OK, I’m going to start with assuming I’m becoming anti military, as I’ve kind of hammered at them a bit from time to time. I am a huge military supporter, I just wish the civilian bosses would let them actually fight a war, not play patty cake and dance around ridiculous rules of engagment. What follows is my take on the widely touted suicide rates and disability claims reportedly running rampant.
First disability. During the combined Iraq and Afghanistan wars there has been 50,000 physically wounded troops, that’s in 21 years of combined warfare (we had 30,000 wounded in 82 days of fighting on Okinawa). For some reason out of 2.5 million who have served in those conflicts, 900,000 are reported on disability or have claims pending. That’s an astonishing 36% are on disability or have claims pending…especially when only 2% were actually injured. What is the story behind this? I think if you come back and say you have a headache, they say it’s service/war related. That number is just wrong on many levels.
Now for the suicide. These numbers are even more astonishing, and hard to believe. The national suicide rate is about 46,000, which is a .0001 suicide rate. The odd thing is the suicide rate of veterans is claimed to be 22 a day, 8,030 a year, or .00002 of the total national population. There are 22,600,000 vets in totality in the country, that includes me and anyone alive who served in the military. So the rate of suicides committed by veterans vs the entire veteran population is about .0003. The 22,600,000 is equal to 7% of the nations population, yet that 7% of the population lays claim to 19.8% of the annual national suicides?! I’ve known a lot of vets in my life, and I’ve never known of one who committed suicide. I don’t buy the numbers at all, there is an agenda. It makes me think of the heat Tom Colburn, republican senator from Oklahoma is taking. Sen. Colburn is being criticized for blocking the Clay Hunt Bill (named after a vet who committed suicide), a bill that will add 22 million to the VA budget to study and combat suicide. He is blocking it because he said the money is redundant, that those type of programs already exist, and because there are no offsets…we can’t just keep tossing money at things. I happen to agree with him, again, because I don’t by the numbers.
Look, I’m not a shrink, I can’t determine what is going through a person’s mind, but something isn’t right. History has had various terms to cover what we now call PTSD, such as “battle fatigue”, “shell shock”, the “thousand yard stare”. I don’t deny those things exist, but I do think they are handing out that diagnosis like candy at a parade. Drone pilots are being treated for PTSD for crying out loud. The former Marine who was recently locked up in Mexico for accidentally crossing the border with a carload of guns and bullets claims he was in San Diego for PTSD treatment. His mother blamed his wrong turn on “directional dysfunction” as a result of his PTSD. Yet he was able to drive from Florida to Southern California, was able to find a parking spot at the boarder, walk across, find his way to a “right of passage for Marines in Tijuana”, and walk back to his vehicle with no problem. I forgot, as a Marine Sgt. he would have had more than basic training in land navigations, in other words, reading a map. Then he gets lost and makes a wrong turn. My personal opinion was he was buzzed and that’s why he made the wrong turn, but they pushed the story about PTSD and “directional dysfunction” to deflect the real reason, and drum up support…but I digress.
How in the world can our military claim to be the best on earth and be made up of the best people, yet they are mentally unstable and killing themselves at astonishing rates. For one, I don’t believe the numbers. The government is doing their best to push as many people as they can into dependency mode, and in my conspiratorial vein, they will eventually push to disarm PTSD veterans. Another thing, follow the money, disability means a check from the government…an anti suicide plan means a check from the government…which means more tax money out of you paychecks, and leverage over people.