General's remarks about suicide "upsetting"
Maj. Gen. Dana Pittard, commander of Ft. Bliss. (US Army Photo)
May 25th, 2012
06:56 PM ET

General's remarks about suicide "upsetting"

By Larry Shaughnessy

On this Memorial Day when military leaders around the world honor fallen troops, one Army general has retracted a blog post stating he is "fed up" with soldiers who commit suicide, calling it "an absolutely selfish act."

The comments were originally posted online in January by Maj. Gen. Dana Pittard, commanding general of one off the Army's largest posts, Fort Bliss, but have only recently caused a public stir.

Rep. Thomas Rooney, R-Florida, called the comments "upsetting," Friday. Rooney is co-chair of the House Military Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Caucus. He said Pittard's post "displays a complete lack of understanding about the struggles that our troops and veterans with mental illness are facing."

After meeting with a retired military member recently about the blog, Pittard decided this week to retract the blog and explain himself, according to his office.

His retraction reads in part: "In my commentary published January 19, 2012, I stated suicide was a selfish act. Thanks to many of you and your feedback, I have learned that this was a hurtful statement. I also realize that my statement was not in line with the Army's guidance regarding sensitivity to suicide. With my deepest sincerity and respect towards those whom I have offended, I retract that statement."

Pittard wrote the original post the day after attending a January 18 memorial service for a soldier who committed suicide on Christmas Day. As he was leaving the service, according to his office, Pittard was informed that another soldier at the base was suspected of taking his own life. A senior military source at Fort Bliss who would not speak for attribution, the January blog post was written when Pittard was "frustrated" about soldier suicides and that it was "out of character." It reads in part:

"Wednesday, we lost a Fort Bliss Soldier to an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. I heard the tragic news as I walked out of a memorial service for another one of our Soldiers who decided to kill himself at home on Christmas Day so that his family would find him. Christmas will never be the same for his two young daughters he left behind," Pittard wrote at the time.

He continued, "I have now come to the conclusion that suicide is an absolutely selfish act. Soldiers who commit suicide leave their families, their buddies and their units to literally clean up their mess. There is nothing noble about suicide."

Later in the post Pittard wrote "I am personally fed up with Soldiers who are choosing to take their own lives so that others can clean up their mess. Be an adult, act like an adult, and deal with your real-life problems like the rest of us."

But the January blog post also appears to show an officer concerned about his soldiers and preventing suicide.

"I care about each and every one of our Soldiers, family members and civilians at Fort Bliss. I know there are a lot of people hurting out there. ... If you are hurting mentally or emotionally, then seek and get help; but don't resort to taking your own life."

Fort Bliss soldier Sgt. Daniel Taylor disagrees with the idea that suicide is selfish. "I don't think it's selfish, it's their last resort. Anything that's considered last resort is not a selfish act."

Taylor, who admits to having contemplated suicide himself while in Iraq, told CNN that the general's original remarks were likely a result of strong emotions.

"I think that in his frustration a lot of his true emotions may have come out about the situation," Taylor said.

Rep. Rooney said Friday that the entire military needs to focus on the troops. "We should be doing everything we can to encourage our troops who are contemplating suicide to come forward and seek treatment, but Maj. Gen. Pittard's comments can only serve to further isolate our troops who are struggling with illnesses like PTSD and depression and make them less likely to seek the care they need."

Pittard seems to be trying to return the focus to helping soldiers in need, writing in his retraction that, "We can all help by wrapping our arms around our fellow soldiers and showing them a future that is positive and supportive. This takes both leadership and compassion."

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Filed under: Army
soundoff (1,249 Responses)
  1. Mike

    If Rooney cares so much about us veterans, then why won't he make a stand to get us out of Iraq and Afghanistan sooner. The Army has the highest number of suicides than any other service. It is no coincidence that the suicide numbers are correlated with our time fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Go Navy!!

    May 26, 2012 at 12:50 am | Reply
    • knightforx

      Look, if I had to spend significant time in the Middle East I'd probably want to off myself too. But actually, a lot of these guys are doing it once they are back stateside. Seriously though, a lot of this can be traced to the Army letting in a bunch of losers on waivers when they probably should have been rejected from the beginning. They probably would have offed themselves with or without the military, but now we get to hear about how things are so bad that our soldiers are killing themselves.

      May 26, 2012 at 12:56 am | Reply
      • Critical Thinker

        A simplistic and inaccurate generalization by you about soldiers who commit suicide. Soldiers commit suicide from various causes, not the least of which is PTSD. You'd understand if you served in combat. Not every soldiier in comabt suffers from it, but some do. Suicides stateside after combat are sometimes triggered by failure to adjust back into society for whatever reason. Same thing sometimes accounts for spouse murders.

        May 26, 2012 at 1:04 am |
  2. knightforx

    First of all, this general is a brilliant communicator. His retraction basically says "look, I heard you loud and clear, and if you're offended I'm sorry." It's probably the most brilliantly worded response I've seen in a while. You can certainly understand where the guy is coming from, based on the totality of the circumstances. Suicide is one thing, but to do it on Christmas Day is "drama queen" at its finest. I thought the general summed it up just about perfectly.

    May 26, 2012 at 12:50 am | Reply
    • Mike

      I agree.

      May 26, 2012 at 12:51 am | Reply
    • Critical Thinker

      More suicides occur around the XMAS holidays than any other ttime of the year. The general issued his retraction four months after the fact,..only to save his career. It's too late to Etch-A-iSketch it. His retractiosn might have been brilliant within 24 hours, but not now.

      May 26, 2012 at 12:54 am | Reply
      • Critical Thinker

        I retract my typo of "retractiosn." See how it's done? In a timely manner if it's sincere.

        May 26, 2012 at 12:56 am |
      • knightforx

        When I say brilliant, what I mean is that he's putting the bare minimum out there to *maybe* appease the PC people, without actually apologizing or reversing his comments. If he suffers career damage it's OUR loss. If anything the guy should get a promotion.

        Also, regarding Christmas, there is a difference between getting depressed around the holidays and *purposely* ruining the day for everyone else. I'm not sure I can think of a more selfish act. You're telling me the guy couldn't have waited another day or two, or done it a day or two sooner? No, the guy wants to create a spectacle – simple as that.

        May 26, 2012 at 1:00 am |
    • Phillip

      Drama queen?!?! Really or maybe its a culmanation of the situation on a day that has everything to do with peace and family, Of which you have none when your deployed and are lucky if you get to call or email home on that day. People who have never been deployed really have no say on any of this... I would love to see some of you say these things if roles were reversed..

      May 26, 2012 at 3:53 am | Reply
  3. brad1001

    These guys were broken before they became soldiers.

    May 26, 2012 at 12:40 am | Reply
    • okkkk

      agreed

      May 26, 2012 at 12:41 am | Reply
    • Mike

      Not true in all cases. I have been serving for 18 years and combat changes a person.

      May 26, 2012 at 12:53 am | Reply
  4. FKafka

    I think the General really meant to say – is that immediate suicide is an act of selflishness, but only beneath sacrificing oneself to a lifelong commitment to God, country or family. 'Immediate', I say because the other forms of suicide are rather gradual such as, smoking, drugs, drinking, over-eating, watching too much CNN ( waiting for the news to change) – but these people tend to off themselves for secondary effects. We all would like to die for a cause, not to just quell the noise and the pain. So, in the end, the General is right.

    May 26, 2012 at 12:39 am | Reply
    • Critical Thinker

      Unintelligible comment posted by FKafka. Almost makes as much sense as Pettard's prejudice.

      May 26, 2012 at 12:45 am | Reply
  5. Byron

    The bad news is you have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
    The good news is that that means you are not a psychopath.

    Soldiers are forgotten when they come home, but the suicides continue.

    May 26, 2012 at 12:39 am | Reply
  6. Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

    No, suicide is not selfish; it is murder - self murder!

    May 26, 2012 at 12:37 am | Reply
    • Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

      But then again, after you have murdered so many in battle, what the hell's another one?

      May 26, 2012 at 12:39 am | Reply
    • okkkk

      Actually it is selfish, and petty, and cowardish, and childish, and an embarassment to all service men.

      May 26, 2012 at 12:42 am | Reply
      • Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

        So is rape in the military but you don't see the general attacking that, do you? Of course not.....

        May 26, 2012 at 12:48 am |
  7. Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

    Linda,

    I bet you advocate the missionary sex position too!

    So, unless you had caring, nurturing parents, there is no hope for you. So, only good christian children have any worth to the world!

    Get you head out of your b....

    You and Dr. Dobson are so full of yourselves......that is part of the reason this problem exists!

