It's a mind-boggling, unbelievable-but-true statistic. For the second year in a row, America's military has lost more troops to suicide than it has to combat in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.
I first learned of this by way of A Gainesville Sun editorial, and my immediate reaction was that there had to be a mistake. But a check of the numbers showed, sadly, that the statement was correct.
The editorial was an endorsement of President Obama's reversal of a policy carried out by his predecessors. In the past, the condolence letter--that goes out when a member of the military dies--was not sent if the death was caused by suicide.
In correcting an injustice, and setting forth a new policy, the President is providing the survivors of those who take their own lives with the condolences they deserve.
His action is recognition of the truth that the stress and horrors of war are responsible for many of the suicides. And as the President pointed out, those who have killed themselves in combat zones, "didn't die because they were weak".
Similar words could be said for many members of the military after they return home. Those who end up homeless don't have trouble coping because they are weak. The wounds of war are not all physical.