Talk about clueless. With the number of military suicides going through the roof, the military isn’t reconsidering sending teenagers into traumatic situations. They aren’t reconsidering propagandizing soldiers with platitudes that will dissolve when their boots hit the ground. Nor have they considered letting soldiers go home if they realize they have made a mistake. Instead, the military is considering prosecuting those who attempt suicide but fail.
Everyone agrees that something needs to be done about an exploding rate of military suicides. According to McClatchy:
Last year, the 301 known military suicides accounted for 20 percent of U.S. military deaths. From 2001 to August 2012, the U.S. military counted 2,676 suicides.
It’s also becoming more common among veterans. Though timely numbers are elusive, the Department of Veterans Affairs reported that 3,871 veterans who were enrolled in VA care killed themselves in 2008 and 2009.
If soldiers succeed in killing themselves they are considered to have died honorably, but if they fail, they may soon be prosecuted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The rationale is that suicide attempts bring “prejudice to good order and discipline” and have a “tendency to bring the service into disrepute.”
The story is as old as empire. Rich people send poor people to fight for dubious causes. If the soldiers succeed, their leaders usually get the credit. If they fail, or break, it’s their own damn fault.