Suicide is the biggest foe for US troops

It’s not supposed to happen this way. As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan draw to a close, the stress on America’s military should be easing. But Pentagon statistics obtained by Robert Burns of the Associated Press on Friday show that there were 154 suicides in the first 155 days of 2012. The external enemy is not the primary reason for the body bags anymore; suicides are exceeding combat deaths in Afghanistan by 50 percent.

It isn’t for lack of attention that the numbers come as such a shock. The most disturbing aspect of these disclosures is that they involved active-duty members. This means that they are wards of the Pentagon, in many respects. And while the Pentagon has made serious and sustained efforts to address suicide, the numbers suggest that the message isn’t taking hold. These efforts still seem to be viewed as civilian answers to a military problem. Suicide prevention must become, in military speak, a core mission.

Your comment is subject to the rules of our Posting Policy

This comment may appear on your public profile. Public Profile FAQ

We hope you've enjoyed your free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to Globe.com for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com