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White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - November 28th 2009, 09:45 AM

This thread has been labeled as triggering, particularly on the subject of suicide, by the original poster or by a Moderator. The contents of this thread therefore might not be suitable for certain sensitive users. Please take this into consideration before continuing to read.

Hi Everyone!!

I hope you're having a groovy day!!

File this under: Yet another stupid policy!!!

"It's a matter of policy dating to the Clinton era, according to the White House. The commander in chief [The President] sends such letters [Letters of condolences] to the families of troops who have died in combat, but not if they committed suicide."

Click on THIS to read the story.

What do you think of that policy? Good or bad?!

[I'm sure you already figured out what I think!! lol]

GREAT BIG HUG
Craig!!

Last edited by Casey.; November 30th 2009 at 01:46 AM. Reason: Marked as Triggering
   
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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - November 28th 2009, 02:54 PM

I think this is a STUPID policy I mean dying is dying usually if they DO commit suicide it is not just I don't want to go back to my family it's the stress and pain that comes from WAR.
   
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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - November 28th 2009, 04:55 PM

the letters of condolence r to support the families of the braves soldiers who lost their lives serving and protecting the country they loved not to make a family feel better because there loved 1 couldnt handle the stress and decided to off himself. a soldier taking there own life has given up on the responsibility to there country and to the other soldiers in a sence they have abandoned there posts and betrayed the other ppl who rely on them. so i not only agree with this decision i say keep goin if i could i would have any soldier who commits or even etempts suicide to be dishonorabley discharged from the armed forces. the military cannot be help to the same standards as civilians they must hold themselves to a higher standard and harsher punishments it is the only way it will survive


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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - November 28th 2009, 05:43 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by l0stCause View Post
the letters of condolence r to support the families of the braves soldiers who lost their lives serving and protecting the country they loved not to make a family feel better because there loved 1 couldnt handle the stress and decided to off himself. a soldier taking there own life has given up on the responsibility to there country and to the other soldiers in a sence they have abandoned there posts and betrayed the other ppl who rely on them. so i not only agree with this decision i say keep goin if i could i would have any soldier who commits or even etempts suicide to be dishonorabley discharged from the armed forces. the military cannot be help to the same standards as civilians they must hold themselves to a higher standard and harsher punishments it is the only way it will survive
i think it's a bit strong to say they've betrayed other people who rely on them. these people didn't commit suicide lightly.. they obviously had some very serious underlying problems and that's not something that should be looked down upon.

i'm not sure what i think of this policy. i mean, i can see their reasoning for it.. because the letters of condolences are traditionally for the families of those who have lost their lives serving their country.. but a part of me thinks that the families of those who committed suicide should not be treated any differently. sure, some of these soldiers may have committed suicide for other reasons other than the war they have been/are fighting in..
but most of these soldiers who commit suicide are also victims of the war they're fighting in. just because they took their own life it doesn't make their death any less important.


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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - November 28th 2009, 06:06 PM

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Originally Posted by xxEllexx View Post
just because they took their own life it doesn't make their death any less important.
but it does the letters r for the families of soldiers who gave there lives, its a show of gratitude for there courage. why should those who take their own lives because they cant handle the stress recieve this same gratitude? Why should they be honored at the same level of a man who fought till the end? yes its sad they died but they dies out of cowardice they died of there own choice by there own hands they dont deserve to be teated as anything but traitors i dont care how much pain ur ion as a soldier u live to protect the guy to ur left and to ur right it aint about u, ur feelings or ur pain its about the group ur team and ur country


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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - November 28th 2009, 06:32 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by l0stCause View Post
but it does the letters r for the families of soldiers who gave there lives, its a show of gratitude for there courage. why should those who take their own lives because they cant handle the stress recieve this same gratitude? Why should they be honored at the same level of a man who fought till the end? yes its sad they died but they dies out of cowardice they died of there own choice by there own hands they dont deserve to be teated as anything but traitors i dont care how much pain ur ion as a soldier u live to protect the guy to ur left and to ur right it aint about u, ur feelings or ur pain its about the group ur team and ur country
Ironic - taking your own life takes serious, serious balls.

Have you been to war? If not, you cannot have any understanding of the mental strain it puts people under. None of us can. We're asking of these people more than anyone can ever understand.

These people who commit suicide do so primarily because of the things they have done and the things they have seen whilst fighting to protect your country, putting their lives on the line to do so.

Their familes deserve condolences just as much as any other family.
   
