Letters to the Editor

Suicides among veterans should raise questions

An Oct. 5 story titled "Care providers: Mental health needs unmet through VA" matter-of-factly reported that "18 veterans commit suicide every day, according to the (Veterans Administration)."

With that in mind, our veterans are killing themselves at a rate of 6,570 per year. Notably, this number exceeds all in-theater (Iraq and Afghanistan) deaths for our military over the past 10 years.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) express death rates in terms of deaths per 100,000 people. In recent years, the death rate for suicide among Americans in the 18-and-over age range is less than 20 (actually closer to 15). As the number of veterans from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is no more than 3 million, no more than 600 of these veterans would have died by suicide if we had not sent them off to war. I choose to designate the almost 6,000 unexpected suicides among our veterans as "war-related suicides."

The almost 6,000 war-related suicides each year cause concern for our military and political leaders. The high suicide rate undoubtedly gives comfort to our enemies. These suicides should cause concern for all of us and raise many questions.

My questions exceed my word limit. We each owe it to our veterans and our country to start asking the tough questions of ourselves and our leaders.

David Rice