The examples below indicate the breakdown in communication in the western world. We cannot agree on the Facts of how many US Troops died in Afghanistan. These facts are concrete. Our service men and women dying are nameable and countable. And in that reporting… 2,000 died as of Sept, 30, 2012; but No! that was Aug 21, 2012 according to the New York Times, and yet another date provided by icaualties.org . None of these 2,000 count articles noted the truly alarming rates of serviceman & veteran suicides that eclipse the battle deaths by 18 times.
Look at the reporting:
US military deaths in Afghanistan hit 2,000 after 11 years of war
By Patrick Quinn, The Associated Press | Associated Press – Sun, Sep 30, 2012
According to Brookings, hostile fire was the second most common cause of death, accounting for nearly 31 per cent of Americans killed.
In Toll of 2,000, New Portrait of Afghan War …. August 12th, not Sept 30th
By JAMES DAO and ANDREW W. LEHREN
Published: August 21, 2012 New York Times
Suicides Outpacing War Deaths for Troops
Published: June 8, 2012 New York Times
The suicide rate among the nation’s active-duty military personnel has spiked this year, eclipsing the number of troops dying in battle and on pace to set a record annual high since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan more than a decade ago, the Pentagon said Friday.
A Veteran’s Death, the Nation’s Shame
Veterans Death at own Hand, the Nation’s Shame
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
Published: April 14, 2012
HERE’S a window into a tragedy within the American military: For every soldier killed on the battlefield this year, about 25 veterans are dying by their own hands.
An American soldier dies every day and a half, on average, in Iraq or Afghanistan. Veterans kill themselves at a rate of one every 80 minutes. More than 6,500 veteran suicides are logged every year — more than the total number of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined since those wars began.
American Forces Press Service (a product of the Department of Defense)
Battaglia Calls Reducing Suicides a Top Priority
By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 12, 2011 – Military leaders are committed to reducing suicides in the ranks, Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia, the Defense Department’s top enlisted leader, said here Dec. 9.
Battaglia, senior enlisted advisor to Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke with Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service reporters after the recent release of a report on military suicides by the Center for a New American Security.
The report concludes that suicide among service members and veterans challenges the health of America’s all-volunteer force. From 2005 to 2010, service members took their own lives at a rate of about one every 36 hours, according to the report. It also states that while only 1 percent of Americans have served during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, former service members represent 20 percent of suicides in the United States. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates 18 veterans die by suicide each day.
Put another way, while 3 million of our men and women serve in the armed forces, out of our total population of 310 million, they commit suicide at a rate equal to that of 60 million civilians.
While roughly one soldier dies in battle a day in Afghanistan, on that same day 18 veterans kill themselves. A day. Are we aware of this? …. is this worthy of comment by presidential candidates, none of which have served? And where is the Press? This information is available from DoD sources.
In short, these are potent and concrete facts. And we cannot get them reported straight. Without the straight truth, is there any wonder that our politics is dysfunctional. Could it be otherwise?
The conclusion by reading these pithy headlines, noting the differences in dates and omissions leads me to surmise that the democracy that we have fought to preserve for 236 years cannot remain if we cannot agree on simple facts. The AP and New York Times cannot seem to agree. Isn’t that obvious? Bloody Obvious. Without a unity and veracity in facts, our opinions shall never knit.
This is the heart of my communication on the eve of presidential debates where the candidates are each willing to spend a Billion dollars (One thousand million dollars) to advertise that their opponent is an idiot. Admittedly, so far, a down-beat message.
So, let me leave you with an antidote: Our press system has failed because its funding model of display advertising has been eclipsed by Google’s intentional advertising. Newspapers are dying and broadcasting is become vapid. The press is strangled without funds. Google’s motto is “Do no Evil”. Killing the funding of the press so it can no longer provide the function of Saying Truth to Power, and staying on the point, might be considered evil. Thus, given the corrupt condition of money, politics and corporate lobbying let me suggest this tonic: To have Google, and and all who agree with this challenge to continued existence of our country lobby for having a portion (for example one half) of Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) revenue be applied to content. i.e. Creatives and Reporters be paid for what they provide in some proportional way that allows reporters to be protected and culture makers to be paid for providing sources of social inspiration.
Give it a think.
yours, David Bean……….. and please at least, pass this along.