    May 26, 2012 at 12:35 am | Reply
    • Critical Thinker

      Only a selfish person such as you would make such an unintelligent derogatory commen toward a woman.

      May 26, 2012 at 12:39 am | Reply
    • Critical Thinker

      An unintelligent derogatory comment toward a woman. Can you be any meaner?

      May 26, 2012 at 12:49 am | Reply
  8. Nina

    I think people who complete their suicide just want the pain to stop.

    May 26, 2012 at 12:35 am | Reply
    • Critical Thinker

      Agree wholeheartedly. To them, it is terminal pain.

      May 26, 2012 at 12:37 am | Reply
  9. S1NAgain

    He should never have retracted his statement. Suicide IS selfish. If you commit suicide, your problems are gone, but you leave a whole slew of them for your friends, family, and any other loved ones left behind. Making others miserable simply because you are too weak to get help and/or deal with your own problems is the epitome of selfishness.

    The soldier that committed suicide shouldn't have had the honor of a military funeral. His corpse should have been tossed in the latrine for those he screwed over to pi** on. If my comments offend you because you have lost a loved one to suicide, TOO BAD! It's not my fault your loved one was a pathetic waste of oxygen.

    May 26, 2012 at 12:32 am | Reply
    • Critical Thinker

      Spoken like a devout SIMPLETON!

      May 26, 2012 at 12:36 am | Reply
    • Margaret

      May you never fall into that abyss that those who have committed suicide, May you have someone who reaches out to you with love and help if you do.

      May 26, 2012 at 12:50 am | Reply
    • No suicide members needed for compassion

      Genetically blessed ah? Perfect eyesight? How's the hearing? You don't take medicine for your heart, renal functioning, etc... No meds at all? Well if you need aid, but don't get the aid that would keep you from stumbling blindly about until you die then you can spout that crap load you are spewing. Until then, recognize that some people's brain isn't functioning at normal or better and modern medicine still doesn't have the perfect prescription glasses for differing dysfunctions or damage yet. Someday you might have a stroke and find out that brain dysfunction is worthy of some compassion, especially when it's not due to sitting on your fat butt, smoking cigs, and pickling it on anger and bitterness.

      May 26, 2012 at 1:01 am | Reply
    • profart

      I see you have never lost a loved one to suicide. May you never have to deal with mental health issues.

      May 26, 2012 at 10:03 am | Reply
  10. Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

    Keep in mind one thing, these men and women are losing all for everyone else's right to be a..holes!

    If that doesn't piss one off, I don't know what will!

    May 26, 2012 at 12:29 am | Reply
  11. lindaluttrell

    I believe the general forgets one very important aspect of leadership: yes, you are responsible for a large group of soldiers. BUT, each soldier in that large group is a unique individual, molded and shaped by all past events in their lives. In how we grow up as children are we told to just "suck it up" and figure it out forselves or did our parents explain that fears can be normal and explain the reasons for them? So many experiences from our formative years will either enable us to deal with death and other horrors, or not...

    May 26, 2012 at 12:28 am | Reply
  12. Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

    Maybe the suicide rate is a reflection of the overall care soldiers receive....it is all crappy as soldiers have been saying for years!

    May 26, 2012 at 12:27 am | Reply
  13. Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

    Randy,

    If you were hiring a surgeon, would you hire the one who just got by with a "c" average, never continued his training, had little experience, and lots of ego?

    No, you would not have surgery until you knew there was an excellent surgeon available. Otherwise, your condition may be worse that what you already face!

    Why is that any different with psychology?

    May 26, 2012 at 12:25 am | Reply
    • Critical Thinker

      Your derogatary comments condemned all psychologists and psychiatrists. A few bad apples? Some, but not all in every profession.

      May 26, 2012 at 12:34 am | Reply
  14. Mike from Calgary

    THe General's remarks about suicide by veteran's are as upsetting as they are accurate. They highlight the terrible toll that war takes on those whom the Commander in Chief sends into harms way. President Bush sent hundreds of thousands of young Ameicans off to fight a phony war in Iraq. At least President Obama weighed whether the mission was worth the sacrifice when he moved the fight from Iraq to Afghanistan.
    Pro-life as President Bush (and I) may be, and as President Obama is not, it was President Obama who showed the utmost RESPECT FOR THE LIFE of each young man and woman in uniform whom he sent into harms weigh.

    The Generals remarks simply highlight the dangers and risks that the American soldiers face and the toll that the commitment to serve one's country can take upon them. Kudos to the General and to the Brave Men and Women of the US Military. Despite all of the problems with the USA, it has produced some of the most dedicated selfless and generous servicemen and women on the face of the earth, They do the USA proud!

    May 26, 2012 at 12:25 am | Reply
  15. dorothy

    It seems the General was hoisted by his own Pittard.

    May 26, 2012 at 12:25 am | Reply
  16. Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

    Corrupt or inept? Seldom do we see our own faults/shortcomings or lack of ability, especially if what we do is driven by ego and the desire to succeed.

    Many a CEO, who claimed they were right for the job, has been removed....was he/she deceitful or a fraud? Was he/she an intentional failure. Doubtful. Ignorance is bliss! Seldom do people know what they don't know!

    May 26, 2012 at 12:16 am | Reply
  17. Another Survivor

    "Critical Thinker": I submit that you are as broken by your father's suicide as those of us commenting here that you claim to know better than. Quit trying to tell us your experience is any more meaningful than ours is.

    May 26, 2012 at 12:16 am | Reply
    • Critical Thinker

      I never claimed what you are falseley alleging. Prove it.

      May 26, 2012 at 12:20 am | Reply
    • Critical Thinker

      You profess to know what I am thinking just like you profess to know that suicide victims are being selfish. What narcisstic notions you have to believe that you are the best judge of what other people are thinking, bar none. Get real!

      May 26, 2012 at 12:31 am | Reply
      • Another Survivor

        I profess to know what you're thinking? No, I only profess to know what you've written. And I'm not going to quote it back to you.

        As someone who came home to find his girlfriend's body after she'd killed herself, I believe I am as qualified as any here commenting to have a position about suicide. Suicide is many things, and one of them is that it is selfish.

        I don't envy you your situation. But that doesn't change the facts of the matter.

        May 26, 2012 at 1:01 am |
  18. Olaf Big

    I think our generals spend more time mopping up un-PC remarks than doing their duty. We are on our way to have the most politically correct military in the world, and who cares if it is not the most effective. What is there to retract? It does not seem to be the most profound thought on the causes of suicde, but the guy is not a psychologist. Just get back to what you understand, there is no need to retract or apologize for a personal opinion.

    May 26, 2012 at 12:11 am | Reply
    • Critical Thinker

      The General's beliefs adversely impact good mental healthcare for his soldiers. His bias cannot be Etch-A-Sketched after 4 months when he has had plenty of time to reflect. It's not a PC issue, it's a leadership flaw.

      May 26, 2012 at 12:16 am | Reply
    • profart

      From the General's statement, it appears that he retracted the statement because he learned about suicide and mental health, and therefore no longer believes it. That is called learning. It is a good thing.

      May 26, 2012 at 10:07 am | Reply
  19. Fritz

    Just another stupid, insensiitive military jock general who leads from the rear.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Reply
    • Hwilks

      Just another stupid, insensitive civilian who thinks with his rear. Soldiers defend you so that you can actually make stupid comments

      May 26, 2012 at 12:25 am | Reply
  20. Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

    Forgive me but....if you just lived through months/years of hell in war......is it mental illness to come home broken, weary, confused, depressed, wanting to be alone to regain your strength? Or, is that just "normal" for having lived through hell. If that is the case, the entire middle east, that been at war for years, is nothing but a bunch of basket cases. Haven't heard that diagnosis yet!

    Psychologists, in part because there is money to be made off these soldiers and because of ignorance, have to find a problem or there is no need for them.....they are like auditors, if they don't find a problem, they haven't done their job.

    Does that mean there are not problems for soldiers to face. No, there are many obstacles they face, many hard obstacles.

    If they cannot call you mentally ill, they cannot collect money off of you and there is no career for them!

    Soldiers are folks who have lived through hell and survived. So are cancer patients. But we don't call cancer patients mentally ill for having lived through that hell and survived the battle.

    If you don't create a problem, sometimes there is no problem and you are not needed. Many in the psychological community have a need to be needed and if what they have to offer is not accepted, they will create an environment in which what they have to offer is needed. Feel will admit that truth!!!

    This may be happening with our soldiers!

    May 25, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Reply
    • Critical Thinker

      There might be a few corrupt psychologists and psychiatrists, but most of them are dedicated professionals. Backwards thinking like yours is part of the problem with soldiers being provided with good mental health care. Same goes for society in general, mental health does not get the emphasis it deserves, including health insurance coverage.

