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Neues Deutschland, Germany

Murderers Committing Suicide

By René Heilig

Translated By Ron Argentati

16 January 2013

Edited by Natalie Clager

Germany - Neues Deutschland - Original Article (German)

Kurt Tucholsky's dictum is well known: “Soldiers are murderers!” Less well known is the fact that soldiers are also suicidal. The military newspaper “Stars and Stripes” reported that last year, 349 U.S. soldiers committed suicide. During the same period, 295 U.S. soldiers were killed in Afghanistan.

The ratio gives pause for reflection, especially for the Pentagon because the suicide rate among troops has been on the rise ever since 2010 when the number stood at 295. One year later, it had risen to 301. Then Defense Secretary Leon Panetta recognized what he called “one of the most complex and urgent problems” currently faced by the military. He added that the first step in combating the phenomenon was the honest recognition that the problem exists.
Most victims were those who were on their first deployments to Afghanistan. Every shot a soldier fires at the enemy is like a shot fired at himself. This is especially true when the trigger is not pulled remotely via unmanned drone, but when the shooter can see firsthand what kind of destruction he has caused. It’s just as when each of his friends who returns home in a body bag also takes a part of his own soul with it. “It's your funeral.” The old canard is just as cynical as the members of Congress who routinely raise their hands voting to send in more troops. They're sentencing more troops to become murderers—and more to become suicide victims.



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