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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - November 28th 2009, 06:35 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by l0stCause View Post
the letters of condolence r to support the families of the braves soldiers who lost their lives serving and protecting the country they loved not to make a family feel better because there loved 1 couldnt handle the stress and decided to off himself. a soldier taking there own life has given up on the responsibility to there country and to the other soldiers in a sence they have abandoned there posts and betrayed the other ppl who rely on them. so i not only agree with this decision i say keep goin if i could i would have any soldier who commits or even etempts suicide to be dishonorabley discharged from the armed forces. the military cannot be help to the same standards as civilians they must hold themselves to a higher standard and harsher punishments it is the only way it will survive
Wow, pure and utter ignorance. As in my last post, have you been to war? Do you have any understanding what is asked of them, what they see, what they do, without question?

It's not about handling the stress. It's about being unable to deal with the incredibly disturbing things they've seen. I doubt you could show me someone who has been to war and claims not to have changed because of what they've done and seen. Mental illness after war has been well documented for centuries, and this one is no different. We should not be disgracing people for suffering from a mental illness or committing suicide after such traumatic events, we should be supporting them into getting better, and condoling their families.
   
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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - November 28th 2009, 07:20 PM

I think I would kill myself if I saw my entire unit get blown up but that's not the point. I think this policy needs to change reguardless of how the person died.


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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - November 28th 2009, 07:26 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by l0stCause View Post
but it does the letters r for the families of soldiers who gave there lives, its a show of gratitude for there courage. why should those who take their own lives because they cant handle the stress recieve this same gratitude? Why should they be honored at the same level of a man who fought till the end? yes its sad they died but they dies out of cowardice they died of there own choice by there own hands they dont deserve to be teated as anything but traitors i dont care how much pain ur ion as a soldier u live to protect the guy to ur left and to ur right it aint about u, ur feelings or ur pain its about the group ur team and ur country
Have you ever been to war? I'm going to take a guess here that no, you never have. Forgive me if I'm wrong. The way I see it, it is almost impossible for any of us to imagine the severity of the pain that these soldiers deal with everyday, and while sure, killing yourself is not the bravest and strongest way to handle things, but can you honestly imagine how hard it must be for those soldiers? Whatever reason those soldiers killed themselves, they still deserve credit for putting themselves in such a treacherous situation in order to defend their country. Not only that, but are you saying that a soldier committing suicide makes the whole family unworthy of receiving such a letter? I cannot imagine the pain of the family who have lost a loved one in the war, no matter how that person died. The soldier's families still love and care for them, and if no one else does, those families still deserve that respect.





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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - November 28th 2009, 07:48 PM

I have to partially agree with l0stCause. I would put soldiers who commit suicide on the same level as solidiers who go AWOL. They essentially abandon their duty. I get that being over there supremely sucks, however he CHOOSE to go over there. He knew how hard it was he had already been through and he went back knowing what it would be like. I do feel for his family and as much as I despise suicide and think poorly of those who commit it, I understand a bit more about why these people do what they do. However it's no excuse it's still giving up and for me is on the same level as those who run away. The President should not have to show the same honor to soldiers who kill themselves as to those who were killed in the line of duty. After all their son got every other honor anyway.


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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - November 28th 2009, 08:33 PM

I agree that the president should not write a letter to the family of someone who commited suicide. They should also not be given the same honors as those who die in combat.
I don't believe the president should be required to write an apology letter to this family or any other who commits this act. I feel sorry for this family but that's life.


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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - November 28th 2009, 11:47 PM

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Originally Posted by thebigmole View Post
I have to partially agree with l0stCause. I would put soldiers who commit suicide on the same level as solidiers who go AWOL. They essentially abandon their duty. I get that being over there supremely sucks, however he CHOOSE to go over there. He knew how hard it was he had already been through and he went back knowing what it would be like. I do feel for his family and as much as I despise suicide and think poorly of those who commit it, I understand a bit more about why these people do what they do. However it's no excuse it's still giving up and for me is on the same level as those who run away. The President should not have to show the same honor to soldiers who kill themselves as to those who were killed in the line of duty. After all their son got every other honor anyway.
I'm sorry, I just want to clarify, did you just say that you think poorly of those who commit suicide?

Really?
   
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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - November 29th 2009, 02:08 AM

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Originally Posted by her_beautiful_mistake View Post
I'm sorry, I just want to clarify, did you just say that you think poorly of those who commit suicide?

Really?
It's a pretty common stigma - a reminder of the compassion and love that humans have.

To those agreeing with this policy: many soldiers wait until after returning home to kill themselves. Would that rest better with you?
   
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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - November 29th 2009, 02:53 AM

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Originally Posted by her_beautiful_mistake View Post
I'm sorry, I just want to clarify, did you just say that you think poorly of those who commit suicide?

Really?
Yes I did. I think that suicide is the most selfish act a person can commit. I have had this discussion on this site many a time. People can call me heartless all they want it's my opinion and I'm never going to change it. I think suicide is a disgusting act. HOWEVER as I said in my previous post I understand the motivation behind it for soldiers. I get it, it sucks to be over there. It's hard, it's something that no one should have to deal with. So while I still think less of someone who commits suicide I'm not going to completely fault those in these soldiers situations.

