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January 13th, 2009
09:13 AM ET

Army suicides rise as time spent in combat increases

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/12/30/afghanistan.attacks/art.bombings.afp.gi.jpg caption="The aftermath of a roadside bombing in Afghanistan."]

Gregg Zoroya
USA TODAY

Josh Barber, former combat soldier, parked outside the Army hospital here one morning last August armed for war.

A cook at the dining facility, Barber sat in his truck wearing battle fatigues, earplugs and a camouflage hood on his head. He had an arsenal: seven loaded guns, nearly 1,000 rounds of ammunition, knives in his pockets. On the front seat, an AK-47 had a bullet in the chamber.

The "smell of death" he experienced in Iraq continued to haunt him, his wife says. He was embittered about the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that crippled him, the Army's failure to treat it, and the strains the disorder put on his marriage.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Iraq • PTSD • War on Terror
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. GF, Los Angeles

    It saddens me to know our soldiers were sent out to fight and upon return are not treated for injuries received in battle – seen or unseen. I hope Obama does something for them.

    January 13, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  2. Cori from Colorado

    This is just like Vietnam! Our government continues to ask our citizens to "protect and serve", but what do they get in return? Squat. My father served in Vietnam, and suffered from PTSD. He had to fight V.A. for years just to get a measly small amount of monthly benefits from being badly wounded while in combat.

    Our government continues to ignore the pleas of help from soldiers they praise while in combat, but when they return home asking for the return favor, they're ignored. We see it everyday, the many Homeless men fighting wars for our country over the last decade, and even men from Vietnam, have been bandoned and forgotten. Typical of our government, nothing has changed in the last half century, and it probably never will. It sickens me.

    January 13, 2009 at 11:58 am |
  3. Mary

    What a tragedy. Shame on all of us for expecting these young men and women to continue carrying our burdens alone.

    January 13, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  4. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    This is the first failure of Bush's war, not preparing for the care of our returning soldiers just like Vietnam.

    January 13, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  5. Cindy

    It is sad that so many of the soldiers are coming home and suffering from PTSD and not much is being done to help them. You would think after an up spike in suicides that the higher ups would put two and two together and give these people more help so that they don't turn to ending their lives. It's a shame that we are failing them that way when they did their duty for us which is what caused the problem.

    Cindy...Ga.

    January 13, 2009 at 9:31 am |