I wonder what the rate was for Vietnam, Korea and WWII vets.
Soldiers ill-equipped for life after war isn't new. Many of the outlaws of the Old West were disaffected Civil War vets. Hell's Angels was started by world War II vets who couldn't stand the idea of living a restricted life after what they had seen in combat.
Still, I blame Democrats for much of this, because they want our soldiers to fight clean, pretty wars against a dirty, savage, ugly enemy and will pronounce them "war criminals" every time given the chance. Also, their pronouncements during the Iraq War were purposely geared to encourage our enemy and demoralize our military (Harry Reid, I'm looking at your sorry-assed self...personally, I'd grab you by your magic underwear and give you a wedgie).
That is an excellent question. Also, it would be nice to compare the rates of similar allies, Canada, England, Australia.
I think the suicide rate is directly related to the "deployment tempo". The Army troops are here for a year or 2 and then gone on another one year tour.
One way to test my theory is to compare rates for Air Force and Marines. I believe the Air Force has the shortest average deployment time of about a quarter year. The Marines then follow with an average of about half a year. The Army still insists on their one year deployment.
Check to see if there is a statistically significant difference in suicide rates due to deployment while controlling for other common factors.
My sense is that the nation has burned it's military candle on both ends since bosnia followed by the campaigns in iraq/afghan and then the extended decade+ of nation building in both those nations.
The troops are burned out AND they've seen and experienced stuff normal to war.
The problem is that the military is trying to treat symptoms and not the problem. Which is poor leadership. Commanders should be held accountable for the numbers of suicides from their combat commands.
Guerra's (sp?) “On Combat” and “On Killing” offer “a way” to reduce combat suicides. But the lawyers would freak out if we tried it.