Sunday, May 14, 2006

What The Hell Is Your Major Malfunction, Private Pyle?

We've had a lot of trouble with reporters lately. First, the Stock Market tumbled because USA Today reported that the NSA was spying on Americans. And now, those America-hating traitors at the Hartford Courant reported that the Army was sending suicidal troops into combat.

It didn't matter if the troop's commander was aware of the situation, or whether the soldier was taking anti-depressants (which even GlaxoSmithKline now admits lead to an increased risk of suicide in younger patients), the soldiers were still deployed to Iraq.

Let's look at this statistically. Among the entire population of the United States, rates hover around nine suicides per 100,000; of course, this includes the entire population and all its extremes: the elderly, the terminally ill, and any number of other mental and physical states which could be considered statistical anomalies. The military, of course, weeds their personnel, to a certain extent, to remove the ill and the old; they also have psychological tests that are supposed to prevent some extremes of behavioral disparity (not that those tests are as effective as they could be).

Among the military, twenty-two deployed soldiers committed suicide last year, accounting for one in five of all non-combat deaths (this, of course, does not factor in any suicides that might have been made to look accidental), out of roughly 130,000 troops deployed to Iraq - or roughly 17 suicides per 100,000 people, almost twice the national average. And of course, even if they do get home, those soldiers will have a difficult time getting counseling, what with the VA withdrawing benefits related to a diagnosis of PTSD from Iraq veterans (in fact, the military is becoming positively apathetic toward what they called "shell shock" in World War One, redeploying soldiers diagnosed with PTSD to Iraq).

A study has been released showing that the British military has similar problems.The US Navy, suffering from increased suicide rates among their submariners, is at least trying to do something about it.

And it seems obvious how the enemy will use this report. First, they'll start playing sad songs twenty-four/seven on their radio stations. Then they'll start forging "Dear John" letters from home. And that will be the end for this Great American Experiment in Nation-Building.

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