Another day, another apparent suicide in Afghanistan. This time a Commander with the Navy SEALs – one of America’s toughest, most highly trained, and rigorously psychologically screened special operations forces.
No one can really know why an individual commits suicide, if Cdr. Price even did. But what can be known is that the American military is in the midst of a suicide crisis:
Since 2010, suicide has been the second leading cause of death among U.S service members, exceeded only by war injury. Suicide mortality rates in the Army and Marine Corps have increased during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan; however, most active duty service members who die by suicide have never deployed. During 1998-2011, 2,990 service members died by suicide while on active duty…
Suicide mortality rates in the Army and Marine Corps have increased since the beginning of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. U.S. Army researchers have suggested that deployment to these conflicts increases a soldier’s risk of suicide and have estimated a proportion of suicides that may be related to deployment.
If, as the military’s own study suggests, these increased suicide rates are due to participation in the war in Afghanistan (and formerly the war in Iraq) i.e. that increased suicide rates are a cost of war then the essential question is – is the war worth it?
According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies the Afghanistan war has cost year to date over $640 billion with fatalities running (Price included) at 2081. What are we getting in exchange for all this blood, treasure, and destructive anguish?
We should always honor our service members and their sacrifice. And while doing so critically ponder whether that sacrifice was worth the benefit. Does anyone think the Afghanistan war is worth this?