RANGER AGAINST WAR: The Enchanted Forrest <

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Enchanted Forrest

--The Birdcage, by Squirrell

Civilizations die from suicide,
not by murder

--Arnold J. Toynbee

Depression is rage spread thin
--George Santayana


A follow-on to PFC Hutson's suicide as told in Peter Van Buren's book, We Meant Well.

How does a person get to the point that they are willing to "eat their weapon", especially a young and healthy trooper? Was it disenchantment that the Magic Forrest promised by recruiters was not all college fund tuition access? Was it reality, or unreality, which became too much?

In Ranger's day we said, "This is unreal", when it actually was very real; sometimes so much so that reality did approach the surreal. Possibly we Americans live in unreality and are therefore unable to cope with the reality that is every day fare east of Eden.

My thoughts go to command responsibility in these suicide scenarios, responsibility from E-5 up to 01-0 level. Suicide, like terrorism, can be countered by proactive procedures the lessen the likelihood of an incident. Suicide, like terrorism, has distinct signature events leading up to the finality. Neither happens without a lead-in.

Clearly, happy people do not commit suicide. Unhappiness is often signified by depression, so when a soldier is depressed command should order an intervention. Meddac has counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists and a dispensary full of appropriate drugs. Having young, un-individuated people with access to firearms demands careful command supervision.

Unhappy, depressed soldiers are as easy to spot as a drunk in a choir, so these preventable suicides cannot be blown off. Of course some will fall through the cracks, but an active suicide prevention program could head off many tragedies. Unfortunately, the culture which blithely accepts combat deaths is often not exactly concerned with one extra combat or non-combat death, more or less.

It was reported in November that a veteran commits suicide every 80 minutes, making for 18 deaths a day (A Veteran Commits Suicide Every 80 Minutes). If 18 veterans were killed in action every day, these wars would be shut down right quick, as the public would most likely not have the stomach for 540 deaths per month. Nice little memorial ceremonies cannot gloss over a glaring problem which could be honestly addressed.

May all our lost soldiers rest in peace. Their deaths will be meaningless until we apply lessons to mitigate such needless losses, and prevent future meaningless wars.

Unfortunately, this is not likely to happen soon enough.




Anonymous Blakenator said...

Well said. Unfortunately, the power structure manages a large degree of separation from the actual event. Emotional detachment is pretty easy when you are just looking at a name on a list or a number in a pile of statistics. IMO, politicians and senior brass should be required to attend funerals of the fallen in their district or command, regardless of cause.
BTW, the only "success" the Cheney cabal of war criminals acheived was minimizing press coverage of the actual dead and maimed, thus keeping any discussions of "why" out of sight.
You may have also noticed "draft-dodging" is quite acceptable these days whether there is a draft or not.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at 11:15:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Chief said...

Don't hold your breath, re: ending war at all, much less soon.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at 12:19:00 PM GMT-5  

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