      May 26, 2012 at 12:00 am | Reply
    • profart

      If you have just lived through months of hell, you are likely in need of mental health support to avoid illness- at best. Our society rarely provides such support, and the mental health system in the military is unfortunately worse than in the civilian world.

      And if you have reached a point of contemplating suicide, that is definitely in the realm of mental illness.

      May 26, 2012 at 10:09 am | Reply
      • Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

        Oh, and someone with less character, capability and experience is going to be the one to help! You truly are ignorant of the work the psychological community does. Education has truly warped your thinking!

        You can get more from a plumber with character than most of the "trained" in the psychological community! Look at the men whose wives are the ones to help them heal!!!

        I can tell you, the psychological community is ignorant and they don't care who they screw to advance themselves and make money. Same with the government.....psychological rape is prevalent in the psychological community and it is even lauded as it allows them what they need/want to advance themselves. If you are a pile of rubbish when they get done, well, hell with you!!!! You were a piece of trash when they started. How can they expect any more of you by the time you get done....the psychological community wants it both ways!

        America claims that is a noble nation. Open the shades and you will find the truth! America is, at heart, a screw you nation....a screw you people...and they do not care whom they destroy to achieve their end!!

        And, this government puts more stock in what they don't know and cannot prove than they do in truth! Why, because, truth would tell them that what they are doing is evil....they are evil. Lies tell them they are necessary and are changing the world. The need to be a hero these days outshines the need to do right! Right is no longer a concept in this nation!

        The truth is, the government does not really care about those who serve. Their people just want their freedom to keep making money and their nice, quiet, don't bother me lives. These soldiers, and those who have put their lives on the line in other ways, are nothing more the career stepping stones and nobody really gives a damn about them, what they have lost for your freedom, or their future, including this president and general! All they have to do is go get another soldier. Hell with you!

        If folks are honest, they will admit that! Personally, I cannot wait for the day it all crashes on them and there are no more soldiers for them to use!

        From what I've seen of the military and this general, I'm not at all impressed and have no confidence they can do much of anything but destroy! And, I'm not at all convinced they give a damn about their soldiers! This military and government have proven over and over again, they cannot be trusted by their soldiers! So, please, don't expect folks to believe America is benevolent. She isn't. The govenrment isn't. This military and general are not either! America, the military and the general public today, will screw anybody to advance themselves and their cause. America only does what is in America's best interest, period! The little people with no power/money, and the world, understand this truth. Those stuffing their bank accounts know it too but money is more important to them!

        May 26, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
      • Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

        And, the soldiers are right, this military/government does not care if they screw you, your familiy or your career to advance themselves and their own! You are nothing but property owned by them anyway! They can do what they please with you, including destroy you to advance themselves!!!!!

        You want truth, that is the truth!

        May 26, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
  21. Will

    If I had to fight day in and day out - putting my life on the line, thousands of miles away from home, putting my relationships in peril - to fight for the monied interests of demons who view me and my brethren as subhuman animals, then I'd be depressed to

    May 25, 2012 at 11:40 pm | Reply
  22. Dewsterling

    Almost all people who commit suicide have mental health problems. Depression is a life-threatening condition. Schizophrenia is not the only type of mental disorder that can result in self-harming behavior.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Reply
    • Critical Thinker

      Completely agree with you.

      May 25, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Reply
  23. Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

    The stigma with getting help is seldom the problem these days! Have you seen the headlines? It is now an honor to have a therapist! It is like having a puppy dog (in more ways than one–by the way, a puppy dog will pee on you and so will a therapist!)!

    No, the problem is, the helpers are useless, don't know what to do, and are themselves, the educated ignorant, not to mention, arrogant! Kind of like our president with all his excuses!

    They are generally book trained, ego-driven, ignorant people who think they are going to fix the world. Generally, they cannot fix themselves or their own.

    Read the books about many of their careers. Those who are honest will admit they used their patients to gain experience and didn't know what the hell they were doing...those who had been in the business for years! Therapists, whether they want to admit is or not, generally have less life experience than those they try to counsel. It is about the only career where those who lead have little experience in their field!

    I heard a young woman the other day say, I want to get my degree in psychology so I can help all those wounded soldiers. I think I can do that. She thinks she can go get a degree and that will be exactly what those soldiers need. If that is the case, send them all to college to get their own degrees in psychology.

    Please, those soldiers have years of experience on these arrogant babies (leaders of this nation). These soldiers have done more than most of these arrogant babies/leaders will ever do in their life yet they are treated as helpless has beens for the ego-stroking of the masses who "just want to do their part." No, they just want to fulfill their own inner needs at the expense of the soldiers! Ahahahahhaaaa! They are such fools and don't even know it!

    Education is not the answer to man's ills. This generation has been lied to by those seeking to advance themselves and by this president seeking to advance himself!

    You want to help, go fight and then come back and help! Then, you may have some answers!

    Obviously, that didn't work in the case of this general. But then again, he may never have gotten his hands dirty either!

    The problem is, America's people no longer have character. Without character, you have nothing to offer! That is why America has nothing to offer! That is why this general has nothing to offer! That is why this president and the leadership of America has nothing to offer!

    I would love to know the suicide rate from America's early wars!

    May 25, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Reply
    • Critical Thinker

      A mental health issues can be career ending in the military. In the macho miliatry environment a mental health issue is stigmatized as a weakness and instability. It can cause poor fitness reports (personal performance reports) and loss of a security clearance that ultimately are career-ending. As long as Generals and Admirals at the top espouse these negative views, it remains part of the military culture. That is why General Pittard should retire...the damage has been done and is irrevocable on his part. He cannot Etch-A-Sketch it.

      May 25, 2012 at 11:31 pm | Reply
      • Critical Thinker

        Sorry, typing while watching the Golf Channel has caused lots of typos in my post. Hopefully, you can discern what I am saying.

        May 25, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
      • Newsraider

        It's idiotic to say this general does not care and should retire. Besides being the Firt Bliss commander, he also commands an Infantry Division. Read the article to see how he cares. Numbskull. Pure numbskull.

        May 26, 2012 at 2:06 am |
    • Randy

      So according to your 'know it all' attitude, these men and women who come back from a war zone just need to sit around and counsel themselves, because nobody else has been through what they have been through and will never be able to help. Is that what your saying? They need to help themselves? That is such an obviously uneducated, ignorant answer!

      And what is with this "Americans have no character anymore!" attitude? What are you talking about? No more character? As compared to what? The good ole days...like the fourties, fifties, sixties? Im so tired of old cliche lines being tossed out by tired, old right-wingers who are against any cultural changes, so they resort to name calling and labeling an entire nation or generation of people as characterless. Go back to your golden time of history if you dont like how things are today and blame yourself. Your the one who planted the seeds in the first place!

      May 26, 2012 at 12:16 am | Reply
    • str8whtguy

      really? You want to investigate suicide rates from previous years to make your argument? Suicide and desertion rates (on both sides) were horrendous during the Civil War. WWI was horrifying for all the soldiers who served, and many took their own lives because they couldn't adjust back into a "normal" civilization that had changed in ways they couldn't imagine. Read JD Salinger's short stories about WWII vets who took their own lives. Ask any Vietnam vet, and he'll tell you about a buddy who couldn't "hack it" anymore. You are dishonoring an enormous number of men and women who gave their lives to protect your right to say what you did. It's your right to say it, thanks to them, but it's also my right to say that you're an a$$hole for saying it.

      May 26, 2012 at 12:32 am | Reply
    • profart

      The suicide rate from earlier wars is also very high.

      May 26, 2012 at 10:11 am | Reply
    • ag

      After over 20 years of being a psychologist, I'd like to reassure you that I have yet to urinate on a patient. Hope that helps.

      Also, I have no military experience, but my husband, a former Marine Drill Sgt and combat vet, thinks I'm pretty darn good at what I do, and has encouraged me to consider working with veterans after I retire from my current position.

      I promise; I won't pee on them, either.

      May 26, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Reply
  24. pat carr

    he should be called General Rettard. what a heartless bastard

    May 25, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Reply
    • profart

      I am unsure I understand your comment, unless you intended something equally offensive as the General's original comment. I certainly hope that is not the case.

      May 26, 2012 at 10:13 am | Reply
  25. James99

    He's "fed up." Okay. Here's a newsflash for this head case: the American people are FED UP with our "leaders" (notice quotes) who, apparently, are devoid of a soul and/or any semblance of compassion. Using every opportunity to stick their foot in their mouths. HIS comments are what's "selfish."

