September 14, 2008

Lower Recruitment Standards Contributing to Military Suicide Rates?

Are you kidding me?

I was checking out the Army's Stand-To website to see what tabs were being kept on the blog world. I clicked on a link about military suicides and found a whooping flaming red flag of ignorance and decided to Try and put it out.

When I read the question of whether lower recruitment standards were contributing to higher military suicide rates, I immediately wanted to react negatively and harshly. But I had to think about where it came from and I had to deduce that it was from ignorance of military life and the nature of combat.

The military way of life provides strong attachments through a communal approach to every aspect of interactions between soldiers and their families. Whether through a support network for the spouse of a soldier to help one another or to the training of our troops.

This interconnectedness brings a sense of herdness into the human fold centered around the soldier. Developing and enveloping the individual perspectives while opening them to a cohesive togetherness usually not felt before enlisting.

I am describing the level of bonding that occurs on a military post before a war has been brought into the picture. Now add in a military conflagration and this level of interpersonal commitment and associations have become welded to each others identity.

Bonding through blood and battle takes the soldier to a whole new level of raw humanism forged through survival and fight or flight defensive mechanisms. The psychology of killing alters the terrain of the mind disabling the rational machinery and enabling the ancient reflexive responsive unconscious.

When combat takes away the soldier who has became the centerpiece of an intimate community it breaks down. Whether he has been buried or she has become a prisoner of her own mind; war fractures the body, mind, spirit and the community that once knew cohesion.

The troops who do make it out of the theater of combat have been changed in body and mind. They have lost substantial parts of their mind, soul and community. Psychological trauma devastates the battle buddy, spouse, children and splinters everything that once was the bedrock of the American Soldier.

Add it all up and what do you think the equation equals?

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