Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Deaths Not Noticed

An article in the Editor&Publisher mentions the topic of suicides among the U.S. military in Iraq:

One of the least covered aspects of the fallout from the Iraq war is the rising toll of suicides, both near the battlefield and back home.

Latest official figures released by the Pentagon reveal at least 116 self-inflicted fatalities in Iraq. But this does not include several dozen still under investigation, nor any of the many cases back in the U.S.

A death is a death is a death, you might say. But surely some of these suicides were preventable? And surely their number prepares the administration for the onslaught of many more depressed returning veterans who might also be suicidal? Surely we will now see a large increase in the budget for mental health care services for the veterans? Surely, please!

The human costs of war are many. Some can be counted in immediate or near-immediate deaths. For some, the death takes a little longer to achieve. And then there are the costs of pain and suffering, limbs and eyesight lost, families torn apart. And even later, the children of damaged veterans will suffer.

For all these reasons those who decide that wars are the answer should be taught what it is that they are unleashing. The hounds of war don't go home when sated on the battle fields.