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InvisibleSwami
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US Soldiers Suicide Rate Unusually High
    #2566522 - 04/16/04 04:27 AM (12 years, 7 months ago)

full article here


December 31, 2003. AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

The military has documented 21 suicides during 2003 among troops involved in the Iraq war.

Matt Kelley
Associated Press
January 14, 2004

U.S. soldiers in Iraq are killing themselves at an unusually high rate, despite the work of special teams sent to help troops deal with combat stress, the Pentagon's top doctor said Wednesday.

Both situations illustrate the stresses placed on the troops and the military's health system by the war in Iraq.

Suicide has become such a pressing issue that the Army sent an assessment team to Iraq late last year to see if anything more could be done to prevent troops from killing themselves. The Army also began offering more counseling to returning troops after several soldiers at Fort Bragg, N.C., killed their wives and themselves after returning home from the war.

The overall suicide rate nationwide during 2001 was 10.7 per 100,000, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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The proof is in the pudding.


Edited by Swami (04/18/04 12:00 AM)


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OfflinePhred
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Re: US Soldiers Suicide Rate Extremely High [Re: Swami]
    #2566742 - 04/16/04 08:07 AM (12 years, 7 months ago)

Actually, the suicide rate was average for military personnel. I'm surprised you didn't do any fact checking before posting this, Swami. That report has been pretty thoroughly debunked from multiple sources already.

Should I give you the opportunity to do the research on your own and post a clarification, or would you prefer I spoonfeed you the actual figures from unimpeachable sources? Up to you.

pinky


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OfflinePhred
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Re: US Soldiers Suicide Rate Extremely High [Re: Phred]
    #2566778 - 04/16/04 08:38 AM (12 years, 7 months ago)

Ah, the heck with it. I'll just go ahead and spoonfeed you. It only took a few minutes to find the info anyway.

from http://denbeste.nu/cd_log_entries/2003/11/Suicidesinservice.shtml

In the US, suicide is one of the leading causes of death. In 2000, the CDC says that 23,618 men and 5,732 women committed suicide; that makes it the 8th biggest cause of death for men overall.

Of the various breakdown categories for death statistics in that report, the one which is closest to the mode for the US Army is "White, male, 20-24", and in 2000 that group had a suicide rate of 22.8 per 100,000, making it the second leading cause of death, exceeded only by accidents. ("White, male, 25-34" had a suicide rate of 22.4; "Black, male, 20-24" was 19.2, and 25-34 was 16.2.)

However, the rate is actually higher than that, because a lot of people who decide to commit suicide also try to make their deaths look accidental. For instance, a pretty common means of suicide is for someone to deliberately crash their car at high speed, but such a death will be reported as a "fatal car accident". One of the reasons someone might want to make it look as if their death was mischance is that life insurance policies don't pay off on suicide but do pay off on deaths in car accidents. Another reason is shame; they don't want others to know they committed suicide.


pinky's comment on the above -- Gee, looks like if you're a male between the ages of 20 and 34, a great way to avoid committing suicide would be to serve in the US armed forces in Iraq.

Let's do some simple arithmetic. The article you linked says there have been 21 suicides in Iraq resulting in a 13.5 per 100,000 rate. The typical rate for the entire US population (of all ages and sexes) is 10.7 per 100,000. Which means if you do the math (21/13.5=x/10.7 solve for x) under normal circumstances you would expect 17 soldiers to kill themselves. So there have been 4 extra suicides than what is the norm for a radically different demographic. But is it really 4 more suicides than what is the norm for the US armed forces? Nope.

At http://www.spartacus.ws/001059.html you will find a chart for suicide rates per 100,000 of the four branches of the services from 1990 to 2003. The lowest number (5.6) is for the army in 1999. The highest number (20.9) is for the Marine Corps in 1993.

"Looking at this data, and noting how the suicide rates vary significantly from year to year and from service to service, it is obvious that a suicide rate of 13.5 per 100,000 Army soldiers stationed in Iraq is statistically indistinguishable from the peacetime suicide rates among active duty military personnel. ? More specifically, the average suicide rate among Army soldiers over the last 14 years is 12.8 with a standard deviation 1.89. ? The 90% confidence interval for this sample is 0.90; meaning that for any given year there is a 90% probability that the Army suicide rate will be 12.8 ? 0.90, or between 13.7 and 11.9 per 100,000."

You should take the time to click the link and look at the chart. The numbers are all over the map. Drawing any kind of conclusion from any single year is quite obviously bad science. As you often point out to the unwashed in S&P, a single data point is meaningless.

