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317.  Sun Oct 19, 2003 5:42 am Reply with quote

According to the most recent Pentagon figures, Operation Iraqi Freedom as of September 25 had claimed the lives of 309 U.S. troops. Of those, 196 were killed in action or as a result of wounds suffered in action. The rest died from what's called the "fog of war"--often mundane things like traffic accidents, injuries, and illnesses. Also included in the fog, but not often mentioned, are 10 service members--nine Army, one a marine--who have committed suicide or, in military parlance, whose cause of death was "self-inflicted." Fifteen other deaths are still being investigated as possible suicides.

In the year 2000, suicide was the second-leading cause of death in the military, and it's always in the top three. By contrast, suicide does not even appear in the 10 leading causes of death in the general population. But that overall statistic masks facts more telling from the military's point of view. For example, for men it is the eighth-leading cause of death. And it's the third-leading cause of death among males who are 15 to 24 years old--double the rate of the general population. So, in part, suicide may be a major medical problem for the military simply because the services are made up mostly of a high-risk population of young men.

340.  Sun Oct 19, 2003 1:02 pm Reply with quote

An interesting piece - evidently there's a lot of work being done on this topic. I imagine that the answer won't boil down to a soundbite, ie you'll never be able to lay the blame at a single door. For example, the op cit suggests that the high suicide rate may have to do with people finding the loss of liberty inherent in military discipline too irksome to bear, but plainly this wouldn't explain the suicide of an ex-soldier, which is where our discussion started. Similarly, part of the explanation for serving soldiers could be sheer opportunity (they've got guns), but this doesn't work for the vets either.

342.  Sun Oct 19, 2003 1:09 pm Reply with quote

I wonder if some of it is a consequence of not being able to cope with freedom from military discipline. I think ex-prisoners often have this problem too - they go from a situation in which their immediate needs (shelter, food, warmth, clothing) are met with no effort on their part, to having to provide for themselves. I suppose it can be a drastic form of growing up. As I watch my two older children (25 and 22) having to make their own way in the UK while I'm over here and they don't have me to immediately turn to, I'm struck by what hard work it is, actually, to simply be a responsible adult, though I don't remember finding it such myself at that age.

348.  Sun Oct 19, 2003 1:18 pm Reply with quote

We'd be in danger of getting a bit circular if we blamed it both on the presence of military discipline and on its absence.

BTW, has anyone else's margin suddenly shot out beyond the right-hand side side of the screen, but only on this page?

409.  Mon Oct 20, 2003 3:11 pm Reply with quote

Yes - my text seems to have suddenly got a lot wider, but only on this page.

Maybe it could be different causes for different people though, Flash?

411.  Mon Oct 20, 2003 5:05 pm Reply with quote

I've posted an alert on the Website Comments page so the Men Who Know will pick it up.

424.  Tue Oct 21, 2003 7:59 am Reply with quote

Aha. I see now that the long url that caused the problem was my fault, for which I apologise profusely. Seems to me, Kieran, this is easily cured by alerting posters, present and future, to the effect it causes, and asking them to rearrange the url tidily as you have done for me.

We could put this on a Read This First file that people have to look at before they can register. It would contain the legal disclaimers that Flash is keen to have, establish whose intellectual property the content of the site is, and could also contain a Handy Hints section explaining how to us the Command buttons, as well as an EtiQIette piece explaining what we want from posters, how they're expected to behave and so on.

425.  Tue Oct 21, 2003 8:03 am Reply with quote

Can I suggest that the discussion on Suicide relocates to the SUICIDE thread, conveniently started by slimbell.

426.  Tue Oct 21, 2003 8:09 am Reply with quote

Yes, I think a kind of mission statement for the site would be good. I'll have a go at drafting something.

432.  Tue Oct 21, 2003 8:26 am Reply with quote

That would be very gracious of you.

434.  Tue Oct 21, 2003 8:38 am Reply with quote

<feels an instant nausea at the thought of mission statements in general, but sees the necessity and grits her teeth>

442.  Tue Oct 21, 2003 10:08 am Reply with quote

You just need to put the acronym, FAINATTOMSIGBSTNAGHT.

443.  Tue Oct 21, 2003 10:16 am Reply with quote


Can you let me have the phone number where you are now? Email it to me if you like. I'd love to talk to you.


(spec, in case you hadn't guessed)

444.  Tue Oct 21, 2003 10:32 am Reply with quote

Of course I'd guessed! (Not totally dumb here, you know...)

I'm literally on my way out of the door, and in-and-out today, but you can reach me on the home number I sent you on a private message on this board (I'll email it again in case you've mislaid it) between 1.30 and 2.30 my time today (sorry - it really is a busy day!)

Failing that, I'm home tomorrow all morning (ie I'll be conscious after about mid-day your time!) and not planning on going out until about 4pm my time.

618.  Thu Oct 23, 2003 5:43 pm Reply with quote

No quibbles with tonight's show, other than the fact that I'm at least as famous as two of the guests, but did anyone see the thing about prayer which predeced it? It was like one of those shaggy dog stories with no punchline: a documentary about a ten-year study conducted to find out whether having people pray for you makes your heart surgery any more likely to succeed. They concluded that there was no evidence that it does. Surprise, surprise ...


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