out just like any other American soldiers of any time. I think they're the best we've ever had.

Our generals aren't worth a damn, but we've only had a dozen or so good ones since the first shots at Concord.

The problem is, pristine performance reports, conflict avoidance, mistake avoidance, PowerPoint presentation skills, kissing political creases, degrees in Political Science, and success working the Washington cocktail circuit aren't exactly the historically successful criteria for choosing a general.

Except here in the US.

I thought I was taking pretty good care of my men until a good friend pulled me over and "schooled me."

You think you're doing the right thing to minimize the risk to others, like always taking the point, always doing the recon, always disabling booby traps, always setting up ambushes, always taking the last watch, always recovering the wounded, only to find out you're creating the perception of something that doesn't exist. Something unattainable. All because you're detached.

God, that I could do that part different.

Water under the bridge.



posted on May, 14 2009 @ 01:06 AM
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Originally posted by dooper
Our generals aren't worth a damn, but we've only had a dozen or so good ones since the first shots at Concord.

The problem is, pristine performance reports, conflict avoidance, mistake avoidance, PowerPoint presentation skills, kissing political creases, degrees in Political Science, and success working the Washington cocktail circuit aren't exactly the historically successful criteria for choosing a general.

Except here in the US.


Such are easiest kinds of people to manipulate and control. I don't have to be in the military to know that, I see them everyday in my office...



posted on May, 14 2009 @ 08:26 AM
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Originally posted by jd140
There is an old saying some obviously have never heard. I forget who said it, but it is very true.

There are no atheists in the foxhole.


Yes I've heard it. It was also posted earlier in this thread. It's true. God is known by many names. The point is....I'm not advocating atheism. I'm reminding that freedom of religion is in the Constitution for really good reasons. One I mentioned earlier. There are many - that's why it's in the Constitution. It truly matters. Principles in means or the end, have to stand, or We stand for nothing.

The way to heal our soldiers is not through pushing Christianity. The way to help, of which there are many, are in ideas like the insightful and thoughtful ones I have read from other posters here. Pushing Christianity is not a benign gesture. There are many in leadership who deep down, see and treat this as the Holy War of our time.

How I wish I could have a porch sit with Abraham and talk about bringing his children together in their vision for our future....and their followers. Maybe they too, were empty at the time, and had nothing to lose. Maybe in truly trying to save the world, they had to become numb and so felt disconnected, and set a standard that could not be emulated.



Originally posted by aorAki
reply to post by DancedWithWolves
 


So much for the 'Prince of Peace' aye?
....or are the soldiers suddenly going to have epiphanies and turn their guns into ploughshares?



Actually.....yes. I'm glad you brought this up. Jobs. To answer your question directly, yes he came home to a homestead of farmland that has been in our family for more than 100 years. He will help with the plowing, although his generation in not in-line yet to reap the income, if there is any left at the end of the year for the small family farmers. The generations ahead of him are many and he is blessed to have the Grandfather he does who loves him as a son, and is truly, one of God's Noblemen.

To answer your question generally, yes...as Americans...we all need to start making things again. Things we can barter, trade and exchange. There are thousands of products in the Survival threads which in business language would provide sustainable product market share..blah...blah...blah.

As families, as neighbors, as communities, real world and virtual, we need to make things. We need to stop being afraid to roll up our sleeves and open our garages for whatever talent of trade is naturally inherent in each of us. We need to stop letting the middlemen of big business get so far between those who are selling and those who are buying that we don't look each other in the eye and shake on a fair trade.....ever.

We need to take up the plow....whatever our plow may be....and yes, I believe "God" thought enough to provide each and everyone of us with a "gift" for a reason. Those gifts are our Why.

We need to talk to one another. We need to listen to the pains of others without resentment that our own may be going unheard. We need to work - together.

Thank you to everyone who has shared such thoughtful insights and whose comments have sparked such ideas....may they spread and grow and may the souls of our world....begin to heal, and find home.

Dooper.....blessed be.

Peace


[edit on 14-5-2009 by DancedWithWolves]



posted on May, 14 2009 @ 09:30 AM
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Originally posted by haika
I'm all for the draft. Let all those über-patriots who are sitting comfortably in their sofas at home get to do something for their country.
That'll be the end of the war (hopefully).


The "über-patriots" of today, who forced the nation into war, went around the draft (Nat'l Guard, deferments, 4F), when they were of draftable age for Viet Nam. The über-patriots (or uber-anything) talk the talk but don't walk the walk. Instead, they send others to do their bidding.



Originally posted by dooper
Everyone thought I was brave, and I got lots of medals for valor.
...

Courage? Nothing could be further from the truth. I had nothing. Odd, but empty, you have nothing to lose. Nothing to think about. You are free to react on a purely instinctual basis. No conscious thought - no reason for hesitation - no hesitation.


You did what you personally needed to do. To others, you were the definition of hero or brave. And you were...are.
It feels weird to be called brave for something you felt you needed to do and did do. But, whether or not what you did could be attainable by others, you were (are) an exemplar, and worthy of honor.

You recognize courage in others, because you know the courage in you. What sometimes is thought to be courage or bravery isn't, but you understand true courage. And you "encourage" others to find their courage. I would say that is a leader.


Originally posted by DancedWithWolves
We need to stop letting the middlemen of big business get so far between those who are selling and those who are buying that we don't look each other in the eye and shake on a fair trade.....ever.


