There are plenty of metrics in the assorted US wars that just seem to get worse and worse, but none is more glaring than this: in July, the US Army lost 38 people to suicides, the highest number for a single month in history.
Grim figures about increasing suicide rates have been coming for years, and each time the military has sought a new excuse, recently trying to blame the problem on “drug abuse” and insisting the wars have very little to do with it.
Today’s figures came with another new excuse, and one perhaps even more galling than the efforts to make it nothing about the war. Army analyst Bruce Shahbaz suggested the troops are killing themselves because they’re not being sent to war as much anymore.
“With the draw-down of troops from combat, soldiers are spending more time at home and the emotional adjustments have become a struggle,” the argument goes. Interestingly the figures are dramatically higher than pre-2001, when the bulk of the military was spending virtually all of its time at home.