There's more info at http://www.sacbee.com/24hour/special_reports/iraq/story/1120032p-7790408c.html and probably more at many of the other sites Google coughed up, but these'll do for starters.

Time to sleep now.

pinky


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Invisibleluvdemshrooms
Two inch dick..but it spins!?


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Re: US Soldiers Suicide Rate Extremely High [Re: Phred]
    #2568572 - 04/16/04 06:38 PM (12 years, 7 months ago)

You and your damn facts!  :wink:


Quote:

As you often point out to the unwashed in S&P, a single data point is meaningless.



Unless it's being used to slam the current administration.  :lol:


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You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that my dear friend is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. ~ Adrian Rogers


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InvisibleSwami
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Re: US Soldiers Suicide Rate Extremely High [Re: luvdemshrooms]
    #2569257 - 04/16/04 09:55 PM (12 years, 7 months ago)

How is the reporting of the suicide rate a slam on the Administration?

How does a year's worth of data concerning hundreds of thousands of people equate to a single data point?


--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


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OfflinePhred
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Re: US Soldiers Suicide Rate Extremely High [Re: Swami]
    #2569726 - 04/17/04 12:21 AM (12 years, 7 months ago)

Swami writes:

How does a year's worth of data concerning hundreds of thousands of people equate to a single data point?

When it is used to attempt to support a spurious contention that the rate of suicide among US soldiers serving in Iraq in 2003 is "extremely high". Extremely high compared to what? Why, other data points, of course.

When we examine those other data points, it is glaringly obvious that the 2003 suicide rate is not extremely high. All the evidence I have provided shows this quite convincingly. The rate for 2003 was average compared to the rate of the last fourteen years, and lower than it has been several times in the last fourteen years. As well, the rate is substantially lower than the rate of Americans in the corresponding civilian demographic -- males between the ages of 20-34.

Therefore, the single data point of 13.5 per 100,000 for US military serving in Iraq isn't "extremely high" for American men of that age group, nor is it "extremely high" even for men in the US armed forces in the last decade and a half.

Don't try to sucker in the less sophisticated readers in this forum, Swami. I won't let you get away with it. You and I both know that if the rate is calculated yearly (which it is), then each year's point on a graph is a single data point. If it is calculated every ten years, then each decade's point on a graph is a single data point, etc. The same is true whether the standard metric is expressed in annual deaths per 100, deaths per 1000, or deaths per 100,000 -- it is still a single data point.

You are deliberately attempting to blow smoke. You are an expert backgammon player (hell, you even invented and coded one of the most sophisticated and capable computer backgammon programs ever written), you live in Vegas, you play the stock market. You know way more about odds and statistics than the average reader of this forum, and for you to attempt to distort things by claiming that because the single data point describes a demographic of hundreds of thousands and covered one whole year it somehow assumes magical significance above and beyond any other single data point is to exhibit intellectual dishonesty of the most blatant kind.

pinky


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InvisibleSwami
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Re: US Soldiers Suicide Rate Extremely High [Re: Phred]
    #2569866 - 04/17/04 01:47 AM (12 years, 7 months ago)

Why did you not correct LuvDem's false assumption? Is that not bias?

How is linking an article "suckering anyone in"?

Army probes soldier suicides

"The number of suicides has caused the Army to be concerned," said Lt. Col. Elspeth Cameron Ritchie, a psychiatrist at the Army's Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md. Ritchie is helping to investigate the suicides in Iraq. "Is there something different going on in Iraq that we really need to pay attention to?" (Related story: Soldier's suicide shocks Pa. town) The numbers suggest the rate in Iraq is above normal. Last year, the military services reported 8 to 9 suicides per 100,000 people. The Army rate is usually higher, 10 to 13 per 100,000. That mirrors the rate for the same age group in the general population.

Army officials...sent a mental-health team to Iraq last month to study various issues, including suicides and treatment available for soldiers suffering from depression. Dispatched by the Army surgeon general's office, the team consists of psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and the manager of the Army's suicide-prevention program. The team has surveyed 700 soldiers and held discussions in which GIs were encouraged to talk freely."

Notice that it was not my posting of the article that got the Army concerned, but the higher than normal rate.

People usually commit suicide when they are physically or mentally ill or unstable, are unemployed, or have no purpose. These are young men (and women) in their prime who have passed physical and some mental screening. They have their basic needs met and a promising future. One would expect the suicide rate to be way below the normal population based on these factors. Add in the moral and patriotic purpose of defending our nation (if that is in fact so), one would expect the rate to be even lower still.


