Penny Coleman
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Suicide, and the Lessons of War
A brief history of the Bush administration's refusal to apply sound science and humane policy to the question of combat-related PTSD and PTSD-related suicide among soldiers and veterans.

In August 2003, a string of soldier suicides and daunting psychiatric casualties provoked the army to send a team of mental health experts to Iraq. Their report confirmed a suicide rate three times greater than what is statistically normal for the armed forces. It further acknowledged that fully one-third of the evacuated psychiatric casualties "departed theater with suicide-related behaviors as part of their clinical presentation." Yet in spite of the daunting numbers and ominous implications for the future, the report concludes that "suicide among OIF [Operation Iraqi Freedom] deployed Soldiers is occurring for the same reasons typically found among Soldier-suicides": namely insufficient or underdeveloped life coping skills; marital, legal, or financial problems; chronic substance abuse; and mood disorders. more...