If Lurk's comment was supposed to be aimed at me obviously the answer is not since no act of suicide "rests well" with me.


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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - November 29th 2009, 03:29 AM

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Originally Posted by thebigmole View Post
Yes I did. I think that suicide is the most selfish act a person can commit. I have had this discussion on this site many a time. People can call me heartless all they want it's my opinion and I'm never going to change it. I think suicide is a disgusting act. HOWEVER as I said in my previous post I understand the motivation behind it for soldiers. I get it, it sucks to be over there. It's hard, it's something that no one should have to deal with. So while I still think less of someone who commits suicide I'm not going to completely fault those in these soldiers situations.

If Lurk's comment was supposed to be aimed at me obviously the answer is not since no act of suicide "rests well" with me.
While I don't agree with you personally, I can understand the way that you feel about suicide, as I have had the same opinion many a times before. But under the circumstances the soldiers are under, I think it's only fair to consider the bravery it must have taken for them to even enter the war to begin with. Whatever reason they had for killing themselves is not important. What is important, however, is the fact that even if they took their own life, they spent their last moments defending our country. They may have seen this as their only way out, but regardless, they spent much of their time defending all of us, and they deserve a lot of respect and thanks for that. It's hard to understand why someone would decide to take their life, but I can understand the feeling of hopelessness and extreme fear, and whatever reason anyone may have must seem like a pretty darn good one for them at the time. I can tell you that I would rather die than watch hundreds of people die in front of me, and face what those soldiers face everyday. Even if they backed out in the only way they saw possible, I still admire the strength it took them to ever put themselves in that situation. While they may not deserve as much respect as the soldiers who died fighting for their country instead of backing out on their country, they still deserve respect for the many battles they fought during their time at war, and it is wrong to deny them that respect.





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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - November 29th 2009, 03:40 AM

My comment wasn't directed specifically at thebigmole, no.

[No offense intended by the following - if it comes off that way, it's just because I'm bad at wording things. >_<]

As to your stance on suicide - first off, have you ever been to the point of considering it yourself? Suicide is, of course, often prompted by really severe mental illnesses; you're holding a lot people morally accountable for crazy crap that they do while under the influence of brain-related problems and simple chemical imbalances. They don't tend to think in the same way as mentally healthy people might - might not even have the capacity to do so. To me, it seems like it'd make just as much sense to condemn harmful obsessions of people with severe paranoia, or schizophrenia, or whatever else. I'm not saying that to make anything sound ridiculous; maybe you really do do that, and if so that's fine, but if not there's a bit of a discrepancy present.

Quote:
and I'm never going to change it.
A brave admission, and it's probably true of many people regarding all kinds of sensitive issues. If no one comes out and says it, though, we can still feel like arguing has the potential to change something.

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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - November 29th 2009, 08:57 AM

I agree that the ones who commit suicide should get no letter of condolence. When you go to the military, you go to be loyal and defend your country, and that to me is courage and bravery. When you return physically and/or mentally damaged, you've remained loyal and you continue to fight. When you commit suicide though, you abandon your role of being in the military. It's an act of cowardice because not only is it the easy way out of the current situation but also of all other situations. The letter of condolence is to tell the family that their relative sacrified their life for their country. Committing suicide isn't sacrificing their life for their country, it's an act of self-sacrifice and abandoning all hope. The soldiers would be under considerable stress but that's not a newsflash because they know that it will be very stressful when they're there so they should be ready for immense stress. Suicide to me shows they cannot handle it and they don't want to handle it any longer. I see no reason why they should be put on the same level as those who come back fighting through the pain and memories.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lurk
To those agreeing with this policy: many soldiers wait until after returning home to kill themselves. Would that rest better with you?
If you mean whether I'd be more sympathetic towards them, then no. I'd acknowledge that they did take the courage to return home and deal with the results of what the war had on them but I still view it as an act of cowardice, weakness and selfishness. In addition, they're burdening their family with having to deal with the suicide that's geographically much closer to them after possibly witnessing the drastic changes in the soldier. So not only is the family already in shock about what may have happened to their loved one, they now have to deal with the sudden death due to suicide.
   
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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - November 29th 2009, 03:20 PM

I do want to make it clear that I am NOT saying that soldiers who commit suicide deserve NO honors or recognition. Obviously they do they still went over there and fought and everything. I just don't think the should get this particular honor.


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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - November 29th 2009, 03:58 PM

giving ur life for ur country is a selfless act suicide is the ultimate selfish act its not having the strength to keep going and a suicide isnt the same as dying for ur country so y should they deserve the same right and honors


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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - November 30th 2009, 12:18 AM

Hi Everyone!!

