Thursday, August 16, 2007

Kerry: Army Report on Suicide Rates Reinforces Need to Improve Care for All Wounds of War

Following up on my early morning post about the Army suicide rate being the highest in 26 years, Senator John Kerry made the following statement today, in response to the newly released military report on suicide rates of those serving in the United States Army. The report notes that soldiers in the Army committed suicide last year (2006) at the highest rate in 26 years, and it also said that more than a quarter did so while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Today’s report underscores even more powerfully the urgency of getting our soldiers the care and assistance they need before they deploy, while they are in combat and most importantly when they return,” Senator Kerry said. “There is nothing more important than getting our government prepared to help heal all the wounds of war – including those that might not be visible. It starts with improving PTSD treatment and giving our veterans centers the resources they need to provide the care our soldiers deserve.”

“Over the past 6 years we’ve too often seen the rhetoric of supporting the troops fall short of promises kept. From threatened vetoes of military pay raises, failure to provide our troops with the proper equipment, and a multi-billion dollar shortfall at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the gaps in preparedness have been unacceptable. The Administration must reverse course and immediately follow the Dole-Shalala Commission’s recommendations and improve care and resources for PTSD and traumatic brain injury. I also call on the President to support bipartisan efforts in Congress to increase the number of mental health specialists in both the Department of Defense and the VA and increase dwell time for our soldiers between deployments.”

In the blogosphere, Outside the Beltway and Armered Liberal at Winds of Change, are pulling out national suicide statistics to downplay the reports findings. There is no downplaying this. The fact is that we're not doing enough to help out troops cope with PTSD, we're sending suicidal and stressed out soldiers back into combat, and we're not providing adequate medical care for our veterans.

Enough Is Enough.

Cross posted from The Democratic Daily.


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