Calling it a non-combat death doesn't make it any better

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/02/world/asia/02suicide.html?src=twrhp

Being a long-time reader of SDMB, I know I do not possess the verbal dexterity to compose a worthy Pit. But I hereby Pit every member of the Army who contributed to the death of this soldier. May they put a gun to their own head every single damn day of their very very very long lives and wake up the next morning in the same swamp of despair and do it all over again. And again. And again. And again. I know every suicide can’t be prevented. I’ve been on the brink of it myself. I had hospital roomates who were suicide survivors and were discharged only to be readmitted after another attempt. But [insert your choice of swear words] was taking away this guy’s gun, on a freakin’ military base in the middle of a war zone, the best anyone could do? Words fail. If anybody needs me, I’ll be curled up with my teddy bear, under a blanket, in the corner of the room, behind the couch, crying for someone who so needed help and who was let down by this “great” country he‘d signed up to defend.

Welcome, Whatever4, but that link leads to The New York Times Travel section on some slide show about London’s Incubators of Idiosyncracy and shows a Roman type statue with no arms.

Suicide seems unlikely.
Maybe if you fix the link we could all be outraged with you, probably not, but it’s worth another try.

I haven’t read the article yet, but I think http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/02/world/asia/02suicide.html?src=twrhp is what he meant to link to.

That certainly makes more sense.

Thank you for the welcome and the correction. I can’t find the edit button described in FAQ.

Oh, well, there it is. Have to edit quickly, yes?

My apologies for my excess of emotion. I should know better by now than to read some topics.

A mistake was made sending him to Afghanistan in the first place, but I don’t think we know enough about what went on there to condemn anybody. Did he not want to leave? Did they think that he was making progress in the counseling sessions? What non-combat duties was he performing?

I think you’re pushing too much responsibility for this death on to people other than this poor soldier.

The edit button appears below your post, but only for five minutes.

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I find it truly bizarre that you want to impose the pain of suicidality and depression upon his superiors and comrades merely because he killed himself as if suicide was some sort of infectious disease to be used to impose justice upon those that aren’t duly careful around people that have ever been suicidal in the past.

Clearly the Air Force could have handled things in a better fashion, but the lifetime prevalence of suicidal thoughts or even attempts is enormous. We shouldn’t discharge every single person who’s ever had suicidal thoughts or attempts from the service and in fact that would be counterproductive from the goal of encouraging soldiers to come forth with mental health problems without the fear that their careers will be permanently destroyed by admitting to such thoughts or actions.

I never said he or any other service member should be discharged because of a mental health issue. I’m well aware of the stigma attached to mental illness. I don’t in reality wish mental illness on anyone; it’s a helluva way to live. But if each and every person in the chain of command who sent this man to Afghanistan and kept him there could experience his level of mental torment for a time, then maybe they’d’ve come up with something more effective than a desk job and taking away a gun. They could have sent him home in the hopes of rehabilitation, instead of in a box.

Perhaps someone who’s handled an M-4 could weigh in, but I’m pretty sure it’s physically impossible to shoot yourself in the head with one unless you have five-foot arms.

The Wiki article says that it’s 33 inches long, with a barrel length of 14.5 inches, so it would seem pretty easy to hold it pointed at your head.

And the M-4 has a movable stock, so you can shorten that part up.

Calling a soldier’s death in Iraq a “non-combat death” implies that it could as easily have happened to a soldier serving stateside. Since this is sometimes actually true, it helps confuse things.

What’s confusing about it? There’s nothing confusing here. Was the soldier killed as a result of combat? No. Thus, “non combat death”. What’s so hard about that?

And I always hate it when people try to blame suicides on other people. Quick question, OP: Who’s fault is it that the soldier shot himself?

Never seen Full Metal Jacket ?

:rolleyes: Of course this was a non-combat death. The “confusing” part is the unstated and false implication that a non-combat death is necessarily a death unrelated to war and not in any way a result of national military policy.

You could cite “personal responsibility” in any individual case, perhaps. But, if you have, say, a 0.4% suicide rate in a unit before it is deployed and a 0.9% incidence after, there is not even any question as to whether the government that sent it bears any blame for the difference. As with combat deaths, the only important question is whether the cost was justified.

I recall reading an account from a journalist in France during WWI who saw a boxcarload of artificial arms and legs being shipped to the front. Depressing enough by itself, but on inquiry he learned that these prostheses were not meant for men who had lost limbs in the fighting. They were meant for men who were confidently expected to lose limbs in the coming months, based on statistical analysis of the casualty rates of previous months. (Even more chilling is the obvious fact that this decision by itself can’t be criticized; it’s always better to plan ahead so far as you can, especially in war. Preparations for D-Day included a huge supply of empty coffins.)

Wouldn’t be at all surprised if a war-zone suicide rate is similarly predictable.

I’ve never once felt that there was any such implication.

So do you agree with this sentiment?: