They are the casualties of wars you don’t often hear about - soldiers who die of self-inflicted wounds. Little is known about the true scope of
suicides among those who have served in the military.
But a five-month CBS News investigation discovered data that shows a startling rate of suicide, what some call a hidden epidemic, Chief Investigative
Reporter Armen Keteyian reports exclusively.
The chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, responded to the CBS News story:
“The report that the rate of suicide among veterans is double that of the general population is deeply troubling and simply unacceptable. I am
especially concerned that so many young veterans appear to be taking their own lives. For too many veterans, returning home from battle does not bring
an end to conflict. There is no question that action is needed."
Prior to the U.S. Invasion of Iraq in March 2003, the VA issued a report to Pentagon and White House officials saying that it expected that the number
of U.S. troops who would suffer from PTSD would reach a maximum of about 8,000.
But Paul Sullivan, the executive director of Veterans for Common Sense, told lawmakers those estimates were extremely low. He continued to sound early
warning alarms about the extent of PTSD cases and the likelihood of veteran suicides during numerous appearances before Congress over the years.
“The scope of PTSD in the long term is enormous and must be taken seriously. When all of our 1.6 million service members eventually return home from
Iraq and Afghanistan, based on the current rate of 20 percent, VA may face up 320,000 total new veterans diagnosed with PTSD,” Sullivan told a
congressional committee in July 2007. If America fails to act now and overhaul the broken DoD and VA disability systems, there may a social
catastrophe among many of our returning Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. That is why VCS reluctantly filed suit against VA in Federal Court . . .
Time is running out.”
It seems that veterans of war are being forgotten and ignored by their governments. I have mixed feelings on anyone who decides to become a soldier
and fight in 'wars', but if they decide to do so, they should be treated with absolute respect by the government/institutions they work for.
It sickens me that these brave men and women are being used and then discarded when they become a problem.
It seems suicide rates are getting higher and higher (and not just in the armed forces) and it has become somewhat of a silent epidemic.
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