As the US slogs its way through two disastrous wars, the ones doing the fighting are killing themselves.
At record numbers, 88 so far this year, 21 more than the same time in 2008:
â€œEvery soldier suicide is different and tragic in its own way,â€ said Brig. Gen. Colleen McGuire, director, Army Suicide Prevention Task Force.
â€œOur current research and prevention efforts are identifying common denominators that lead soldiers to take their own life. Itâ€™s often a combination of many factors that overwhelm an individual.”
(Illustration found here).
Maybe those “many factors” are too many wars, and bad ones at that.
And maybe there’s a way out, at least in Afghanistan.
According to CNN this morning, there’s a chance for talks:
Pakistan’s military has declared that not only is it in contact with Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar but that it can bring him and other commanders to the negotiating table with the United States.
Retired Gen. Hamid Gul, a former head of the ISI, Pakistan’s equivalent of the CIA, is known as the “Godfather of the Taliban.” He, too, said talks can be arranged. In terms of U.S. interests in Afghanistan, he said, there is only one man who can make it happen.
“Mullah Omar, nobody else,” Gul said.
He insisted the Obama administration, through the Pakistan military, can access Mullah Omar. “Why not?” he said, “Is he a terrorist by any definition? Has he indulged in any act of terrorism?”
Gul added a stated Taliban condition to any discussions, the complete withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan first, was not necessarily a fixed demand and, with concessions from Washington, could be softened and make way for negotiations to begin.
And soon, as the IED attacks have soared, starting in March with a record 361. April beat it with 407, May had 465. The steady 10-15% monthly climb is gone now, replaced with a precipitous rise in June, which records are showing had 736 IED incidents.