Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Major General Dana Pittard blames soldiers for suicides?

Fort Bliss Major General Dana Pittard called soldiers who committed suicide "selfish" but did not seem to be thinking about the vast majority of them that did think of their comrades first. That's right! They finished their tour of duty with honor and courage beyond their own comfort because they were thinking of others! It was not until most were back in the US they ended their own lives. How is that selfish? Is it selfish to experience that level of emotional pain, flashbacks, nightmares and everything else that comes with PTSD, end up not getting what they need to heal after sacrificing their lives?

Did General Pittard ever once consider that? Or the fact these men and women put others first the day they signed up to serve in the Army? He may be frustrated they are still committing suicide in rising numbers and attempted suicides have gone up as well, but he needs to look at what they are DOING WRONG and stop blaming the soldiers!

The rates have gone up because they did not get what they needed to heal including enough dwell time without being sent back too soon and sent back on medication for PTSD caused by where they were already sent!
General's blog post reignites Army suicide debate
By Yochi J. Dreazen National Journal
Maj. Gen. Dana Pittard Muhannad Fala'ah/AP file photo

Maj. Gen. Dana Pittard commands Fort Bliss, one the nation’s largest Army bases, so his blunt comments about suicide has raised eyebrows throughout the military.

"The remarks may reflect Pittard’s own frustration and emotional exhaustion after a grim few months at Fort Bliss. A total of 14 soldiers from the post were killed in traffic accidents and training mishaps between October and December of last year, along with several suicides. Pittard himself had just come from a memorial service for a soldier who killed himself in front of his twin 6-year-old daughters."

“I have now come to the conclusion that suicide is an absolutely selfish act,” he wrote on his official blog recently. “I am personally fed up with soldiers who are choosing to take their own lives so that others can clean up their mess. Be an adult, act like an adult, and deal with your real-life problems like the rest of us.”

The posting was subsequently scrubbed from the Fort Bliss website, but the comments are adding new fuel to a contentious debate about whether the record numbers of troops who are taking their own lives are acting out of weakness and selfishness or because of legitimate cases of depression and other psychological traumas.

Pittard is expected to formally retract his comments later this week, but suicide-prevention experts believe that Pittard’s blog posting has already conveyed precisely the wrong message to emotionally-fragile troops.

“Soldiers who are thinking about suicide can’t do what the general says: They can’t suck it up, they can’t let it go, they can’t just move on,” said Barbara Van Dahlen, the founder of Give an Hour, an organization that matches troops with civilian mental-health providers. “They’re not acting out of selfishness; they’re acting because they believe they’ve become a burden to their loved ones and can only relieve that burden by taking their own lives.”
read more here