It’s time to change of count of American war dead upward.
The Associated Press has got hold of a preliminary government study on suicides by Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. According to the VA, at least 283 combat veterans who left the military between the start of the war in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 and the end of 2005 took their own lives. In addition, 147 troops have killed themselves in Iraq and Afghanistan since the wars began bringing the government count to 430.
The VA’s count is not a complete one, however. It does not include members of the military who returned from Iraq and then killed themselves before being discharged from the service – people like Sgt Brian Rand who shot himself in the head after returning home from his second tour.
It also doesn’t include the deaths of people like Sgt. James Dean who was shot by Maryland state troopers after he barricaded himself in his father’s farmhouse. Observers call those deaths “suicide by cop.”
And it doesn’t include the deaths of people like Sgt. Gerald Cassidy, a 32 year old Indiana National Guardsman, who died at Fort Knox five months after returning from Iraq with brain damage from a roadside bomb.
How many more American deaths continue to go uncounted?
Regardless, it’s clear is that we need to change our count of casualties upward from 4,229 US military deaths (3,842 in Iraq and 387 in Afghanistan) to closer to 5,000 – possibly more when you consider those deaths that still haven’t been counted.