I hope you're OK.

I was curious.....

To those of you who do NOT think that the family of someone who commits suicide during a tour of duty should get a letter of condolence from the President....

I ask the following question:

What family of the man [below] should - or should not - get a letter from the president?!

MAN ONE commits suicide after 5 YEARS of 'fighting a war on your behalf'.

MAN TWO is shot to death by a snipers bullet within ONE HOUR of getting of the plane for his FIRST ever tour of duty.

GREAT BIG HUG
Craig!!
   
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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - November 30th 2009, 12:39 AM

id give man#1 a medal for years of valor service but not the letter
man 2 get a letter he died while in combat and personally i beleive thats who the letter goes to the brave soldiers who die in combat


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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - November 30th 2009, 12:56 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by CanadaCraig View Post
Hi Everyone!!

I hope you're OK.

I was curious.....

To those of you who do NOT think that the family of someone who commits suicide during a tour of duty should get a letter of condolence from the President....

I ask the following question:

What family of the man [below] should - or should not - get a letter from the president?!

MAN ONE commits suicide after 5 YEARS of 'fighting a war on your behalf'.

MAN TWO is shot to death by a snipers bullet within ONE HOUR of getting of the plane for his FIRST ever tour of duty.

GREAT BIG HUG
Craig!!
i agree with you.. the situation of man one is the exact reason i think they probably should be treated the same.. a lot of soldiers kill themselves after years of fighting for their country.. after they return home from their duty.

and to the people who seem to be putting down these people who commit suicide.
and what about soldiers who kill themselves after they've left the army? - what do you think about them?. they gave their whole career - most of their life to protect YOU..


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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - November 30th 2009, 01:00 AM

and that is sad thats y in goind to bring as many soldiers as i can back alive i believe that all soldiers should be respected to the highest standard but killing urself is not the same as dieing in the line of duty and thats what the letters r for condolences for those who lost there lives in the line of duty.


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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - November 30th 2009, 01:02 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by CanadaCraig View Post

What family of the man [below] should - or should not - get a letter from the president?!

MAN ONE commits suicide after 5 YEARS of 'fighting a war on your behalf'.

MAN TWO is shot to death by a snipers bullet within ONE HOUR of getting of the plane for his FIRST ever tour of duty.

GREAT BIG HUG
Craig!!
That can easily be reversed Craig. I could say: "Should these two people recieve the exact same honours?:-

1) The man who fights for five years, doing his best for his country and dies for it.

2) The man who shoots himself in his tent the 2nd day of the campaign."

Personally, I don't believe they should get the letter. Military suicide victims already get the full military burial honours and many others. There are plenty of honours they are already given, frankly there should be something that distinguishes dieing for your country above dieing by your own hand.

And as for the point raised about soldiers returning home and then killing themselves...well they don't recieve a letter anyway do they? In much the same way as if a soldier returned home and got shot in a mugging-gone-wrong wouldn't get a letter. Or am I wrong on this point?

Not to mention, I think the family in the news article should be more upset that their son is dead rather than the fact they didn't get a letter...

Last edited by Jack; November 30th 2009 at 01:07 AM.
   
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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - November 30th 2009, 01:08 AM

It adds to the stigma surrounding suicide. The person is dead and in the military no matter how it happened, the reasons for the deaths are different, but that doesn't change the family's grief or the fact that that person is gone.


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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - November 30th 2009, 02:06 AM

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Originally Posted by l0stCause View Post
and that is sad thats y in goind to bring as many soldiers as i can back alive i believe that all soldiers should be respected to the highest standard but killing urself is not the same as dieing in the line of duty and thats what the letters r for condolences for those who lost there lives in the line of duty.
Let's say a soldier decided to kill himself by leaping in front of a gun about to take fire. Maybe the soldier purposely did not FIGHT hard enough in HOPES to die. If I had to take a guess, I would assume that something of the sort probably happened in the past.

So why should the family of those soldiers get a letter, while the soldier who killed himself on his own doesn't? According to you, aren't they on the same level of weakness?

My point being... aren't there times it may be a bit hard to tell whether a death was a suicide... or whether that person was killed in combat, but willingly and purposefully?