    May 25, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Reply
  26. Chad L

    I find his comments to be disgusting. Suicide is a tragedy any way you look at it, and it simply highlights the fact that we don't do enough to help and support those who have served and protected, and those who still do. How in the world is this man still a general?

    May 25, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Reply
  27. Everett Wallace

    I agree with your statement General it is a selfish act. To those "representatives" it is your FAULT, you put these men and women in 2 wars which were not necessary, the Military is not a toy to be played with, you have shown poor leadership and now we know you do not care about US at all. Officers and Non-Commissioned officers be critical of what you say in public, people do not understand the BOND WE have for each other, it's out of anger when a fellow soldier is lost, I am the one to put the TRUTH to the "administration" we have alot of work going forward and I promise you this I care for each and every 1 of you as I care for myself.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Reply
  28. benn

    Black general upsetting the apple cart? His career is toast.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Reply
    • nodat1

      doubt that anything but a blurb in his records about his bog if he was white he would have already been "asked" retire but because he has put in that category by the government as a minority and in order to keep the quota of minority officers in balance he will be left alone

      May 25, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Reply
      • art

        it is easy for some whites to dismiss all success of blacks as a result of a handout. if you check out the general's bio you will find he is well qualified to be in his current position. i doubt you will take the steps to research his military record and education because your bigoted comments will not allow that.

        May 26, 2012 at 1:07 am |
    • Critical Thinker

      I agree that Pittard's career should be toast, but not for your implied reason. Based on my military experience, I believe the military is light years ahead of society in general when it comes to race equality. Instances of military racial biases? Yes, but not widespread from my perspective.

      May 25, 2012 at 11:46 pm | Reply
  29. James

    It's staggering and disturbing reading through these comments. It seems no-one commenting understands suicide at all. No wonder people in that dark, dark place feel like they're all alone.

    May 25, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Reply
    • Critical Thinker

      And, they are often made to feel stigmatized if they seek mental help.

      May 25, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Reply
    • Jimh77

      You're right. I read through these , most comments and they have no idea what they are talking about. I lived through it for years, I lived with it for years. And I did everything possible. And in the end, it was over. 1 of 4 daughters still says her mom copped out. She is also the only one that didn't go through therapy. The other 3 are doing very well. The Armed Services, have no idea and there will be many many more. As they roll along, nothing will change and we will lose more soldiers this way. Some can be saved, but it takes a lot of time and the right therapy and some no matter what, can not stop them.

      May 25, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Reply
  30. Jaimie

    Demote not promote

    May 25, 2012 at 10:56 pm | Reply
  31. Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

    The true test of a leader is not who made the crisis but who can clean it up!

    May 25, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Reply
    • Robin Foster

      I bet that that guy beats his family.

      May 25, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Reply
  32. Bman

    I would like to point out that this crisis is a republican generated crisis. If they had considered the consequences of their policies, this discussion could be moot. As it is there is a suicide victim and a soldier tasked with cleaning it up while the politician tries to make political hay while the racist tea sun is shining.

    May 25, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Reply
    • Nick

      BMan, we can thank Obama for the extended wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. All those innocent soldier lives lost because he is an enept community organizer always on vacation. Their blood is on his pathetic hands.

      May 25, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Reply
      • James

        I think you have your facts mixed up, and your presidents as well. But judging on your previous comments, it seems like you're "one of those," and perhaps not all the interested in accuracy.

        May 25, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
      • markinfl

        You think? Actually Obama elected Bush and Cheney himself and told them to start the war in Iraq so that the one in Afghanistan could be dragged on for even more years than the one in Iraq. Obama is one sneaky guy!

        May 25, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
      • art

        i know this is not joe the plumber but perhaps it may be nick the barber. obama can change things but sorry for you that he cannot change his skin color. deal with it.

        May 26, 2012 at 1:15 am |
    • Critical Thinker

      Good point, The religeous right likes to quote the Bible when it conveniently supports their viewpoints. However, they conveniently ignore the Bible when it clearly states not to judge your fellow man, and that includes suicides. No one knows what a person's reason for committing suicide is except for the person who is committing suicide. It's travesty to believe otherwise.

      May 25, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Reply
    • You are part of the cause

      Bman – your comments are PRECISELY one on the reasons our troops are at the low morale they are, and what leads to this level of despair that causes the suicides. This constant politicizing of the war and troops is CR*P and completely drowns out the real problems. GET A CLUE! Or Shut up!

      May 25, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Reply
    • James99

      "Republican created?" We weren't attacked? This is an article about a dimwitted general and you're dragging race into it as well as left versus right politics? Typical.

      May 25, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Reply
    • moron

      I will echo the comments made my a number of other posters in regards to your beyond incompetent post.

      1) we were attacked, nuff said. just because you dont like us fighting back, all but eliminating AL-queada and marginalizing the Taliban doesn't make it the wrong decision. Further in regards to Iraq, i would gladly go back if it meant toppeling another dictator in the middle east who gets his jolliess off on slaughtering his own people on countless occasions. just sayin.

      2) bringing politics into this is almost as laughable as it is sad. Who are you? the left wings version of Glenn Beck? Get over it and understand that as one of the remaining superpowers we have a RESPOSNIBILITY to not only defend our own interests, our allies interests, and finally those that can not defend themselves. you dont like it? go to Switzerland and watch the world burn.

      May 25, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Reply
  33. Nick

    Major General Creme Puff is only upset because the suicides make his command look incompetent. Another selfish career act on his part. Hopefully this self-serving moron never gets promotted again.

    May 25, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Reply
    • SciGuy

      Critical thinking's not your thing is it Nick?

      May 25, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Reply
      • Nick

        Clueless moron.

        May 25, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • FatFrankMckenzie

      Cream Puff is right! Normally, I would write glowing reports for people that have little skills but further my career.

      May 25, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Reply
  34. Really?

    What a fool

    May 25, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Reply
    • bacc

      You do get that what this General said was for the sake of his own troopers, don't you?

      May 25, 2012 at 10:56 pm | Reply
    • markinfl

      What, he was trying to guilt them into not committing suicide?

      May 25, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Reply
  35. ranlo

    You bet it is, Idiot!

    May 25, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Reply
  36. ranlo

    The military is not the problem!

    May 25, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Reply
    • markinfl

      You're right. Its the civilians that decide how they are deployed. However, the military is responsible for its culture that causes the above General to say such things. Many in the military wants to just sweep it under the rug as they have for decades but the bodies are beginning to pile up.

      May 25, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Reply
  37. Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

    Yep, Ranlo, it is all about you and what it feels like to have the clean up the mess!

    May 25, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Reply
  38. asmcsn

    Moral: NEVER join the military. Seriously.

    May 25, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Reply
  39. Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

    By the way, there is a good chance this general would have been fired if he were a white man making those comments!

    May 25, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Reply
    • TigerPawRaw

      Really? I don't need to even go into the ridiculousness of that comment. All I need to say is, "REALLY???"

      May 25, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Reply
      • Edwin

        Some people see race in every decision they don't like.

        May 25, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • art

      theres a good chance you wouldn't have made that comment if you were not a racist.

      May 26, 2012 at 1:17 am | Reply
      • Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

        Yep, and there's a good chance I would not be posting here too if I were not "mentally ill."

        Guess we are all in the same boat together. Welcome!

        May 26, 2012 at 1:26 am |
  40. ranlo

    Suicide is SELFISH! Havin' witnessed a suicide, I have the right to voice my opinion! It angers me every time I hear of someone taking their life. It is just the most hateful vicious act towards those left behind! Generally those, want to be dead during whatever is causing them pain, WAKE UP...DEATH IS A PERMANENT SOLUTION to temporary problems!

    May 25, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Reply
    • Critical Thinker

      Most suicide victims probably do not believe they are being selfish...only self-appointed gods like you believe this bull.

      May 25, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Reply
    • You have no idea

      Depression is not a "temporary problem". The "temporary problem" you saw, when piled on top of depression, was just the straw that broke the camels back. People who don't understand this can't relate. Life with depression is a joyless grind that one lives for others, not themselves. I don't blame anybody for not wanting to suffer any longer.

      May 25, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Reply
      • Jo Gordon

        True...true....true!!!

        May 25, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
      • YoungMarine

        I'm only 16 and I'm on anti depressants because I've thought of killing myself I don't think it selfish if people don't know what your going through

        May 26, 2012 at 12:37 am |
  41. Prior Medic

    It's because of stupid comments and selfish people like this, that others feel there is no other option. Stop trying to make soldiers feel guilty or weird or different for thinking like that but, aware that there is an option and hope by speaking up.

