Evidence supporting Vietnam suicides exceeds combat deaths

Supporting information for the June 2011 and December 2011 newsletters.

 

A comprehensive research study by the University of California at San Francisco published in the March 6, 1986 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, titled "Delayed Effects of the Military Draft on Mortality," disclosed that Vietnam veterans were 86% more likely than non-veterans to die of suicide in the years after the war, and 53% more likely to die in traffic accidents. The researchers claim that this study of California and Pennsylvania men is the first to show a cause-and-effect relationship between military service during the Vietnam War and an unusual risk of suicide.

"Suicide rates 33% higher than the national average rate" were reported in The Forgotten Warrior Project by John P. Wilson, Cleveland State University, 1978. This definitive study was originally titled, Identity, Ideology and Crisis: The Vietnam Veteran in Transition.

An unpublished manuscript, Vietnam Veterans  by Tom Williams, University of Denver School of Professional Psychology, April 1979, concluded that "More Vietnam veterans have died since the war by their own hand than were actually killed in Vietnam."

Phil Girard, on April 17, 1982 the Senior Vice President, Agent Orange Victims International, reported at a public meeting at Greenfield, Massachusetts Community College that their organizational research indicated that "from the end of the war to 1981 there have been 109,000 veterans who have died."

Testimony presented to the Massachusetts Commission on the Concerns of Vietnam veterans in Greenfield, Massachusetts on May 4, 1982, declared that "Vietnam veterans have nationally averaged 28 suicides a day since 1975, amounting to over 70,000."

A classified VA memo dated 6/30/82 identified a total of approximately 300,000 deaths occurring among Vietnam-era veterans from 1965-1981 calculated by adding together deaths in-service with an actuarial estimate of the number of Vietnam-era veterans who have died since returning to civilian life, a much higher figure than estimated by the VA in previous reports. Research conducted by the U.S. Center for Disease Control in the early 1980s had found a number of illnesses and suicides contributing to elevated death rates for Vietnam veterans than for non-veterans in the same age group.

An alarming disparity in official VA figures reporting a dramatic decrease in the estimated number of Vietnam Era Veterans in Civilian Life from September 30, 1981 to March 31, 1983, reveals a loss of 793,000 Vietnam-era veterans in that 18-month period. The disparity was never explained.

A November 1, 1984 U.S. House Report 98-1167, Diversion of Funds from Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Counseling Program, by the Committee on Government Operations, concluded that "the suicide rate among Vietnam veterans suffering from PTSD is high . . . not because of massive underlying neuroses, but as a result of the harsh treatment they received in Vietnam, and experiences upon returning to the U.S." Dr. Arnold, Chief of Psychiatry at the VA Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona at the time, and an acknowledged expert on PTSD, explained to the Committee that the VA’s most recent statistics indicate that while Vietnam veterans make up only about 14% of the veterans they treat, Vietnam veterans constitute 30% of the suicides of all veterans treated by the VA, over-contributing substantially to the total number of suicides of patients who are treated by the VA.

On January 28, 1985, the Massachusetts Agent Orange Program of the State Office of Commissioner of Veterans’ Services released results of its study, Mortality Among Vietnam Veterans in Massachusetts, 1972-1983. The one-year study revealed that deaths due to suicides and motor vehicle accidents, along with kidney cancer, were "significantly elevated" among Vietnam veterans compared to non-veteran Massachusetts males for the study period 1972-1983.

In 2007, CBS News revealed that in 2005 there was over 120 veteran suicides each week. The total of 6,256 veteran suicides is actually higher because only 45 of the 50 states provided CBS with official death records.

The truth about military service is when wars are fought for imperial reasons, soldiers often cannot live with the truth of why their buddies were killed and why they killed people wanting freedom.

For more information, see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

 

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