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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - November 30th 2009, 02:22 AM

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Originally Posted by l0stCause View Post
the letters of condolence r to support the families of the braves soldiers who lost their lives serving and protecting the country they loved not to make a family feel better because there loved 1 couldnt handle the stress and decided to off himself. a soldier taking there own life has given up on the responsibility to there country and to the other soldiers in a sence they have abandoned there posts and betrayed the other ppl who rely on them. so i not only agree with this decision i say keep goin if i could i would have any soldier who commits or even etempts suicide to be dishonorabley discharged from the armed forces. the military cannot be help to the same standards as civilians they must hold themselves to a higher standard and harsher punishments it is the only way it will survive
I agree with that statement


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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - November 30th 2009, 05:06 AM

Committing suicide in the Armed Forces is kind of an oxymoron (or whatever you call it) to me. Why would you commit suicide in war? The war itself is a suicide mission...it doesn't make much sense to kill yourself when you have enemies trying to kill you. The least you can do is take out enemies and HOPE that you get shot instead of shooting yourself. There's no honor in that, therefore I completely agree with the policy. If I was President of the USA, I wouldn't want to waste my time writing letters to the families of soldiers who committed suicide because, like LostCause basically said, you have a responsibility as a soldier...it is your duty to carry out actions, and when you put your life at stake, you put everyone's lives at stake. You're not a civilian, you're a soldier who is trained to kill. And if you can't do that when you're in the military, you should be thrown in military jail.
   
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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - November 30th 2009, 03:05 PM

I think quite a few people are forgetting that the military allowed these people to go to war in the first place. I know in Australia, when joining the army you go through psychological tests. I was turned away because although I'm completely fine now, I suffered depression 2 years ago and was seen as a risk. I think it is sad that some soldiers are so traumatized by war that they commit suicide. I think that they should get the letter, because although they did choose to go to war, depression can sometimes happen to someone out of the blue, like it's come from nowhere. Depression can lead to suicide, so may question is, is the military doing enough (or anything at all) to stop the rise of soldier suicides at war? Is there someone there, like a psychologist, that can help them while they are at war, defending our lives?

Suicide is a selfish AND brave thing to do. People usually think about committing suicide long before they actually do the deed. Maybe the army needs to recognise this, and help combat the problem. I'm not saying anyone's right or wrong, but I'm just saying more can be done. We should expect more to be done.


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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - November 30th 2009, 07:01 PM

I have two opinions on this, as follows:

One, all the discussion about whether the soldier deserves recognition or not is, respectfully, crap. The soldier's dead; he doesn't care one whit whether the president writes a letter about him or not. The whole point of the presidential letters is to comfort the families of dead soldiers; and how a soldier actually died is almost totally irrelevant to pain his/her family will go through. So it seems that the president should write letters to families of soldiers who committed suicide.

Now, two: I say "seems that" above because I actually have a larger issue with the big military funeral, presidential letter thing in general: namely the over-glorification of the military and war. "Want to have a whole bunch of people lining up to say how awesome you were? Go kill a bunch of people!" War isn't glorious; it's pitiful, and should never be cause for great fanfare and ceremony.

No, I'm not saying that soldiers aren't brave, or that they don't deserve recognition. I certainly don't have the stones to be a soldier. But then, I don't have the stones to be a pilot, a police officer, a doctor, or a football player either. I liked Craig's example, so I'm going to offer one of my own:

1. A soldier gets shot and dies within an hour of landing on his first tour of duty.

2. A doctor spends twenty years of her life saving people's lives, and dies in her fifties - otherwise a healthy woman - of a virus caught from one of her patients.

Who's done more to serve the country? Who's put more dedication toward helping other people? Who deserves more recognition?


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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - November 30th 2009, 08:19 PM

Quote:
The whole point of the presidential letters is to comfort the families of dead soldiers; and how a soldier actually died is almost totally irrelevant to pain his/her family will go through
I'm going to respectfully disagree with that. It says in the article that

Quote:
The commander in chief sends such letters to the families of troops who have died in combat
By military definition, combat means "active, armed fighting with enemy forces". When you commit suicide, you're not dieing in combat...you're simply committing suicide while you're in the Iraq war. Sure, it's honorable to be in the Iraq war (which is why the man who committed suicide in the article was buried in military tradition), but it was not honorable enough for the commander in chief to send the family a letter of condolences. So to me, how they died is totally relevant to the situation.

Quote:
1. A soldier gets shot and dies within an hour of landing on his first tour of duty.

2. A doctor spends twenty years of her life saving people's lives, and dies in her fifties - otherwise a healthy woman - of a virus caught from one of her patients.

Who's done more to serve the country? Who's put more dedication toward helping other people? Who deserves more recognition?
The doctor has done more to serve the country than the soldier did, but I don't look at it like that. We need a military -- it is our firewall to our computers, our bulletproof vests on our police officers, our defense. We also need doctors because they do, after all, save lives. In a lot of ways, doctors and soldiers are pretty similar...but there's one major difference with being a doctor than being a soldier: a soldier, you're doing your job with a gun to your head, and a doctor...you're only given a limited amount of time to do your job, but you won't be shot if you make a mistake. If you make a mistake in the military, you could cost many soldiers their lives. It's a stressful environment -- there's not much joy in being in a place where you never really know if you're going to get shot in a second or not. And from what I've gathered, the government doesn't pay soldiers enough...so where's the motivation? That's where the government comes in to keep people motivated. If you do good, you'll get medals. If you die, you'll die of honor, etc. For doctors, you'll feel good about saving lives, and you'll get a decent paycheck.
   