    May 25, 2012 at 10:33 pm | Reply
    • Critical Thinker

      Right on. The stigma caused for seeking mental help is a barrier to getting help. This General needs to be relieved of command for his stigmatic comments which he stood behind for months until his career was on the line,

      May 25, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Reply
  42. JDG

    In most instances, suicide is a very selfish act. Of course, some of the people who commit suicide have mental health issues. Leaving your little children to find you on Christmas day is exceptionally selfish. Doesn't mean the person didn't have problems, but absent something like schizophrenia, let's not sugar coat things. We seek to excuse almost everything in this world. Sometimes it is helpful to tell people the truth.

    May 25, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Reply
    • Les

      There is no doubt that suicide botched is a call for help but a suicide successful is all "me". Perhaps the general was wrong in the way he said it but there is absolutely no excuse for anyone suicidal or not to kill themselves on Xmas Day so his 2 young daughters have to live with that the rest of their lives. Many other suicides are committed so that family members or loved have no choice but to find the body. Mental illness is not an excuse for such selfishness.

      OTOH, soldiers in past wars did NOT have to face never ending forced deployments. Not a few of these men were lured into service by unscrupulous recruiters dangling college money as a reward. The entire "volunteer" army thing needs to be rebuilt from the ground up beginning with intensive psychological screening for every new recruit.

      May 25, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Reply
  43. Kemosabe

    Maj Gem Pittard is spot on with his comments, as someone who had to "clean up the mess", suicide is greatest act selfishness a human could ever inflict on another.

    And it is shame he was compelled to retract it. We need to society has a whole if you have some sh*t in your life, find help.

    May 25, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Reply
    • squarf

      His third star has just committed suicide.

      May 25, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Reply
    • Critical Thinker

      The Bible says you should not pass judgement on others. Who are you to pass judgement on suicide victims that belongs to God You must be the Pope!

      May 25, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Reply
      • Les

        The Bible has nothing to do with this topic. Nor should it. To justify it's use as a point in argument is NOT the sign of a Critical Thinker. BTW, in Japan (the Shinto religion) suicide is the honorable and expected thing to do when you've "messed up". So for them it is not a "mental illness". Thankfully, our society views it as reprehensible albeit a sign of mental illness.

        May 26, 2012 at 12:28 am |
      • YoungMarine

        the bible should be like the first rule of fight club

        May 26, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • George

      The General is correct. Anyone that commits suicide should be immediately removed from duty.

      May 25, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Reply
      • Les

        Absolutely correct!. Except I would add that any soldier that even hints at any psychological disturbance no matter how small should be immediately discharged. Soldiers should never have to worry that a team member is going to "lose it" in battlefield conditions. Such illnesses are not easily faked. We once had a draftee who jumped up and down screaming he was "God". The drill instructor handed him a shovel and said that if he was God he would have no problem moving a mound of gravel to another spot. He didn't and the guy turned out to be our best marksman.

        May 25, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • Independent from NH

      You are absolutely correct. Even more unfortunate in this debacle is that this never would have made headlines had this politician looking to gain political points. Politicians don't know jack about the battlefield or the military. The majority of them have never served.

      May 25, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Reply
  44. Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

    With leaders like America has promoted in recent years, is it any wonder the world/America are in such a mess....and just think, these folks believe they are the answer to the world's woes....they are going to change Iraq, Afghanistan, and bring peace to the middle east but cannot stop the suicides in their own backyard. Ignorance is bliss, isn't it! (p.s., it only takes a village (a village of idiots) to screw a nation....Hillary proves that to us every day!)

    Amazing, some of America's leaders would look at a pile of cow dung and call it gold if it would get them promoted!

    By the way, this is not a man showing personal emotions about a situation, it is an man showing his true ignorance and arrogance...it is all about him (the pot calling the kettle black...no pun intended)! When you send a child to do a man's work, this is what you get! If this is the best the military/America has to offer, which it is these days, we are in trouble! (By the way, we all know that to get ahead in the military you have to kiss butt, follow orders, don't think, and repeat what you've heard to be accepted/fit in/get promoted! Use your brains and they don't want you! They train their soldiers like they train dogs....that is why their soldiers act like dogs....hence, this fool!)

    But then again, most of us already see that we are in trouble! (By the way, have you noticed the decline in test scores of the children in America? This can get worse.....ah, America's educated ignorant! Isn't it wonderful! The blind leading the blind and we all happilyfall into the ditch together while they spend our money, their bank accounts increase, and we are screwed!!!)

    By the way, I wonder if his remarks could be considered premeditated murder....if he causes a suicide with them, is he guility....in the court of Gd, probably so!

    May 25, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Reply
  45. Chief

    I sit through suicide prevention classes nearly quarterly and do online training bi-annually or whenever a new something comes out. However, it's far more "check the box" training than actual concern. I see how the 'leaders' treat any injured or ill soldiers and by no means is it the understanding caring way the training would have you believe. Generally it's along the lines of, well, we got a weak soldier, put him/her out and give me a good one. Not all leaders, but I'd go on the record to say my experience has been the majority feel that way.

    May 25, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Reply
    • Critical Thinker

      Chief, spot on! Great observation. The only way to change this mindset is to replace senior officers who demonstate ambivalence towards suicide and prevention. There are many qualified to replace General Pittard. The old way of smacking perceived weak soldiers like General Patton did to shell-shocked (i.e., Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome) soldiers should be history. Mental health has progressed into the 21st century, and the Generals and Admirals down to the rank and file should get with the program. E-7's, E-8's, and E-9's tend to have the best insights for their soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen. It's high time for the non-compliant offider corps to get with the program too. Most suicides are preventable but not all...blaming and degrading suicide victims just doesn't cut it. Fortunately, we have military like you who get it.

      May 25, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Reply
  46. agentxyz

    Remember when I yanked that crybaby soldier out of his bunk and slapped him a few times?–Gen. Patton (ret.)

    May 25, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Reply
    • Chief

      I get the jist of where you're going, but Gen Patton did not retire....he died in a jeep accident before WWII ended. Good example of your point though.

      May 25, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Reply
      • Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

        Justice was served!

        May 26, 2012 at 1:31 am |
      • agentxyz

        If I am dead, then how am I posting this smartie pants. You get my gist?

        May 26, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
  47. bad2worse

    He should retract his retraction.

    May 25, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Reply
  48. Will Johoy

    I am sure that GEN Pittard's deepest interest is for his Soldiers (Sailors, Airmen & Marines) and their families. Must be terribly frustrating to have yet another of your personnel commit suicide. If not a selfish act then it must be a deeply personal decision made by a desperate soul who saw no way out. For those who are contemplating–get help..it is available

    May 25, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Reply
  49. Matt

    As someone who lost his father at age 14 to suicide, I think I have the right to comment. I wholeheartedly agree with the General. It is selfish to leave everybody behind to pick up the pieces and deal with the emotions. There is always a brighter day around the corner and life is too precious to just end it short, selfish!

    May 25, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Reply
    • Critical Thinker

      Have you sought counseling for still being angry at your Dad? It appears by your comment that you are carrying a lot of baggage which is not healthy. I know somewhat how you feel, but not exactly the same, because my Dad also committed suicide (with a shotgun at home).

      May 25, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Reply
  50. Clark_Nova

    As a combat veteran, let me say this. This man is not fit to command, not even as an NCO.

    May 25, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Reply
    • Nick

      Exactly.

      May 25, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Reply
    • Critical Thinker

      As a military retiree, I agree wholeheartedly that General Pittard should voluntarily step down and retire, or be forced to retire. Ignorant, on the spot, statements are one thing...letting ignorant statements stand for moths shows a severe lack of common sense and sensitivity.

      May 25, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Reply
    • M.D.

      And as a fellow combat veteran I respect your opinion no more than if you never served. Read this guy's entire sentiment and try to put yourself in his position. I don't absolutely agree with him, but I can understand where he's coming from.
      He is quite fit to command because he's not blowing smoke up his soldier's backside.

      May 25, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Reply
      • Critical Thinker

        Based on what yoy have said, you appear to be the type to tell your patients to suck it up and everything will get better. Don't be pansy! God help your patients for your insensitvity!

        May 25, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
  51. Brad

    I don't see anything wrong with the general's viewpoint, especially when it talks of saving a life. Suicide is Selfish. Its not the last resort, EVER! Suicide only hurts those who have loved and cared for you. I appluad the general for speaking his mind, something it seems the US government is trying to keep the soldiersfrom doing.

    May 25, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Reply
    • Nick

      I'm sure army suicides will go up after this arsehole general's stupid comments. Way to go arsehole.

