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Panama America, Panama

US Troop Suicides


By Jesus Jimenez

Last year, 349 U.S. soldiers committed suicide in Afghanistan, allegedly from anxiety disorders and depression after 10 years of war. The Army is the most affected.

Translated By Brian Perez

17 February 2013

Edited by Lau­rence Bouvard


Panama - Panama America - Original Article (Spanish)

Last year, 349 U.S. soldiers committed suicide in Afghanistan, allegedly from anxiety disorders and depression after 10 years of war. The Army is the most affected, with 182 suicides, although the Marine Corps had the highest percentage increase — over 50 percent with a total of 48 cases. In the Air Force, there were 59 suicides; in the Navy, 60.

The total exceeds by 50 the number of deaths caused by the war itself in the same year. The U.S. speaks of an epidemic, a disease that spreads among their war-weary soldiers so far away from home. In 2011, 301 soldiers committed suicide. In addition, it is estimated that every 80 minutes a veteran will commit suicide. The data almost never show how they carried out the suicide, although in the case of soldiers, it is believed they do so using their own weapons. What they used to shoot with over there, they now use to shoot here.

To put oneself in the role of a suicide is to face life in an extreme form. To commit suicide, one has to hate life more than death; to believe that death is the solution to life.

When they find the dead soldier, those that discovered him share the responsibility; when they pray before God it is the dead that address them. The soldier could no longer think about his life. He felt everything had lost meaning and was unable to see his life in five years’ time. For him, life ended there.

There are many suicides in the world, but those of soldiers are special, as they arise from extreme circumstances which the military cannot control. The soldier who ends his life no longer wants war, but at the same time no longer wants himself; everything is finished for him. It’s all gone.

These soldiers need assistance to prevent suicide before it occurs. To help, there are U.S. military hospitals and clinics, where 9,000 specialists, including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and mental health nurses, help them establish a sense of self-worth. This figure has grown by 35 percent over the past three years as a result of increased suicides among troops and veterans.

These specialists can help and certainly prevent many suicides with their words. They are the experts who understand the ideas which would lead an otherwise healthy individual to commit suicide. Preventing suicide is the only way to avoid the possibility of a premature death.



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