According to Army records, 117 active duty soldiers have committed suicide. Ten of these suicides occurred at Ft. Hood in Texas.
Ft. Hood’s commander, Lt. Gen Rick Lynch, asked congress for more staff to care for the psychiatric needs of a growing number of his soldiers.
Mental illness is extremely difficult to treat. Unless this country prepares to treat an even greater number of active duty and veteran members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with their mental health issues, now and at the end of the two wars, this country will wind up releasing large numbers of service members into the greater population who are not prepared to take care of themselves, and may pose a threat to themselves, their family or society in general.
For their service, they deserve no less than the best this country has to offer.
We believe that it should be one of the Administration’s top priorities to hire more mental health professionals to treat our service members.
It should also be a priority to ensure that the medical personnel hired by the Army be properly vetted by security personnel so that no other psychiatrist like Maj. Nadal Malik Hasan is allowed to slip through security holes. For that matter, security should be a priority in all areas.
It was our understanding that after 9/11 all government agencies were ordered to share information on persons who could pose a threat to our security, yet, nearly a decade later, it appears that the Army did not know about Maj. Hasan’s calls to a Yemeni radical Islamist and that Army personnel exposed to his radical Islamic tendencies did not report him either.
If they did know and did not act, shame on them.
Let us stress that it isn’t only radical Islamic beliefs that serve as a threat to our security. Other misguided beliefs held by unstable personnel could also pose a threat to others. More must be done to screen out these potential time bombs and get them the help they need,
It is in all our interest to do no less.Posted - Copyright © 2022 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.