Five hundred forty-five U.S. servicemen and women have died in Iraq since Operation Iraqi Freedom began. Some of those deaths, 167 to be exact, are classified as “non-hostile related.” The question some people are asking is how many of those deaths were suicides?
The Pentagon sent a team to investigate but it has not released its findings. The official number of military suicides in Iraq is set at 22; but some veteran advocacy groups charge that the number is much higher and doesn’t include the soldiers who take their lives after returning home. Longer deployments and a controversial war they say, can lead to increased anxiety and depression. But can it also lead to suicide? That’s what some families and veteran advocates want to know.
Steve Robinson, Director of the National Gulf War Resource Center
Captain Jennifer Berg, Chair of Psychiatry at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego
Wayne Smith, advisor to the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation
Rena Mathis, mother of Sargeant Joseph Suell, a serviceman who died of a self-inflicted drug overdose in Iraq.