We Read the Post, So You Don’t Have to!

Reading the Washington Post every day is one of the least favorite (self-imposed) tasks of my wonderful job. The paper used to be thought of as liberal, but that was eons ago, at this point it has moved right and mostly just reflects the “conventional wisdom” in DC, though it still has some decent international and domestic political reporting.

Still, some mornings bring articles that are important to our work, especially regarding said “conventional wisdom” in the government and elite media, even if what we need to do with it is deconstruct it to find the truth, or at least figure out how to counter the baloney.

This morning’s paper featured several articles worth checking out. “Army reports big increase in Guard, Reserve suicides”  is alarming to say the least. Army officials tried to tout the good news that suicides are down among active duty military personnel.  I was astonished by the following quote from General Peter Chiarelli, Army Vice Chief of Staff: “If you think you know the one thing that causes people to commit suicide, please let us know, because we don’t know what it is.”

With all due respect to the general and to the families of those who took their own lives, it’s the wars, stupid. End the wars, and this tragedy would surely decline if not vanish.

Similarly, these are two headlines we wouldn’t see if we’d end our disastrous occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq:

Karzai postpones seating of the new Afghan parliament

Suicide bombers kill 15 in Iraq on 3rd straight day of attacks

Finally, there is some good news from conservative Republicans in The Cable column (scroll down to the second and third articles). House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), no peacenik, vows to stop further dangerous, potentially weapons proliferating “civilian nuclear co-operation agreements” the Obama Administration is pursuing with “a host of countries.” Remember, Obama’s biggest corporate supporter was Exelon, the nuclear power industry giant headquartered in Chicago.

And Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, again no peacenik, is among many conservative budget hawks calling for ending the war in Afghanistan in order to stop squandering over $120 billion annually.

Never thought I’d say this, but go Ileana and Grover! Strange bedfellows indeed.

2 Responses to We Read the Post, So You Don’t Have to!

  1. Jan Boudart says:

    Dear Kevin Martin,
    I wouldn’t say too much about ending the wars cutting down on suicide, if I were you. I’m a far-left green; but life outside the army with low wages, inability to marry and raise a family (because of no money), fractionating families by DCFS, ICE, and general human displacement, plus the (very) low value our society places on its citizens all lead to vulnerable people questioning their worth to the extent the pain is great enough for suicide. Go reeaalll slow thinking you know all about it.
    We do know that suicide rates (actually, just death rates) are high in the army and in military personnel and those who have returned from the war. They die more often from accidents and illnesses. But a correlation is not a proof. Sadness may be a reason people go into the military.
    My advice: don’t try to write the book on suicide.

  2. KevinMartin says:

    I hear ya, and thanks for your comment. I’m not putting myself out there as an expert “knowing all about it” or “writing the book” on suicide. I wrote, “End the wars, and this tragedy would surely decline if not vanish” and I stand by that. It was written in reaction to what I thought was an astonishing quote by the Army General, who was implying there is NO correlation (or at least that he is mystified) between the stressors you correctly mention and our fighting two disastrous wars (with repeated deployments by many troops) that many, many enlisted personnel and vets have serious qualms about.

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