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The AP Crows: Army Suicides Are Up Again!

From an elated Associated Press:

Republican presidential hopeful John McCain on the campaign ...

[AFP photo and caption:] Republican presidential hopeful John McCain on the campaign trail with US President George W. Bush in Phoenix earlier this week.

Army suicides reported up again — at 108

By PAULINE JELINEK, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – The number of Army suicides increased again last year, amid the most violent year yet in both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Two defense officials said Thursday that 108 troops committed suicide in 2007, six more than the previous year. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the full report on the deaths wasn’t being released until later Thursday.

About a quarter of the deaths occurred in Iraq.

The overall toll was the highest in many years, and it was unclear when, if ever, it was previously that high. Immediately available Army records go back only to 1990 and the figure then was lower — at 102 — for that year as well as 1991.

The 108 confirmed deaths in 2007 among active duty soldier and National Guard and Reserve troops that had been activated was lower than previously feared. Preliminary figures released in January showed as many as 121 troops may have killed themselves, but a number of the deaths were still being investigated then and have since been determined to have resulted from other causes, the officials said.

Suicides have been rising almost steadily during the five-year-old war in Iraq and nearly seven-year-old war in Afghanistan.

The 108 deaths last year followed 102 in 2006, 85 in 2005 and 67 in 2004.

The increases come despite a host of efforts to improve the mental health of a force stressed by long and repeated tours of duty. Increasing the strain on the force last year was the extension of deployments to 15 months from 12 months, a practice that is being terminated this year.

More U.S. troops died in hostilities in 2007 than in any of the previous years in Iraq and Afghanistan. Overall violence increased in Afghanistan with a Taliban resurgence and overall deaths increased in Iraq, even as violence there declined in the second half of the year.

At long last, some news the Associated Press will be only too glad to report about our military.

(Never mind their successes in Iraq.)

Two defense officials said Thursday that 108 troops committed suicide in 2007, six more than the previous year. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the full report on the deaths wasn’t being released until later Thursday.

Note that they couldn’t wait to get out this his historically important information. They had to post a leak from anonymous sources.

And speaking of information, we will again point out that according to an August 16, 2007 MSNBC article:

In a half million-person Army, the [latest suicide] toll translated to a rate of 17.3 per 100,000

But what both the AP and MSNBC neglect to report this niggling detail from an April 15, 2004 report from the Defense Department:

[T]he national average of 21.5 [suicides] per 100,000 for males ages 20 to 34 the age span for most U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

So even this new higher rate is still much lower than the national average. But we can’t have context like that from the AP.

They have an agenda to push.

And speaking of agendas, notice the photograph (above) that Yahoo decided to run alongside this article.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, May 29th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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