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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - December 1st 2009, 03:39 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by CanadaCraig View Post
Hi Everyone!!

I hope you're OK.

I was curious.....

To those of you who do NOT think that the family of someone who commits suicide during a tour of duty should get a letter of condolence from the President....

I ask the following question:

What family of the man [below] should - or should not - get a letter from the president?!

MAN ONE commits suicide after 5 YEARS of 'fighting a war on your behalf'.

MAN TWO is shot to death by a snipers bullet within ONE HOUR of getting of the plane for his FIRST ever tour of duty.

GREAT BIG HUG
Craig!!
Man one should be honoured for his years of service, however, that honour should not be in the form of a letter of condolence (i.e. a medal). Man two hasn't done much in the army so he shouldn't get a medal but he should get a letter of condolence because although he got killed pretty fast, he went in serving his country and did not commit suicide.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xujhan
1. A soldier gets shot and dies within an hour of landing on his first tour of duty.

2. A doctor spends twenty years of her life saving people's lives, and dies in her fifties - otherwise a healthy woman - of a virus caught from one of her patients.

Who's done more to serve the country? Who's put more dedication toward helping other people? Who deserves more recognition?
I say the doctor has done more towards helping others and depending on the branch of medicine they're in and where they work (i.e. hospital or on-site treatment for the army) would deserve more recognition. I say the soldier served their country more because they pretty much always put their life on the line knowingly. They deserve recognition also, however, between 20 years versus 1 hour, I have to go with the 20 years. As for helping others, the soldier helps indirectly whereas the doctor helps directly, and once again, the doctor has been helping for 20 years while the soldier has helped for only 1 hour in an indirect manner. I would say though that the soldier deserves recognition not for their work because they haven't done much, but rather for their bravery as it takes more balls to be a soldier than it takes to be a doctor in a hospital.


For Craig and Xujhan:
The problem with your questions is the obvious difference in the duration of the two people. If they both serve or work for the same amount of time, then it makes the situations more even, however, if you compare 20 years of work vs. 1 hour of work, there's an obvious unevenness to the situation that throws everything off.
   
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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - December 1st 2009, 04:50 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon View Post
I'm going to respectfully disagree with that. It says in the article that



By military definition, combat means "active, armed fighting with enemy forces". When you commit suicide, you're not dieing in combat...you're simply committing suicide while you're in the Iraq war. Sure, it's honorable to be in the Iraq war (which is why the man who committed suicide in the article was buried in military tradition), but it was not honorable enough for the commander in chief to send the family a letter of condolences. So to me, how they died is totally relevant to the situation.



The doctor has done more to serve the country than the soldier did, but I don't look at it like that. We need a military -- it is our firewall to our computers, our bulletproof vests on our police officers, our defense. We also need doctors because they do, after all, save lives. In a lot of ways, doctors and soldiers are pretty similar...but there's one major difference with being a doctor than being a soldier: a soldier, you're doing your job with a gun to your head, and a doctor...you're only given a limited amount of time to do your job, but you won't be shot if you make a mistake. If you make a mistake in the military, you could cost many soldiers their lives. It's a stressful environment -- there's not much joy in being in a place where you never really know if you're going to get shot in a second or not. And from what I've gathered, the government doesn't pay soldiers enough...so where's the motivation? That's where the government comes in to keep people motivated. If you do good, you'll get medals. If you die, you'll die of honor, etc. For doctors, you'll feel good about saving lives, and you'll get a decent paycheck.

I'm plenty aware of what the article says, and of what the policy is. I'm arguing that the policy and its reasoning are wrong, so simply stating the what the policy says hardly constitutes a valid counterargument.

What if we replace the doctor with an airline pilot? We clearly need them, their jobs are very stressful with many lives on the line, and their paychecks aren't particularly noteworthy either. Why are there no letters for pilots who die?

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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - December 1st 2009, 05:17 AM

Quote:
I'm plenty aware of what the article says, and of what the policy is. I'm arguing that the policy and its reasoning are wrong, so simply stating the what the policy says hardly constitutes a valid counterargument.
I was just establishing my point, and I proved my point. The only way your family will get a letter of condolences is if they die in combat, and I went onto explain that committing suicide while in Iraq is not combat, therefore no letter of condolences is necessary. In my first post, I said my opinion which is it's not wrong at all. There's no honor in suicide, regardless of your mental conditions and (mostly) regardless of the situation that you're in. Especially in the military. Someone who commits suicide is just a small percentage in the suicide stats, but we're talking about a soldier here who has a duty to carry...whether he agrees with the duty or not. He is responsible. A president shouldn't be forced to write a letter of condolences over a choice that a man made to take his own life. It's like taking piano lessons and not even participating in the lesson...what's the point of the instructor even being there if you're not going to participate? It's a waste of their time.