      May 25, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Reply
      • Real life

        Arsehole? You must be a Brit, which means the US bailed u out of every conflict you've been in since US exsistance. Thank god for those insulting arseholes keeping your weak arse safe u retarded f@@k

        May 25, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • SciGuy

      Nick, I suspect you are sure of many things that just aren't so. Sorry.

      May 25, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Reply
    • Lisa Capra

      This is utterly ridiculous. The military is dealing with a crisis of mammoth proportion and this General decides to make a comment that may keep people from getting help.The all volunteer military may work for civilians that haven't spend half(or more) of the last 12 years in a combat zone, but those that have will most likely have issues. It's really easy to say others are selfish when you have never been in this situation. Way to support your troops. Only words!!!

      May 25, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Reply
    • Chris, M.D.

      I am a physician with a lot of Emergency Room experience in a major city. When a parent or child with living parents commits suicide, that is an extreme act of selfishness. His parents are severly traumatized and his children are PERMANENTLy damaged for his own comfort. He could have and should have sought help for THEIR sake if not his own.
      Period.

      May 25, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Reply
      • Critical Thinker

        You should lose your license since you portray yourself as an insenstive ( probably also aselfish narcissitic money grubber even though ER physician pay isn't that great compared to other physiicians). Thank God most ER physicians are not as insensitive as you.

        May 25, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
      • Critical Thinker

        My father committed suicide the day after he saw his Psychiatrist. The Psychiatrist came to our home in tears less than two hours after the shotgun sucide. Some suicides cannot be prevented if a victim is unable to think clearly.You should be able to comprehend this even if you did not go through Med school.

        May 25, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
      • Jimh77

        You sir are so wrong, You have no idea and that also goes for most of the comments here. Until you live through this for years with someone that is that traumatized, you have no clue. You need to be involved personally in order to actually understand it. And yes, I still have 1 daughter that thinks her mother copped out. She has no idea what went on for so many years. There will be more soldiers taking their life. 90% of this is caused by the way the armed forces handles all illnesses, not just mental problems. We need to get our folks home and stop deployments, over and over and over.

        May 25, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
  52. Paull

    The general is right.

    May 25, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Reply
  53. Statistic

    Suicide IS a selfish act. It is THE ultimate selfish act. Lets all just give up on life no matter how bad it hurts the one's around us.

    May 25, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Reply
    • Critical Thinker

      What a moronic statement you have just made. You're the one being selfish and trying to play God by tring to pass judgement on a helpless suicide victim.

      May 25, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Reply
    • R Crook

      You too are an ignorant sob...just because you have no knowledge of this illness, does not make you right!
      Smarten up! Learn!

      May 25, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Reply
      • Critical Thinker

        My father committed suicide with a shotgun. Enough said.

        May 25, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • R Crook

      You too do not know a thing about the illness...so be quiet and stay in the corner 'til you gain some insight into the illness.

      May 25, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Reply
  54. Old Sparky

    The general was saving lives with his comments. The idea is to deter wannabe suicides. Make it plain nobody will miss them. Make it plain they'll be briefly thought of as a weak little person who took the coward's way out. Make it plain they'll be buried with shame then quickly forgotten except for the stigma of, "That's the suicide's wife." or "That's the suicide's kids." He was taking the "pity party" incentive off the table for anyone considering the easy way out.

    May 25, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Reply
    • Critical Thinker

      Maybe he was trying to help, but his lack of good judgement prevailed. Just ask any psychiatrist. Laick of good judgement is cause for for being removed, just like when a ship runs aground...the Captain is removed for lack of good judgement.

      May 25, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Reply
      • M.D.

        Huh???

        May 25, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • Critical Thinker

      @ MD – Not all doctors are bright. What part of my comment wre you incapable of comprehending? Does M.D. stand for your name or Moronic Doctor?

      May 25, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Reply
    • Squidgal

      I can't speak to all cases, but I want to make an observation. I had a dear friend who committed suicide about 5 years ago. The signs of depression were everywhere, and after many people spoke to my friend, he did seek help. Unfortunately, he did not seem to get better despite the counseling. In the weeks before he did commit suicide, he absolutely was not himself. Not the father, friend, co-worker we all knew. If he was in his right mind, he would never do anything to hurt his family. But the point is...he was not. To call a person a coward when that person cannot reason clearly just seems callous.

      May 25, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Reply
      • Critical Thinker

        Well said and I completely agree with you!

        May 25, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
      • ag

        Very well put. What a lot of people don't understand is that severe depression actually changes the way you think and process information, not just the way you feel emotionally. It literally makes your brain focus on only the most negative parts of your experience. People whose thinking is disrupted in that way literally CAN'T see solutions to their problems and can't see that their suicide would hurt others. It does make them self-centered, but it's an effect of the illness, not a moral failing.

        May 26, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  55. Nick

    The same morons that think suicide is a selfish act, also think abortion is not. That it's a choice. Herp Derp...

    May 25, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Reply
    • SciGuy

      How'd you draw that conclusion, Einstein?

      May 25, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Reply
      • Nick

        After reading your moronic statements it was easy to compare the two, loser.

        May 25, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
  56. 2tor

    That's exactly what I've always called it too, and I've been through it.

    May 25, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Reply
    • R Crook

      As a person who has suffered a great deal from mental illness, I can only say that this military officer does not know a thing about the illness. He shoud be sent to work in a mental hospital and learn first hand what mental illness is and togain a better understanding of same. If the officer in question refuses to take some retraining, then one can only conclude that he is unfit to be high ranking service person.

      May 25, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Reply
      • M.D.

        I'd say he knows a hell of a lot more about it than most people given his position. You're not to sharp for saying that.

        May 25, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
  57. JiminNM

    It is a vial selfish act for the U.S. Federal Government Corporation to waste the lives of military personnel to mitigate corporate risk, increase corporate profits, and steal the world's resources instead of protect real national security.

    May 25, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Reply
    • JLS1950

      Amen!

      May 25, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Reply
  58. homer

    "On this Memorial Day when military leaders around the world honor fallen troops, "

    CNN take a history lesson... memorial day is a US holiday from the Civil War honored by all americans... the rest of the world does not observe this day..

    Do they hire high-school newspaper reporters??

    May 25, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Reply
    • Laura

      Homer, seriously, do you not know that our troops are all around the world...they are the ones referred to in the article, not any other country!

      May 25, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Reply
      • Clark_Nova

        They're everywhere because we're the cops of the world.

        May 25, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
      • homer

        here i thought all americans observed it not just the military and not just the military leaders...

        just seems the web reports that CNN constantly puts out seem to be constantly riddled with errors, be they grammar, spelling, etc.

        May 25, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
  59. Ken

    I'm 100% behind Maj Gen Pitard on this. He's getting a bum rap. It is easy to understand his frustration. Contrary to what many of you may think, most senior military leaders DO give a crap about their people. Yes, I can appreciate the stresses and strains of service members that take the tragic step of ending their own lives. What I cannot appreciate or fathom is them doing it in such a horrific way as the soldier who killed himself on Christmas day in his home so his family would find him. There is no rhyme or reason for that. That was a selfish act. Thank you General Pitard for having the courage to speak the truth. Your retraction had as much validity as the Vietnam POWs making filmed "confessions" only instead of rope torture, your "captors" threatened your career.

    May 25, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Reply
    • Critical Thinker

      It's not the General's right to pass judgement on sucide victims which he did. The General appears willing to say anytihing now to save his job, especially since he's had almost half a year to think about his statement and retract it. He's trying to Etch-a-Sketch his statement to save his neck.

      May 25, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Reply
    • Nick

      Thanks Major General Moron for crapping on these soldiers. I'm sure your future job in the defense industry will be an award giving off the backs of these same men and women. You're pathetic.

      May 25, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Reply
  60. SSG W

    QMP ?

    May 25, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Reply
  61. Tara

    My boyfriends father shot himself in the head when he was in 1st grade, his sister in 4th. They believe it was a selfish act. I don't try to judge or add my opinion. Suicide can be perceived many ways, but the only one, I believe, should be expressed by anyone other than those closest, is that it is a tragedy. Otherwise you run the risk of offending, or hurting someone who has had to deal with the situation first hand. They have enough to sort through without anyone adding to what could probably be a life long struggle to cope.

    May 25, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Reply
    • bigfoot

      He had two kids while he was a first grader?

      May 25, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Reply
      • Tara

        Apologies for the bad sentence structure. *My boyfriend was in 1st grade, his sister in 4th, when their father shot himself in the head.

        May 25, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
  62. bigfoot

    In today's Army, there is ABSOLUTELY no place this high up for a commander that is not COMPETELY VERSED in the mental disease process. Hell, I have NO degree and I understand it at a higher level by far than this man.

