Martin C. Evans

Posts Tagged ‘Army’

With Army Suicides Up In January, Pentagon Promises Laser Focus

In Uncategorized on February 17, 2010 at 3:56 pm

The number of suicides among Army personnel continued its troubling rise in January, despite Pentagon efforts to identify and treat troubled soldiers.

There were 27 potential suicides in the Army’s active duty and reserve components last month, up from 17 in December, according to the Army’s Suicide Prevention Task Force director.

Col. Christopher Philbrick, the task force director, said the Army had boosted its attention on suicide prevention last year. He said the Army will now examine what has worked and fix what has not.

“In the new year, we won’t just maintain our current focus on suicide prevention, we’re going to sharpen that focus,” Philbrick said.

Army leaders are trying to change a military culture that often brands soldiers who seek psychological help as whiners rather than winners.

With the United States headed toward it’s ninth consecutive year of war, its all-volunteer force increasingly serves multiple combat tours, exposing soldiers to high levels of psychological stress. According to a Rand Corporation report, as many as one in five veterans of combat in Iraq or Afghanistan have post traumatic stress disorder.

‘…over the last year, you could describe our Army effort as shining a flood light on the problem of suicide,” Philbrick said. “Now in 2010, we’re going to move from a flood light to a laser light.”

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America’s sacrifice-free wars

In Deployments on December 17, 2009 at 12:40 pm

Soldiers at basic training

A former Army Ranger who taught at West Point says Americans talk a good game about supporting the war, but shamefully are willing to allow a tiny few to bear war’s burdens.

“The lie is that the U.S. armed forces have sufficient men and women to do their job, that morale is high, and burdens and pains negligible,” wrote Adrian Lewis, now a professor of history at the University of Kansas, in the current issue of Military Review.

Military Review is published by the Combined Arms Center, a U.S. Army leadership training institute at Ft. Leavenworth, Ks.

“Constant deployments are wearing out Soldiers, Marines, and their families physically, psychologically and emotionally,” Lewis wrote. “….The only way to do this in the current political, social and economic climate is to reinstitute the draft.”

But Lewis’ solution appears to be a non-starter.

Less than 1 percent of Americans serve in the U.S. military. And even avowed fiscal watchdogs, including Republican hawks, have refused to support a tax to pay for the cost of the two ongoing wars. The U.S has already spent more than a trillion (a thousand billion) dollars on the two wars since president George W. Bush first sent troops to Afghanistan eight years ago.

With few Americans doing the fighting, and a tax-free war that hits no one’s pocketbook, Lewis argues, politicians can continue war spending and troop deployments without fear of anti-war resistance.