On the other hand, if a man was killed in military combat, that deserves a letter of condolences because he didn't back down, he did what he was told, and he wasn't given the choice to live or die -- he just got shot and that was it.

Quote:
What if we replace the doctor with an airline pilot? We clearly need them, their jobs are very stressful with many lives on the line, and their paychecks aren't particularly noteworthy either. Why are there no letters for pilots who die?
As I was saying, the military isn't the same as other occupations. It doesn't matter whether that person is a doctor, an airplane pilot, a DEA agent, police officer, or whatever the case may be. The difference between the military and other occupations is civilians vs. soldiers. Soldiers are supposed to be higher than civilians in the world, which is why that they're counted first in job applications, etc. They are the ones fighting for airplane pilots to fly planes in the first place, and doctors to perform surgeries. Without a military, we would have no defense...regardless of whether or not doctors or air plane pilots are more useful than soldiers.
   
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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - December 1st 2009, 05:41 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon View Post
I was just establishing my point, and I proved my point. The only way your family will get a letter of condolences is if they die in combat, and I went onto explain that committing suicide while in Iraq is not combat, therefore no letter of condolences is necessary. In my first post, I said my opinion which is it's not wrong at all. There's no honor in suicide, regardless of your mental conditions and (mostly) regardless of the situation that you're in. Especially in the military. Someone who commits suicide is just a small percentage in the suicide stats, but we're talking about a soldier here who has a duty to carry...whether he agrees with the duty or not. He is responsible. A president shouldn't be forced to write a letter of condolences over a choice that a man made to take his own life. It's like taking piano lessons and not even participating in the lesson...what's the point of the instructor even being there if you're not going to participate? It's a waste of their time.

On the other hand, if a man was killed in military combat, that deserves a letter of condolences because he didn't back down, he did what he was told, and he wasn't given the choice to live or die -- he just got shot and that was it.
Yes, this has all been said before, and you haven't addressed a single word of my response. Hang on, let me go cut/paste for you.

"The soldier's dead; he doesn't care one whit whether the president writes a letter about him or not. The whole point of the presidential letters is to comfort the families of dead soldiers; and how a soldier actually died is almost totally irrelevant to pain his/her family will go through."

Any actual reply?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon View Post
As I was saying, the military isn't the same as other occupations. It doesn't matter whether that person is a doctor, an airplane pilot, a DEA agent, police officer, or whatever the case may be. The difference between the military and other occupations is civilians vs. soldiers. Soldiers are supposed to be higher than civilians in the world, which is why that they're counted first in job applications, etc. They are the ones fighting for airplane pilots to fly planes in the first place, and doctors to perform surgeries. Without a military, we would have no defense...regardless of whether or not doctors or air plane pilots are more useful than soldiers.
The bolded text is the relevant part, and my question is: why? It can't be just what's required, because there's no quality that is entirely unique to military service. And it can't be that soldiers are vital to the existence of a country, because that's also true of politicians and teachers and many other jobs. I don't see anything so totally unique to military service that it deserves such special recognition, except for the glorified view of war that our civilization has.


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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - December 1st 2009, 06:24 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xujhan View Post
Yes, this has all been said before, and you haven't addressed a single word of my response. Hang on, let me go cut/paste for you.

"The soldier's dead; he doesn't care one whit whether the president writes a letter about him or not. The whole point of the presidential letters is to comfort the families of dead soldiers; and how a soldier actually died is almost totally irrelevant to pain his/her family will go through."

Any actual reply?



The bolded text is the relevant part, and my question is: why? It can't be just what's required, because there's no quality that is entirely unique to military service. And it can't be that soldiers are vital to the existence of a country, because that's also true of politicians and teachers and many other jobs. I don't see anything so totally unique to military service that it deserves such special recognition, except for the glorified view of war that our civilization has.
Okay, I'll break this down and answer all that I can.

Quote:
The whole point of the presidential letters is to comfort the families of dead soldiers; and how a soldier actually died is almost totally irrelevant to pain his/her family will go through.
First off, the article says that the commander in chief writers letter of condolences to families of soldiers who have died in combat, and you're saying that the point of presidential letters is to comfort the families of dead soldiers?

Based on the article, the article is telling me that the president only writes letters to soldiers who have died in combat. Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but I don't know.

Elaborate?

