Hot off the press – suicide numbers are down dropping by more than 15 percent last year.
for Active Duty military personnel! Hot off the press because not enough time has elapsed yet before the “cooked” books cool down under the closer scrutiny of outsiders’ eyes. Today’s finding sounds just like the white washed barrage we were subjected to under the yearlong scrutiny of daily headlines of out-of-control sex-fiend officers in charge of sexual assault prevention programs sexually groping and sexually harassing their female soldiers. Case after case of the old “do as I say, not as I do” double standard hypocrisy rampant amongst authority figures from our politicians to the military to judges to school officials to parents.
Or the recent barrage of lobbying pressures and propaganda blitzes the Pentagon pulled off last month to ensure that sexual assault cases in the military remain in the military under status quo chain-of-command control and jurisdiction rather than be transferred to civil courts where perpetrators would be far less apt to be protected by the good ol’ boys club of the military. In the meantime, the very same hour of the same day that the conned good ol’ boys club of the US Senate votes to keep it status quo at the Capital building, a stones throw away at the Pentagon another branch of service head is reported to be under investigation for yet another case of sexual misconduct. Two weeks later two the day again at the exact same hour comes the “slap your hand” verdicts of the two highest profile sex assault cases of the entire year – General Sinclair retaining his stars and staying in the service with the inconvenience of a small fine and US Naval Academy midshipman’s complete acquittal. After a bunch of hype making false claims that all their systemic changes are and were working, life goes on as usual with women realizing the system has not changed at all, that it is still failing to either protect them or hold the derelict “perps” accountable. After all the circus headlines, it’s business as usual for women in the military.
Actually the good news of lower suicide rates that the military is so busy touting now, if you look a little closer, the decrease in suicides last year in the Marines and Air Force is by two or three, not the big drop they want the public to believe. So today’s big announcement that the military once again must be doing something right in the across the boards services’ decrease in active duty suicides is just more of the same CYA media blitz. That’s the way the military works. We saw it operating full swing last month with sex assaults. And now this month’s flavor-of-the-month scandal is being addressed by presenting their “must make changes to look good” numbers in an overly transparent attempt to once again take the heat off them. Driving our soldiers to madness and mass suicide because of the too obvious pink elephant in the room that can’t be swept under their rug any longer – there is too much insanity in our armed forces due to the US Empire’s agenda to use and abuse our troops with too many multiple combat tours on too many multiple warfronts over too many multiple decades… with more in the making as the war drums are again beating relentlessly loud right now.
The records speak for themselves. In its own recently released account, the Department of Defense’s comprehensive study shows that the US was forced to lower its standards for incoming recruits so half the GI’s accepted into the armed forces were already plagued with serious mental health issues PRIOR to entering the service! Then placing these same vulnerable individuals with a history of mental illness into the strained horrific conditions of war combat multiple times, using them up and spitting them out like the killing machine system does, then sending them home all messed up without proper care or after care, quickly dumping them out as untreated civilian veterans. Thus the system that destroyed them conveniently gets to wash its blood-stained hands clean of them and they are killing themselves at unprecedented epidemic rates. Our government has a way of using, abusing and then throwing away our veterans once they have been used up.
Only in the last year has the government even attempted to deal with this massive epidemic of mental illness-PTSD problem of our vets snuffing themselves like never before. And then once they have returned home, as civilians so little follow up care has even been in place. By the time our veterans endure all the dead time waiting on lists for actual services, typically over a full year – too many are dead already – either by self-inflicted causes or untreated medical causes.
Just yesterday the Phoenix Arizona VA Hospital was busted on CNN for more “cooked books,” exposing its secret invisible waiting lists of veterans that end up literally dying before they get assigned medical appointments. In the case of one veteran, 71-year-old Navy veteran Thomas Breen, who fell victim to this corrupt, inept system, he was seen at the VA hospital after noticing blood in his urine and his medical condition was recognized as severe enough to be given instructions to be seen by a specialist within a week, but because the system is so backlogged and broken, the veteran’s condition went untreated while hanging in limbo literally for months before the VA actually contacted his family with his appointment time, only to find out that Breen died of bladder cancer from his untreated medical condition the month before.
And this case represents just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to medical care for our veterans who were there to answer the call of duty when their country needed them yet when they needed their country for services guaranteed and promised them, once again our nation failed to deliver on its empty broken promises and guarantees. And this is the same sad, tragic story over and over and over again, war after war after war decade after decade after decade. And we wonder why so many are going off the deep end these days killing themselves and at times others in last gasp cries for help after our nation has destroyed them. The second Fort Hood shooting less than a month ago just four and a half years after the first one a sobering case in point reminder.
The big news headlines today declaring the suicide numbers are down amongst active duty ranks is just more distorted disinformation and propaganda in the wake of those Fort Hood shootings. All their beefed up to look good programs right in step with their cooked books, just so the appearance that their concerted efforts to clean up their act and cover their exteriors permit the heat that’s been building to conveniently go back to business as usual – that is until the next scandal breaks with more disturbing headlines. This is a very longstanding pattern reflective of a long broken and corrupt system that fails to take care of its own.
Also very problematic and out of control is using of our soldiers as mere guinea pigs for vaccines and big-pharm psychotropic medication overly prescribed in the services, as if the old band-aid tactic of numbing and suppressing symptoms actually work in the long run. They don’t. But between the over use of prescription drugs and vaccines causing permanent damage and deaths the all too often tragic outcome, these are just two more Pandora’s boxes the military brass have on their hands.
What today’s cooked booked headlines don’t even address are the skyrocketing numbers of veterans who have been discharged who are killing themselves at unprecedented never before seen rates. Further, today’s “look good” numbers only cover active duty personnel, the suicide rates of our soldiers in the National Guard and Reserves, the so called weekend warriors and two week summer warriors who have also endured multiple tours in combat are killing themselves more in 2013 than they did in 2012. This once again tells the same old story, that proper care is either severely inadequate or completely non-existent for them. Because these men and women have less psychological services available and far less day-to-day contact with their colleagues and unit commanders due to the temporary nature of their part time duty, they are slipping through the cracks that even cooked books cannot fudge. Just like the 22 veterans and growing each day who continue committing suicide. Even the faulty methodology in data collection that spins out the lower active duty suicide numbers that the Pentagon is releasing today cannot cover up the fact that every hour today another one of our used up and discarded vets is snuffing him or herself 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a year, no strike that, by year’s end, those numbers might climb to two untreated veterans an hour killing themselves. Even cooked books and propaganda blitzes cannot come to their rescue. Nor will the war economy nation of the American Empire and its war profiteers of the military industrial complex, for them its full speed ahead onto our next war… and on and on it goes with no end in sight.
Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former Army officer. His written manuscript based on his military experience examines leadership and national security issues and can be consulted at http://www.redredsea.net/westpointhagopian/. After the military, Joachim earned a masters degree in psychology and became a licensed therapist working in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. Joachim has experience treating veterans with PTSD. He now focuses on writing.