Tag Archives: deployments

Death In The Afternoon In Iraq

Former president George Bush is happily clearing brush on his ranch in Texas, relaxing, earning money and enjoying the good life of an ex-president of the United States. Far off in Iraq, another victim of the Iraq war and the madness of WMD was not so fortunate. Sgt. John M. Russell, was on his third deployment and was suffering from the effects of too much combat, too much stress and most probably emotional exhaustion. He underwent counseling and it was recommended he not be allowed to carry a weapon but on a visit to the stress clinic, he became involved in an argument and was escorted out. Once in the car, he somehow grabbed the weapon of his guard, returned to the clinic and killed five soldiers including two doctors.

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said the incident, “does speak to me for the need for us to redouble our effort in terms of dealing with the stress(of combat). It also speaks to the issues of multiple deployments(and) increasing dwell time.”

A nation of 300,000,000 is asking 1.5 million to handle the entire process of defense. This is madness of the first order. If America is going to assume combat roles all over the world, it needs additional troops even if that requires introducing a modified version of the draft. The current system is unfair and asks too much of those who serve in the military.

Record Suicide Rate Among Soldiers This Year

A record number of soldiers have killed themselves this year–109–according to Army statistics. The sharp rise in the number of suicides is partially attributed to longer deployments which create additional stress upon individuals and families. The highest previous number of Army suicides since 1990 was in 1992– a period when the army was twenty percent larger in size. A total of 109 suicides would equal a rate of 18.4 per 100,000, the highest since the army began counting in 1980. The civilian rate was 11 per 100,000 in 2004. Senator Pat Murray, noted, “I’m surprised at the suicide increase. But when we’re not doing everything we can to deal with mental health, when we know the Army is under such stress, it’s not a surprise. It has to be a wake up call.”

There have been repeated complaints from a variety of mental health, political, and social groups concerning the enormous stress being placed on fighting men and women who serve two or three deployments in Iraq with no end in sight. The armed forces either have to cease such extensive fighting or face the reality of introducing a draft in order to alleviate the stress imposed on those in combat.