As for the second part...the pain his/her family will go through is irrelevant to whether or not the president should write a letter to the family. You're saying that he/she should write a letter out of kindness? If so, it's a nice idea...but it doesn't make it wrong if the president doesn't write. Soldiers die, you recruit new ones...that's how the military works. They train you to kill, and then you go apply what you've learned in combat. If you die during combat, you have served your country and died for your country. If you committed suicide, you would've died for yourself and not for your country. There's no honor, and a President doesn't need to write a letter to the family who lost a soldier because of his mental weakness. In life, shit happens...but when you're in the military, it's disgraceful to commit suicide while on the job.

Quote:
I don't see anything so totally unique to military service that it deserves such special recognition, except for the glorified view of war that our civilization has.
There's nothing unique about the military service. You train to kill, and then you go apply your knowledge on your enemies. Which would you rather do: be a teacher or go to war? Logically you'd choose to be a teacher because yes, being a teacher is important to people who are interested in an education, but in the end if China wanted to send in planes and bomb us with atomic bombs, then who could probably prevent that from happening? The military...not teachers, not jumbo jet pilots, and not police officers. Yes, the military needs some sort of education, but the ultimate decision on whether our country lives or dies is up to the military. If we had no teachers, our military strategy might be affected, but the military would still make those decisions.
   
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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - December 2nd 2009, 06:03 AM

I presume there is a good reason for the policy that we're overlooking so I'm not going to jump to any emotional conclusions. I don't know the exact details, however, I know abandonment is "frowned upon" in the military. In essence suicide is similar to abandonment. That may have something to do with it. I don't know, that's just the first plausible explanation that came into my mind.
Oop, did a bit of ctrl F-ing, guess this was covered.


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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - December 2nd 2009, 03:51 PM

Scanning through these, it seems like those who think that this policy is a good thing believe it's because the other men/women gave up their lives fighting for their country etc etc while those who committed suicide effectively turned their backs on their duty.
If it's the soldier who has killed themselves, why shouldn't the family get a letter of condolence? It was the soldier who was, as some see it, 'at fault' so why effectively 'punish' the family?
They will be just as upset, no matter how their child or sibling or partner died. Not sending a letter is, in my opinion, a bit like marking the death as insignificant, it's not important because it wasn't a 'hero's death' That's not going to help the family get over it is it?
Maybe I misunderstood, but I don't believe soldiers' families should be treated differently according to how the men or women died. It's wrong.


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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - December 3rd 2009, 01:37 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xujhan View Post
why? It can't be just what's required, because there's no quality that is entirely unique to military service. And it can't be that soldiers are vital to the existence of a country, because that's also true of politicians and teachers and many other jobs. I don't see anything so totally unique to military service that it deserves such special recognition, except for the glorified view of war that our civilization has.
yes all those jobs are needed for a country to thrive but the military is needed to survive. the average teacher isnt putting there life at risk for you. soldiers protect the freedoms of a country, my recruiting ssgt always told us during pt "freedom is far from free, and as a soldier you will pay for more than your fair share of it" soldiers pay with sweat and blood so that we can live. they should be treated with honor and respect. but im off on a tangent now

This entire debate is founded on the idea the the letters of condolence are for all soldiers who die, and that simply isnt the case. the letters r for those soldiers who have had their lives cut short while in the act of protecting our country. to honor the men who have their lives taken not for those who choose to end it


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Re: White House Policy: No Letters of Condolences to Families of Military Suicides - December 3rd 2009, 05:55 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Natsumi View Post
Scanning through these, it seems like those who think that this policy is a good thing believe it's because the other men/women gave up their lives fighting for their country etc etc while those who committed suicide effectively turned their backs on their duty.
If it's the soldier who has killed themselves, why shouldn't the family get a letter of condolence? It was the soldier who was, as some see it, 'at fault' so why effectively 'punish' the family?
You bring up a good point about potentially punishing the family of the suicidal soldier, however, giving a letter of condolence could undermine what the non-suicidal soldiers did in that they returned from the war and continue to battle through any changes that may have occurred. The letter of condolence is also a form of recognition to the fallen soldier regarding their bravery in defending their country, although it's not a recognition that they can physically receive since they're dead.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Natsumi View Post
They will be just as upset, no matter how their child or sibling or partner died. Not sending a letter is, in my opinion, a bit like marking the death as insignificant, it's not important because it wasn't a 'hero's death' That's not going to help the family get over it is it?
The letter of condolence is meant to honour the fallen soldier and that little piece of paper isn't going to make the family get over the grief quicker than if they don't receive that piece of paper. However, I think that if the suicidal soldier either served for a good amount of time or did something courageous while at war, then they should deserve a medal or some other recognition other than a letter of condolence. Perhaps they could also get a letter just not a letter of condolence from the president, perhaps a lower-ranking person could give a letter saying that they committed suicide. I'm not sure what the name of that letter would be but certainly not called a letter of condolence. That way their death isn't written off as being insignificant but it does allow the soldiers who don't commit suicide to get a different form of recognition via the letter of condolence.
   
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