Truman National Security Project

TIME: Battleland Blog: Military Suicides Top Combat Deaths – But Only Because the Wars Are Ending

By Truman Project Staff | 1.16.13
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Writing for TIME’s Battleland Blog, Truman Fellow Brandon Friedman challenges the conventional media narrative surrounding military suicides.

On January 14, immediately after the release of the military’s 2012 suicide data, many in the media repeatedly aimed at a single target. According to the Associated Press, the number of active-duty suicides in 2012 reached an all-time record—with the 349 self-inflicted deaths “far exceeding American combat deaths in Afghanistan” during the same period.

The storyline of more troops committing suicide than being the killed by the enemy sounded compelling and it carried the news cycle—with outlets like the AP, ABC, and NBC covering it from that angle.

However, the lead aside, the reversal is not due primarily to a wild spike in active-duty suicides (though they were up, troublingly, 16% over 2011). Rather, the reversal is due primarily to the fact that the war in Iraq is over and the war in Afghanistan is entering its final stages.

Read the entire article here.