    May 25, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Reply
    • ColJim1956

      Really? You understand suicide? Then you should be out preventing it. I have seen several suicides including by a close officer friend of mine. If we all understood it at the "deep" level you purport to understand it, then we could all prevent it. I wish I could have prevented those I saw. I could not. Your words are just words. Go back to watching television

      May 25, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Reply
    • bigfoot

      I will go back to watching tv and watch all the fine folks "playing" army while being offensiveASSHOLES.

      May 25, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Reply
  63. ColJim1956

    Lots of people here seem quick to condemn this general's remarks. I have been affected by the suicides of close friends and coworkers, including that of an officer friend of mine. The spouses, children, and parents left behind are confused, angry and hurt. The person committing the act no longer has to deal with them. Is is selfish? Yes. Is is a last desparate cry for help? Yes. It is a lot of things. But it is hard to say that taking your own life and leaving behind those who love you is somehow noble.

    May 25, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Reply
    • bigfoot

      Just maybe you don't have a clue as to the demons that propels an individual to take their own life.

      May 25, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Reply
      • ColJim1956

        Well, again, my friend. If you truly understand, then prevent it.

        May 25, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Critical Thinker

      When did you hear someone claim that they believed suicide is noble? I have only heard people claim it as an action of last resort or an act of selfish cowardice. I do not believe it is an act of selfishness or cowardice either. I d

      May 25, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Reply
      • Critical Thinker

        I do believe some (not all) commit suicide because they are not thinking clearly and in their mind believe that suicide prevents prolonging the pain of their families and friends when they are terminally ill. This is not correct for a normally functioning mind, but in their mind it makes complete sense.

        May 25, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
  64. Critical Thinker

    What an insensitive statement. Fire Pittard! Then he can have his freedom of speech as a civilian, just like his idol Rush Limbaugh.

    May 25, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Reply
  65. monte485

    Civilian, military, or whatever. Regardless of your problem or your situation, suicide is not the answer or the remedy. Reach out - to family, friends, counselor - ANYBODY. I don't defend Gen. Pittard's comment, nor would I say it myself. I would defend his reasoning that there is always hope, always help, always another option rather than suicide. Having been thru some tough times in Sierra Leone, Lebanon, Iraq, and Pakistan, I do understand their stresses and problems - they always pass.

    May 25, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Reply
  66. Don

    I've read a good amount of posts. Selfish- noble.........noble selfish. So, as someone who tried it (not very good at that, either) I can say i was copping out. But I lived. My family, friends, etc. had to deal with me prior to and after. It wasn't pretty. Therefore, I don't think I can label it one way or the other..........JMO.

    May 25, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Reply
  67. Joshua

    Freedom....of....speech. He fights for it, so shouldn't he be the first to use it?

    May 25, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Reply
    • peterbanning

      Amen!

      May 25, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Reply
  68. Steve

    Hoisted by his own Pittard!

    May 25, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Reply
    • Critical Thinker

      Good thing you did not say "lynched." Otherwise, Pittard would accuse you of being insensitive.

      May 25, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Reply
  69. HA!

    What a selfish thing to stay while you endure your deployments in the confort of padded chairs and a AC work area. Your living quaters is bigger than the place that most these guys live in that contain a dozen guys. Guys like you disgust me. You have no idea by your words, what is going on with our heroes that are coming back from the warzone. I tell you what, yes I thought about suicide once or twice. I hurt and I'm in pain 80% of my life and I live through it. I hope you know, you lost all respect from your fellow soilders which is good, you are no more a leader. You should join the ranks with Washington DC.

    May 25, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Reply
    • ColJim1956

      I guess you think officers do not deploy.

      May 25, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Reply
  70. Nick Daniels

    Suicide is an act of cowardice when a general does it to avoid the humiliation of capture. Otherwise, it's a sad thing.

    May 25, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Reply
  71. rob

    Maybe instead of idiots continuing to say stupid things and then apologizing, they should work on not saying them in the first place.

    May 25, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Reply
    • duckforcover

      The problem is it truly represents what they believe. Just more evidence our government is totally out of touch with the citizens.

      May 25, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Reply
      • fekt

        it's not our government. he's a general in the army. one day you might be able to tell the difference. the uniforms are usually a dead give away to most people.

        May 25, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
  72. soldiers wife

    My husband served 4 years at Ft Bliss. Mental health care there is a nightmare. It is a crap shoot whether you will see a real psychologist (forget psychiatrist) and will most likely be funneled into a group therapy session with at least 10 other soldiers. In addition, the process a soldier has to go through to get help means telling almost everyone in his unit about it. If his command is unsupportive and see's mental health as a "weakness of character" he can deny that soldier access to health resources in a number of ways. In addition, soldiers gossip like old women, so most soldiers are reluctant to talk about it and have EVERYONE know their issues. I speak from experience, and have been blessed to have left that hell hole.

    May 25, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Reply
    • retiredarmy3474

      Its not just at FT Bliss, its the same up here at FT Hood. When I was in I got to see a soldier "phsycologist" for about twenty minutes and then on to the therapy sessions with as many soldiers. I do agree with you troops are like like old ladys that like to gossip. If they find a little bit of dirt on someone they spread it like wild fire. The problem is not just there at Bliss or Hood, its Army wide and im sure all over the services but I can only speak for my own Army experience. When a leader speaks against a serious problem like this, the soldier listens. He just set the Army back a few years in the work that they have been trying to do, in getting soldiers to come forward to acknowledge about their mental health problems.

      May 25, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Reply
    • Lisa Capra

      You are 100% correct!!

      May 25, 2012 at 10:16 pm | Reply
  73. Radgast

    it is a selfish act and its insensitive for me to say that, Suicide is terrible thing for one to take such extremes in order to extinguish their own pain. The general has my respect, because he posted a true fact that may help prevent others from taking their life if they consider how it effects others who love them, but his retraction if also respectable because circumstances that lead to suicide are unlikely to ever be so simplified.

    May 25, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Reply
    • AgentJ

      From personal experience on the matter, some recognize the damage they are doing to their friends and family during their depression, that suicide is a way to release them from that stress.

      Before talking like an idiot, perhaps you should have a coversation or two with those on the edge who are ready to cash in. Since 2006 I have been doing such for anywhere from 1-5 soldiers in that predicament on a monthly basis. The issue is far more complicated than many know.

      May 25, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Reply
  74. John

    What an asshole

    May 25, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Reply
    • joe

      i agree. Probably a politically motivated appointment. He does not look too bright.

      May 25, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Reply
      • Jerry in NC

        Why,because he's black?????

        May 25, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
      • lukeinno

        Shut up sucker

        May 25, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
  75. anonymous

    Selfish act eh? So, it's completely selfish for these men and women to sacrifice their lives, and watch their fellow comrades die in combat for a country that could care less for them? Why do you think they kill themselves? Because once they come home, no one gives a crap about them, let alone wants to help them overcome the trauma they suffered during combat. Being in the military, you'd think this general would learn some fricking tact before opening his mouth.

    May 25, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Reply
    • SciGuy

      The general spoke the truth...deal with it.

      May 25, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Reply
      • Chuck in Jasper, Ga.

        News flash. You do not get to decide what the truth is. You only think you do. The truth is you have no idea what you are talking about.

        May 25, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
      • SciGuy

        Chuck, somes truths are self-evident. All bachelors are unmarried. All those who perform an act for their own comfort that they know will hurt others are by definition being selfish.

        May 25, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
      • BK

        Selfish people keep what they have and never share. I'm baffled as to how anyone can classify killing yourself, effectively giving up ~everything~, as selfish.

        May 25, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
      • Nick

        SciGuy, please go kill your pathetic self.

        May 25, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
      • SciGuy

        Nick, I would never be that selfish.

        May 25, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
      • TheBubbA

        General Pittard is correct. He was speaking of the effect suicide has on family and friends and the toll this takes on the survivors. As he states Christmas day will never be the same for that soldiers family, probably for several generations. A friend of mine had to scrape his sons brains of the bathroom ceiling. Trust me, he was never the same. Another friend of mine at least had the decency to walk into the woods behind his house to off himself. Life is difficult. To quote Pittard, "Be an adult, act like an adult, and deal with your real-life problems like the rest of us."

        May 25, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • okaymyman

      I'm pretty sure that warriors deal in reality not political correctness. His service speaks for itself so you should deal with it.

      May 25, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Reply
  76. FactChecker

    Regardless of what anyone says, military leaders are not the wisest people.

