Sunday, May 27, 2012
Major General Dana Pittard: soldiers who commit suicide are not "selfish" they are traumatized.
A story has hit the media a week before Memorial Day
in the United States.
General’s Blog Post Reignites Army Suicide Debate ( http://www.theunseenwound.org/tag/major-general-dana-pittard/
short link http://bit.ly/KfkPAT )
Maj. Gen. Dana Pittard is the commander of Fort Bliss, TX
one of the largest Army bases. In January he was coming out
of church for a service for a soldier who committed suicide
after returning from the war zone.
The General entered these comments on his personal blog
On January 18, 2012 "I have now come to the conclusion
that suicide is an absolutely selfish act. Soldiers who
commit suicide leave their families, their buddies and
their units to literally clean up their mess. There is
nothing noble about suicide. I care about each and every
one of our Soldiers, family members and civilians at Fort
Bliss . I know there are a lot of people hurting out there,
especially with the future Army personnel cuts on the horizon.
If you are hurting mentally or emotionally, then seek and get
help; but don’t resort to taking your own life. I am
personally fed up with Soldiers who are choosing to take
their own lives so that others can clean up their mess..."
The General´s comments became public on May 23rd 2012, the
following day he retracted his comments. He did not
apologize; he just retracted what he said. This is what
Thoughts while working out in the gym
Maj. Gen. Dana J. H. Pittard,
1st AD and Fort Bliss Commanding General:
On Suicide – A Retraction
"In my commentary published January 19, 2012, I stated
suicide was a selfish act. Thanks to many of you and your
feedback, I have learned that this was a hurtful statement.
I also realize that my statement was not in line with the
Army’s guidance regarding sensitivity to suicide. With my
deepest sincerity and respect towards those whom I have
offended, I retract that statement."
First, the General noted that there are many reasons why
people commit suicide, but he did not mention why soldiers
under his command might take their own life.
The rate of military suicides began to soar in 2003 and
2004; the Iraq War and those who had been rotating back
and forth to Afghanistan on multiple tours.
How bad is it? In 2010 the Veterans Administration (VA)
stated that 6,000 veterans commit suicide each year...
well since the spike from the multiple wars. (VA Strives
to Prevent Veteran Suicides
On average 18 veterans commit suicide each day; that´s
one veteran every 80 minutes takes his own life.
1 every 80 minutes!
According to the above article "during fiscal 2009, 707
members of the general veteran population died at their
own hands, and another 10,665 made unsuccessful suicide
attempts." Of course the VA says that just "one death is
too many." That is standard speak for them.
The National Journal reported "that the Army’s suicide rate
has been" going up and up for years, "and last year a record
164 active-duty, National Guard, and Reserve soldiers took
their own lives, compared with 159 in 2010. In 2008, the
Army’s suicide rate exceeded that of the civilian world for
the first time."
General Pittard war kills people. War kills people long
after they have returned from the battlefield. But, you
see if you or the Army were to recognize this fact then
there would be only one conclusion left; Stop the Wars!!
Suicide by returning soldiers and veterans is known as
the ´invisible wound.´ (A Memorial Day thought: Maybe
Pittard really does speak for us on suicides
http://bit.ly/KgiUeY) It maybe so to the Generals,
like General Pittard and the Pentagon. But is is the
scars inside...what a soldier has experienced, seen or
done that they cannont live with, and torments their
soul that leads them to that step.
And, had they enough help before...
But, the parents know the reason. Mother´s have said
that their child died in Iraq, or that the war killed
them. They know.
In the 1930s Major General Smedley D. Butler USMC Retired
(a Two-Time Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient) said
"WAR is a racket. It always has been"
In his pamphlet ´War is a Racket´ written
after his military service he spoke of the costs of war:
"This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed
gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts
and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its
attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations
and generations. For a great many years, as a soldier,
I had a suspicion that war was a racket; not until I retired
to civil life did I fully realize it."
And of his own military service General Butler had this to
I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American
oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent
place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in.
I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics
for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is
long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking
house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the
Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In
China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way
During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room
would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that
I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could
do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated
on three continents. . . .
And during that period, I spent most of my time being a
high-class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street,
and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a
gangster for capitalism."
General Pittard, those who commit suicide from the horror
and trauma of war, and who feel they cannot live with
themselves...they are not ´selfish.´ But everyday that
you put that uniform on you are the height of selfishness
because you serve the interests of a small clique of
bankers, and those who profit from war.
In short, you are what Major General Smedley D. Butler
called himself a "high-class muscle-man for Big Business,
for Wall Street, and for the Bankers. In short, I was
a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism."
And, you put your career interests...of getting
ahead over the interests of humanity, and you wage
war on them and now Africa. Shame on you:
There are a lone line of great African and African
Americans from Nat Turner, who led a slave revolt
against the oppression African slaves lived under;
Sojourner Truth, "Ain´t I a Woman?";
Harriet Tubman, Leader of the Underground Railroad;
Frederick Douglass, Escaped slave (a Freeman) activist,
journalist, Abolitionist and Ambassador;
W.E B DuBois, Author, Intellectual, Educator fighter
Marcus Garvey, Leader and Philosopher, fighter against
oppression by the white ruling class system of Apartheid
Paul Robeson, Athlete, Entertainer, Activist;
Ida B. Wells;
Fannie Lou Hamer, the ´Spirit of the Civil Rights
Martin Luther King Jr.,
What all these people had in common was that they fought
against the oppression of the system that you uphold.
veteran of the Vietnam War