John Donnelly of Congressional Quarterly has a disconcerting piece out today noting that more US military personnel are dying from suicide than from either of the US military engagements in Iraq or Afghanistan.
More U.S. military personnel have taken their own lives so far in 2009 than have been killed in either the Afghanistan or Iraq wars this year, according to a Congressional Quarterly compilation of the latest statistics from the armed services.
As of Tuesday, at least 334 members of the military services have committed suicide in 2009, compared with 297 killed in Afghanistan and 144 who died in Iraq, the figures show.
Lawmakers in recent years have been increasingly concerned about the growing problem of military suicides, especially in the Army. They have been holding hearings, passing bills and approving billions of dollars more than requested to improve mental health care for military personnel and veterans.
But even those who have been most intensely focused on the issue said they found the new numbers alarming. So far in 2009, the Army has had 211 of the 334 suicides, while the Navy had 47, the Air Force had 34 and the Marine Corps (active duty only) had 42.
Maybe wars that never seem to really end has something to do with it.
— Steve Clemons