Amidst all the scandal about torture of Afghan prisoners taken by Cdn troops, there is a less well covered, and ongoing, situation of troop suicides in the Arab theatre of war.
OTTAWA - Suicide was the third leading cause of Canadian military deaths after motor vehicle accidents and cancer in a newly published study of 25 years of death records.
The study found 70 combat deaths accounted for less than five per cent of the deaths.
Suicide, alcohol abuse and smoking.... accounted for one in three of the 1,710 deaths examined from 1983 through 2007.
"Despite modern society's stigma toward suicide, these hundreds of dead may rank among the most conscientious of military men. Many felt unable to live with a secret weight they held, because their conscience would not allow it. In a metaphorical sense, the mind and body died, while the soul survived the nightmare of war."
K - Troops begin to rationalise what would normally be horrific and criminal, as in the video from Iraq last week where toddlers were shot and killed and the US soldier said "well, they shouldn't be bringing their kids to the battlefield".
He knew it was wrong, which is why he mentioned it at all, but he found a way to put the issue in his back pocket... it will hit him later...
They see the prisoners they captured being sent to prisons to be tortured.
There is also a factor of "what the hell are we doing here?", with many of the troops well aware of the lies and propaganda that were used to take Canada and the USA to war. Whether or not a war is "illegal" or not is not supposed to matter to the troops, those decisions are out of their hands... but without the troops no wars are possible and each soldier knows they are playing a role in perpetrating the worst of crimes committed by the human race upon the human race [illegal wars, wars of choice, wars for control of other nation's natural resources].
And it all leads to higher suicide rates. Suicide claims more Cdn. troops than actual combat injuries.
There may be no more significant statistic than troop suicides Vs. combat deaths to indicate the morality of a war. These are the people who see it first hand, they know what is going on there.
Just as important is the devastating effect Canada's participation in these "illegal wars of choice" is having on Canadian citizens, our soldiers and their families and friends.
Articles on the USA troop suicides >
Suicide Claims More US Military Lives Than Afghan War
U.S. Troops And Veterans Who Want to Die