More US soldiers lost their lives to suicide than from enemy forces in 2012, according to a report released by the Pentagon.
According to findings released on Thursday by the US Department of Defense, the suicide rate for active duty soldiers so far in 2012 is around one per day. In just the first 155 days of the year, 154 soldiers have committed suicide, a statistic only made worse by comparing it to the number of American troops killed by insurgency this year — the website iCasualties.org reports that only 139 US soldiers died in battle this year.
Yesterday I had a social security disability hearing for a veteran. He spent ten years in the military, during which he sustained multiple head injuries. After waiting the usual two years to get to his hearing, when he got there, the ALJ invoked a technical term called administrative res judicata to argue that this veteran, who had applied once before and abandoned his application the first time it was denied, should be barred now from accessing disability benefits. The first time he applied, this veteran with numerous head traumas was unrepresented by legal counsel and certainly lacked the mental ability to understand what to do next.
And that may save his case, because I’m sticking with him for as long as it takes to win him disability benefits. But what does this say about how we treat our veterans?