More US military personnel died through suicide than died in combat in 2012. According to official figures, 349 service personnel took their own lives and 295 died in combat.
The official figures are awful enough, but they don’t give an accurate picture of how many people have decided to take their own lives as a result of engaging in action for the US military in the Middle-East.
During 2012, an astonishing 6,500 ex-military personnel who had served in the Middle-East took their own lives, bringing the total number of suicides to 6,849 – in one year.
The conflict created within these human beings was so great, that the only release they could see was to end the mental anguish and torture by taking their own lives.
However shocking these statistics are, should we really be surprised?
These 6,849 human beings lived their lives in a society where freedom is a concept, where they are told that democracy reigns. They will have had their own aspirations, families, interests, and beliefs that make them as individual and human as anyone else in the world.
The government controlled media machine will have told them that their job was to protect freedom and democracy from an enemy intent on taking away everything they worked for and believed in. They will have been told that the only way to stop the evil from spreading was to engage the enemy and destroy it.
For many Americans, the concept of war is something that happens in a distant land that is far removed from their everyday lives. The American nation has never been invaded by a foreign power and they have never experienced bombing night after night, and the true horrors that go with it.
Americans have been isolated from reality, and rely on mass media and the rhetoric of politicians to tell them the ‘truth’. The only concept of war many young Americans have is through video gaming and artificial reality where the blood and guts of war are pixels on a screen that can be turned off at the touch of a button.
So when a young person is plucked from the relative safety and security of American society and sent to do the dirty work of their government, it is no wonder that they experience horror and personal conflict when they discover the truth of it.
When these human beings discover that they are engaged in bloody conflict with other human beings and that they have been lied to by their government, the whole basis of their existence is shattered.
The ‘enemy’ remains elusive, and the main experience they have is of standing in among the blood and body parts that were once civilians and colleagues. Arms, legs, torsos, heads, and unidentifiable human remains either blown apart or scorched by the horrific weapons of war. There is no dressing this up with pretty words – it is a human slaughter house.
Somehow, these front-line representatives of the lying and corrupt regime that is the United States government have to cope. Not only with the horrors they have seen, but with the betrayal by those who they trusted had their best interests at heart, and who they have spent their lives serving in one way or another.
Then they return. They return to the same society they left. A society where the leaders continue to spout the need to destroy in the name of democracy and freedom. But now it is different. Now those human beings who have returned from an experience that shattered everything they believed in know the truth – they know the reality.
Coping with betrayal and the reality of so-called ‘war’ is something that no human being with a conscience would find easy. Knowing that they have been involved in something that is against their nature is a heavy burden to carry. Knowing that they have been manipulated by those they once trusted leaves them in a no-mans-land.
Where is there for them to go when they no longer belong to the illusion that society creates?
The 6,849 of 2012 are not statistics. They are human beings.