--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


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Invisibleluvdemshrooms
Two inch dick..but it spins!?


Registered: 11/29/01
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Re: US Soldiers Suicide Rate Extremely High [Re: Swami]
    #2570351 - 04/17/04 07:48 AM (12 years, 7 months ago)

Quote:

How is the reporting of the suicide rate a slam on the Administration?



The reporting was untrue. Although unbelievably sloppy could possibly pass.

And I believe your use of it was a slam based on your previous postings.


--------------------
You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that my dear friend is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. ~ Adrian Rogers


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InvisibleSwami
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Re: US Soldiers Suicide Rate Extremely High [Re: luvdemshrooms]
    #2570598 - 04/17/04 11:34 AM (12 years, 7 months ago)

The reporting was untrue.
Are you saying that the Army was not concerned and did not send a special team over to investigate due to higher than normal stats?

And I believe your use of it was a slam based on your previous postings.
Do you reflexively filter everything through your preconceived notions? Is that the hallmark of a free-thinking individual or a reactionary?


--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


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Invisibleluvdemshrooms
Two inch dick..but it spins!?


Registered: 11/29/01
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Re: US Soldiers Suicide Rate Extremely High [Re: Swami]
    #2570899 - 04/17/04 02:01 PM (12 years, 7 months ago)

Sorry if the truth hurts you, but that's the impression you send. Without any preconceptions.


--------------------
You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that my dear friend is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. ~ Adrian Rogers


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: US Soldiers Suicide Rate Extremely High [Re: Swami]
    #2571016 - 04/17/04 02:36 PM (12 years, 7 months ago)

I don't think I've ever seen you here before, are you new?

















...is this MY ass?


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InvisibleSwami
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Re: US Soldiers Suicide Rate Extremely High [Re: luvdemshrooms]
    #2571039 - 04/17/04 02:45 PM (12 years, 7 months ago)

The reporting was untrue.
Are you saying that the Army was not concerned and did not send a special team over to investigate due to higher than normal stats?

The reporting was untrue.
Are you saying that the Army was not concerned and did not send a special team over to investigate due to higher than normal stats?

The reporting was untrue.
Are you saying that the Army was not concerned and did not send a special team over to investigate due to higher than normal stats?


--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


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OfflinePhred
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Re: US Soldiers Suicide Rate Extremely High [Re: Swami]
    #2571237 - 04/17/04 03:53 PM (12 years, 7 months ago)

Swami, you continue to be intellectually dishonest in your responses.

First of all, you didn't just copy the title of the article you linked, instead you composed one of your own for the thread -- "US Soldiers Suicide Rate Extremely High". Even the body of the article doesn't categorize the suicide rate as "extremely" high. The article does note (correctly) that the rate was higher in 2003 than it was in 2002. It doesn't note that this variation in year-to-year rates is the norm.

Secondly, the article you posted is almost four months old. I pointed out that since it was published, its main theme (that the military suicide rate in 2003 was unusually high, or even higher than average) had been thoroughly debunked through multiple unimpeachable sources, and expressed my surprise that you would accept its premise uncritically, with no fact-checking.

When I then provided several sources to prove my claim, did you thank me for presenting the truth? No -- you attempted to pull the wool over the eyes of the readers by implying that " a year's worth of data concerning hundreds of thousands of people" was not a single data point.

How is linking an article "suckering anyone in"?

Linking the article is not suckering anyone in. You will note I didn't criticize you for linking the article -- merely expressed my surprise that a self-professed skeptic would accept its premise uncritically with no fact-checking of your own.

What is suckering the readers is your attempt to deliberately misrepresent the concept of "data point". Your posts in S&P debunking paranormal phenomena illustrate very clearly that you understand the concept better than most.

Quote:

One would expect the suicide rate to be way below the normal population based on these factors.


And in fact it is way below the normal population. See the comparison between the military suicide rate and the suicide rate of American males aged 20-34.

I don't understand why you continue to beat this dead horse. The article was poorly researched. Its premise has been proven false. Why do you continue to attempt to defend that premise? You're making yourself look like a fool. It couldn't be that you have an agenda of your own, could it?

There's no possible way you can win this argument -- the facts are against you. Concede defeat and move on.

pinky


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InvisibleSwami
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Re: US Soldiers Suicide Rate Extremely High [Re: Phred]
    #2571883 - 04/17/04 08:26 PM (12 years, 7 months ago)

Are you saying that the Army was not concerned and did not send a special team over to investigate due to higher than normal stats?