We have been turned from being called "citizens" into being called "consumers". With tragic results. Consumers can be sold anything. Citizens embrace ideals worth honoring and fighting for.


Originally posted by DancedWithWolves
Pushing Christianity is not a benign gesture. There are many in leadership who deep down, see and treat this as the Holy War of our time.
....
We need to take up the plow....whatever our plow may be....and yes, I believe "God" thought enough to provide each and everyone of us with a "gift" for a reason. Those gifts are our Why.
...
We need to talk to one another. We need to listen to the pains of others without resentment that our own may be going unheard. We need to work - together.





posted on May, 14 2009 @ 10:08 AM
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Originally posted by dooper

After all, all the big stuff is out in the open- life, death, destruction, food, water, courage, fear. You get very accustomed to that stuff, to where you almost don't consciously notice. Everything is reversed. Things you should fear, you don't. Things you hold valuable are so base and twisted.



Some GIs Forced To Steal Water in Iraq


(CBS) Stories of short supplies for American forces in Iraq, such as inadequate body armor or unshielded Hummers, have been around since the war began. CBS affiliate KHOU-TV in Houston has discovered that some soldiers were forced to ration water, perhaps as little as 2-3 liters per day, because there was never enough.

It is less than the one gallon minimum a day that an Army manual says is necessary just to survive in a desert environment. In fact, an Army training document on preventing heat casualties states that water losses in the desert can reach 15 liters (about four gallons) a day per soldier.

Army Staff Sgt. Dustin Robey told KHOU correspondent Jeremy Rogalski that soldiers would throw up or pass out from dehydration.

Chronic dehydration can lead to such problems as kidney stones, urinary infection, rectal afflictions and skin problems, and can have long-term health problems, including kidney injury.



posted on May, 14 2009 @ 11:12 AM
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Soldiers in every war have always been short of something.

The Quartermaster only has too sizes - too few, too many, too large, too small, too soon, and too late.

However, there are some of the most intelligent, devious, plotting, conniving, and scrounging men in the world serving.

They'll eventually "procure," "adapt," "reappropriate," or outright steal what they need.

Thus, my inability to get a Good Conduct Medal. We'd procure a jeep, swap the jeep for air conditioners, and swap the air conditioners for M2's and specialty items.

Since your uniform and everything says, "US ARMY" it's really not stealing, but just a more effective method of distributing things where they are needed the most!

In days past, our officers would turn their head, not ask questions, and sometimes cover for you.

But our senior officers today have no sense of humor at all!



posted on May, 14 2009 @ 02:31 PM
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Okay, I did some simple Google searches on 'suicides in the military' and i was SHOCKED with the results.

I found out the record keeping of suicides began in 1980, so it's hard to determine comparison with other wars such as Vietnam, WW II.
But here are some artcles I found, most written earlier this year:

source: www.cnn.com...

If those prove true, more soldiers will have killed themselves than died in combat last month.


I found this to be kinda funny: "Col. Kathy Platoni, chief clinical psychologist for the Army Reserve and National Guard, said that the long, cold months of winter could be a major contributor to the January spike.""

Maybe it's true, but I find it hard to believe cold weather contributes to soldier's suicides.

source: usmilitary.about.com...


The other services have also seen a rise in their suicide rates. The Marine Corps suicide rate went from 33 in 2007 to 41 in 2008. The Navy had 39 suicides in 2008, compared to 37 in 2007. In 2007, and the nine years preceeding, the Air Force suicide rate averaged 9.7 per 100,000, but in 2008 it jumped to 12.3 per 100,000.


here's an article only a few days old: www.npr.org...

A good point is mentioned by the repeated deployments:
source: www.huffingtonpost.com...


She said her husband, John, had completed 75 missions in Iraq and was struggling with anxiety and depression but felt he'd be letting others down if he sought help and couldn't return.


75 missions!!!!!

I have also read that the rate of soldiers coming home and killing loved ones is at highest rate..........sheesh.

One thing that caught my attention is the malaria drug used: Larium.
or (Mefloquine).



Mefloquine, sold under the brand name of Larium TM, is a popular medication for preventing malaria, but has some side effects that preclude some people from taking it.

www.anytestkits.com...


Mefloquine may have severe and permanent adverse side-effects. It is known to cause severe depression, anxiety, paranoia, aggression, nightmares, insomnia, seizures, birth defects, peripheral motor-sensory neuropathy,[2] vestibular (balance) damage and central nervous system problems


en.wikipedia.org...

Here's an interesting article (on Larium) written back in 2003:
www.military.com...

Apparantly this drug turns people into "The Terminator."

Could there be a link here????


As far as the drug causing homicidal flip-outs, though - I don't think there is any connection.



In scientific terms, Lariam can cause neuropsychiatric adverse events. In plain language, it can make lose your mind.


link: :www.cbsnews.com...
this was back in 2003.

A methodical, (current) medical study surely couldn't hurt.
If there was one, there needs to be more, imo.




Related topics on ATS:

www.abovetopsecret.com...
www.abovetopsecret.com...
www.abovetopsecret.com...



posted on May, 14 2009 @ 09:15 PM
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reply to post by DancedWithWolves
 


Don't think so, erratic behavior can hit anyone.
By promoting Christianity the Army would eventually do
away with itself.



posted on May, 14 2009 @ 09:42 PM
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Originally posted by dooper
Soldiers in every war have always been short of something.



This made me laugh. I would contend that they may well be a few cans short of a six-pack, or a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic?





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