Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Why Doesn't the President Send Condolences to the Families of Troops Who Commit Suicide?

The link contained in the title of this post is well worth reading, an interview with the parents of a soldier who committed suicide during this second tour of duty in Iraq, and who found out that the President (due to longstanding policy, not a new one with Obama) doesn't sent condolences to the families of troops who commit suicide. That seems wrong to me, and very sad for families who are already dealing with the crushing blow of losing someone they love, someone who very likely would still be alive if they hadn't been in the military, and in a war.

Here is another article by the interviewer, "The War Condolences Obama Hasn't Sent," about the same case.

This young man's story is so like Leif's, only Leif was medically boarded out of the army because of his asthma and therefore wasn't sent to Iraq, only to Bosnia, but if he had been sent to Iraq, I don't think he would have survived it.

The suicide rate in the military and among veterans is climbing alarmingly. They are dying of anguish and their lives have been sacrificed on the altar of war and military training. A RAND study found that 20% of the troops that serve in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD or depression, and I'd be willing to bet there are more that aren't detected or don't admit it . . . until it's way too late.

Those of us who don't serve in our armed forces and don't have to face multiple deployments to war zones should be very thankful, thankful there is no draft (but it there were, the burden would be shared), thankful someone else is willing to shoulder the burden and soldier on.

But let's value the lives of those who commit suicide, too. They have served.

I think Leif would feel strongly about this, about honoring the service of his fellow soldiers.

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