--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


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OfflinePhred
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Re: US Soldiers Suicide Rate Extremely High [Re: Swami]
    #2572146 - 04/17/04 10:06 PM (12 years, 7 months ago)

No, Swami, I am not saying the Army wasn't concerned. It's to their credit that they are looking to institute further measures to attempt to reduce the suicide rate, just as they did back in the mid-Nineties.

That doesn't change the fact that the suicide rate for 2003 was not "extremely high", nor for that matter "unusually high", nor even higher than average. Nor does it change the fact that drawing conclusions from a single data point is bad practice. Nor does it change the fact that trying to mislead people as to the nature of a "data point" is intellectually dishonest.

With each additional post in this thread you continue your intellectual dishonesty. You know very well I wasn't chastising you for posting the article, and you know very well my contribution to this thread was not to criticize (or dispute) the Army's efforts to lower suicide rates, but to point out that the military suicide rate for troops stationed in Iraq are within the normal range of military suicides in the last decade and a half. Trying to derail me onto other matters is an attempt on your part to avoid facing the facts I am pointing out, and decreases your credibility in the eyes of your peers.

You would do better to concede your thread title was extremely misleading, the article was erroneous in its stating that military suicide rates are higher than average, accept that you learned something new, and move on.

pinky


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InvisibleSwami
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Re: US Soldiers Suicide Rate Extremely High [Re: Phred]
    #2572384 - 04/18/04 12:00 AM (12 years, 7 months ago)

"U.S. soldiers in Iraq are killing themselves at an unusually high rate the Pentagon's top doctor said Wednesday."

Note: not Swami said; an adminstration official said. I will change the wording from extremely high to unusually high.


--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


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OfflinePhred
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Re: US Soldiers Suicide Rate Extremely High [Re: Swami]
    #2572491 - 04/18/04 12:49 AM (12 years, 7 months ago)

Swami, I don't care who said it. My point is that whoever said it is wrong.

I provided proof of this and your reaction was to try to discredit my proof with some lameass weaseling over what constitutes a single data point. For some reason, you want to believe that the 2003 rate was unusually high. When the figures prove that the 2003 rate was not unusually high, your reaction is first to blow smoke about data points, then to quote someone else, then someone else. That's the part I don't get. You're the guy who's always asking for proof. Why should I bother showing you proof if you're going to ignore it?

Try to get this through your head: the fact that Swami -- or the author of an article or two authors of two articles or some doctor at the Pentagon -- says a thing is so does not make the thing so.

Look, for what it's worth I can understand how you got sucked into believing the suicide rate was unusually high after reading a single article. Many other people also believe everything they read at notinourname.com. You are not alone in your credulity. What I don't understand is your persistence in clinging to the premise after it has been irrefutably discredited. Let it go. Walk away. You're not the first to be misinformed by the media. You won't be the last. There's nothing to be ashamed of.

I have every confidence that the next time you feel the urge to post some dubious piece of "information" you'll do a bit of fact-checking first.

pinky


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InvisibleSwami
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Re: US Soldiers Suicide Rate Extremely High [Re: Phred]
    #2572689 - 04/18/04 02:11 AM (12 years, 7 months ago)

There were at least 24 suicides among U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Kuwait last year, according to the Army's count. That number may increase because the circumstances of some other deaths are still in doubt.

The 24 suicides do not include soldiers who killed themselves after returning to the United States.

Dr. Paul Ragan, an associate professor of psychiatry at Vanderbilt University and a former Navy psychiatrist, said in a telephone interview Thursday that 24 suicides among the soldiers in Iraq is "without question a highly statistically significant elevation of the number of suicides."


--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: US Soldiers Suicide Rate Extremely High [Re: Phred]
    #2572837 - 04/18/04 03:42 AM (12 years, 7 months ago)

Swami, I don't care who said it. My point is that whoever said it is wrong.

You make a habit of this. Not only do you claim to know more than 16 professors of international law about UN resolutions you also claim to know more than the top doctor at the Pentagon about military suicides.

Apart from your pals on this board do you have anyone who can vouch for your knowledge on any of these matters?


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Anonymous

Re: US Soldiers Suicide Rate Extremely High [Re: Phred]
    #2573277 - 04/18/04 08:16 AM (12 years, 7 months ago)

- Post History Deleted Upon User's Request -


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