The United States Army recently released a study investigating the psychological effects of soldiers serving in occupied Afghanistan. According to the study’s findings, the mental and emotional toll of waging an aggressive, imperialist war against the freedom-loving peoples of Afghanistan is having a devastating impact on the mental health and emotional stability of US soldiers, particularly among those of lower rank serving multiple tours as part of Washington’s so-called “War On Terror.”
The new study, released by the US Army on Friday, November 13, showed that nearly one-quarter (21.4%) of low-ranking male soldiers (private through specialist) were experiencing psychological disorders such as anxiety, depression and acute distress syndromes related to post-traumatic stress disorder. The report added that the latest indicators of mental illness among US soldiers serving abroad amounted to a staggering 105% increase since the last study taken in 2005, which placed the figure at 10.4%. Aggravating the spread of mental illness among US occupation soldiers is the Army’s disproportionate number of counselors and mental health professionals capable of providing mentally and emotionally distraught soldiers with the help they need. A recent internal survey found that the Army currently staffs only one counselor for every 700 soldiers.
Other findings from the Army’s study found that US occupation soldiers serving three or more tours in Afghanistan were also experiencing “significant” marital problems, a contributing factor to the growing trend of suicide attempts among US military personnel. The survey found that more than 30% of soldiers serving multiple tours reported “marital crises” at home; compared to 14.3% reported marriage problems during their first tour. The increased frequency of attacks against NATO-led foreign military troops, including the skyrocketing rate of casualties, has also had a devastating toll on troop morale, leading to widespread pessimism over the potential for “success” of so-called “Operation Enduring Freedom.” The US Army’s survey found that only 5.7% of soldiers who participated in the study described their unit’s morale as “high” or “very high,” a 44% drop from the last survey taken in 2007.
Furthermore, the Pentagon recently released information regarding the disturbing increase in attempted (and successful) suicides among US military personnel. So far, in 2009, more than 140 successful suicide attempts have been reported – up from the total 133 recorded in the previous year. According to US Army Vice Chief of Staff, General Peter Chiarelli, 71 cases of suicide in recent months involved soldiers no longer on active duty, evidence of the US military’s seeming lack of interest and ability to help returning US soldiers recuperate from the stress of war upon resuming civilian life.
Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama is expected to announce in the coming weeks his decision on plans to deploy an additional 40,000 US soldiers to occupied Afghanistan. Roughly 68,000 US occupation soldiers are currently serving in the war-ravaged country under the guise of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), while struggling to combat a growing resistance movement under the vanguard of the Taliban Mujahideen that has successfully consolidated its presence in more than 80% of the country and has successfully increased attacks against NATO-ISAF and the Afghan “National” Army in what has become the deadliest year on record since the 2001 multinational invasion.