“Veterans groups and military associations are blasting a move by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, intended to scuttle a veterans’ suicide prevention bill that has already passed in the House with strong bipartisan support.
The GOP lawmaker put a hold on the $22 million bill, which he opposes on grounds it has no offsets in spending elsewhere and would duplicate programs already offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, he said.” [MilitaryNews]
H.R. 5059 would have allocated $22 million to assist veterans with PTSD or traumatic brain injuries… it was supposed to help reduce the suicide rate, a rate that the military admitted was underestimated in the past:
Beginning in 2005, suicide within the military — particularly for the Army — steadily began increasing to record levels every year, and may have peaked in 2012. Among full-time soldiers, the suicide rate soared to 29.7 deaths per 100,000 in 2012, well above a 25.1-per-100,000 rate for civilians of a similar age group during 2010, the latest year available, according to a Pentagon report. Among male soldiers, the rate was 31.8-per-100,000. There were a record 164 soldier-suicides that year.
The overall national civilian suicide rate was 12.1-per-100,000 in 2010 and 19.9-per-100,000 for men in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control.The Army National Guard rate for 2012 reached 30.8 deaths per 100,000 with 110 suicides. The suicide rate for men in the Army National Guard was 34.2-per-100,000,Pentagon data shows.
For full-time troops across the U.S. military, the suicide rate peaked at 22.7-per-100,000 in 2012 and fell to 19.1-per-100,000 last year, according to the Pentagon. [USAT]
Might we remind members of the Senate that the U.S. supported the expenditures to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq, and seemed perfectly pleased to put these costs on the national credit card – with no “offset” required? However, when it comes to assisting veterans who fought in those wars “we don’t have the money,” and “we have to see an offset?”
Here’s a news flash… the only casualties of war aren’t the destroyed munitions! There’s something very very wrong about a country which will spend gazillions – few questions asked – on munitions and weapons systems, but when the needs of the military personnel are obvious the politicians can’t see their way clear to address them.
Those who aren’t supporting H.R. 5059 are cordially invited to take those yellow ribbon magnets off their bumpers!