    May 25, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Reply
    • nope

      kind of like CNN commenters

      May 25, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Reply
    • ac

      Check your facts FactChecker. Where did you go to school? What is your IQ? http://collegeapps.about.com/od/collegeprofiles/p/air-force.htm

      May 26, 2012 at 12:13 am | Reply
  77. aj

    There is NOTHING noble about suicide. He is right 100%. We've all dabled on that fine line. But in the end, you hurt more people than yourself doing that act.

    May 25, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Reply
  78. glorydays

    and this is what we want other countries to emulate.....Eisenhower was right.

    May 25, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Reply
  79. John

    The vast majority of suicides are the result of intolerable psychology pain among people who feel that their pain is never going to end and that they have exhausted all other means. The overriding comments here seem to be that the individual commits suicide to escape something instead of dealing with it and thus forcing their family and friends to deal with it instead. Anyone who has been close to a suicide victim knows this not to be the case. As for the Major General, his second message seems pretty clear that he belatedly discovered that he was not in conformity to Army doctrine and in order to protect his position posted a half-assed "apology."

    May 25, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Reply
    • okaymyman

      I have been close to suicides in the past and I don't agree with you. My experience is that the depression that they are experiencing prevents them from considering the cost to their friends and family, but that by definition means they are only thinking selfishly. I think as a warrior and leader of men the general is right to imprint the idea that this act would be counter to everything that men should value about life.

      May 25, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Reply
      • John

        So what you're saying is that everyone should live for everybody else but not themselves.

        May 25, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  80. Sirned

    I know 2 people that took their own lives. I was never so arrogant to think I knew what monsters they were fighting or were living with. I just know they were in such pain they weren't able to see a way out. I'm so sick of this phoney tough guy talk. This general needs a lesson in humanity.....

    May 25, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Reply
    • SciGuy

      No, the general is spot on. Whatever monsters one is fighting, suicide is the selfish way out.

      May 25, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Reply
    • Sirned

      Don't bash these fine soldiers. You loved them when they were fighting and killing Muslums. Now you bash them for upsetting your fantasy script of how the strong and selfless behave. It's a myth that weak and selfish people take their own lives. You have to be pretty strong and determined to do it. Is it selfish ? Or are we being selfish blaming them instead of grieving with and for them? And learning how to help others in pain....Oh and my 2 friends who took their lives were the nicest most decent people I have ever known....

      May 25, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Reply
    • SciGuy

      On the contrary, it's an obvious fact that suicide is selfish. One is doing what one desires in spite of all the pain it will cause others. By definition that is a selfish act.

      May 25, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Reply
      • Sirned

        And if they think it will be better for everyone if I'm dead? Do you call that selfish or just not seeing clearly? Because no one thinking like you and I right now would take their life. Their head is in a different place that has nothing to do with being selfish. You can't judge a sick person like you judge a healthy person....

        May 25, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
      • John

        So you happen to have a reference to a psychological or psychiatric paper or textbook that agrees with your position because I'm in the field and I think you'll have a pretty hard time finding one.

        May 25, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
      • SciGuy

        John, one does not need a degree in astronomy to know that the earth orbits the sun.

        May 25, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
  81. Viet Nam Era Vet

    I'm an older vet. I am acquainted with soldiers who are still in, or are National Guard soldiers who have completed their third tour to SW Asia. Believe me, if a soldier presents medical personnel with an issue that could be diagnosed as PTSD, our wonderful military brands them as having a pre-existing condition and processes the soldiers for discharge and likely no treatment through the military and denial of benefits with the VA. I experienced an incident 25 years ago, rec'd a diagnosis of PTSD from VA Medical Personnel and have been unable to get the VA to acknowledge service connection of the issue. My difficulty did not become apparent until ten years after the incident, and the diagnosis was not made until after more than 20 years after the incident. If you are a wounded warrior, the military is not your friend in assisting you in achieving access to the VA benefits for which you may be eligible. The guys still on active duty have it the worst. They are treated like malingerers. PTSD is real, but if you are still on AD and seek treatment for PTSD, you may find yourself in a heap of difficulty.

    May 25, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Reply
    • Chuck in Jasper, Ga.

      So you had a problem getting the VA to process your paperwork. Or perhaps your claim was incomplete? I am a medically retired soldier that served 22 years before being medically retired in 1992 for a spinal injury. Although the process for substantiating a claim are tedious and time consuming, the process does work. Regardless your claim.

      May 25, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Reply
      • okaymyman

        It is arrogant and silly to compare the away a physical wound is treated with the way a psychological issue is treated. Your result doesn't negate his experience with the VA since they have nothing in common. Ir's like comparing the victim of a kidnapping to one of a car wreck.

        May 25, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
      • Viet Nam Era Vet

        Ahhh, thanks for the inspirational comments Chuck. My comments were an attempt to point out that current Joes will have a difficult time if he or she claims PTSD.

        May 25, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

      Ah, the military has more than one type of rape within its culture! Evil left unchecked becomes an even greater evil!

      No character, no respect for life! America's military. America's government. Millennium education...use them and then screw them. When you have no value any more, what's wrong with suicide?

      May 26, 2012 at 1:07 am | Reply
  82. midas

    We take more care of our troops than we ever have in history but no one is immune to prolonged time in war.

    May 25, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Reply
  83. SciGuy

    The general is correct. Suicide is the ultimate act of self-love. Without regard to the devastation and endless pain that others will suffer the killer takes what he sees as what will be best for him. That is selfishness with a vengeance.

    May 25, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Reply
    • Ross

      Sciguy,

      Did it ever occur to you that these warriors take their own lives because the pain is so immense that they can no longer hold on. Obviously, they are so distraught and mental fragile, they just want to end it. I wholeheartedly doubt they commit this act out of self-love, retribution, or spite. They commit this act, often impulsively, to end intolerable suffering.

      May 25, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Reply
      • SciGuy

        They do it to end their intolerable suffering, not caring about the intolerable suffering that their act will cause others...that is selfishness.

        May 25, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
      • kathym

        Self hate numb nu%$!

        May 25, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Sirned

      You are the selfish one for judging another when you are not in their boots.....

      May 25, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Reply
    • kathym

      You are an idiot. You say they have self love? It would be the opposite. Have you walked in their shoes? This is news...people need to wake up and treat each other with kindness.

      May 25, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Reply
      • SciGuy

        You are an imbecile. How is it the opposite?

        May 25, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • Chuck in Jasper, Ga.

      Says you. Medical experts would disagree with you. I tend to believe that medical professionals have more knowledge than a judgmental person that thinks he knows more than medical experts, with no medical experience. I think you are simply a person that thinks you are better than everyone else. You are a legend. (In your own mind).

      May 25, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Reply
      • SciGuy

        Hey, chuck, how's it going? The old appeal to authority fallacy.

        May 25, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
      • kathym

        Amen Chuck!

        May 25, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • Nick

      SciGuy, I'm sure no one here would care if you killed your pussy self.

      May 25, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Reply
      • SciGuy

        Calm down now Nick, it's OK for adults to have differing thoughts.

        May 25, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
  84. George Nussbaum

    The Major-General has displayed a complete lack of leadership and sensitivity to the real issues faced by those who have served repeatedly in combat zones and witnessed the most significant physical and emotional traumas imaginable. These nobel warriors deserve our support and respect, not a flippant comment that this is no more than a selfish act. Four star generals have been relieved of duty over remarks made about the president and the VP. General Pittard's comments represent a position in complete opposition to Army policy. Obama must relieve this despicable officer immediately

    May 25, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Reply
    • SciGuy

      No, the general candidly spoke the truth. And we can't handle the truth.

      May 25, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Reply
    • DICK RAMER

      This is beyond sad! THEY ought to bust your ass to captain1

      May 25, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Reply
    • kim

      You don't think the General had served in multiple combat zones? Better rethink that.

      May 25, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Reply
      • Chuck in Jasper, Ga.

        "Serving" in a combat zone and participating on combat operations are too completely different scenarios. There are hundreds of thousands of military people that served in combat areas. That does not mean they saw combat or witnessed the things others did. So whatif the General "served" in a combat area? Did he participate in combat?

        May 25, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • Ross

      George Nussbaum,

      I do concur, and understand your anger, however, I do believe the General is owed a second chance. I knew of three people who committed suicide in under a year, all of them in the same department at work. Psychologists often espouse that suicide is contagious. A lot of people, many of whom are very compassionate, had made similar comments, out of frustration, not unlike the General. His frustration is probably because not only is he sustaining personal losses, he may feel powerless to stop them. If he really cares and is not just ignorant to the suffering of our troops, he should get engaged in solutions to the system problem that is plaguing every branch of our military. It could go either way; this could be his albatross, or his victory.

      May 25, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Reply
    • ac

      George,
      You call the General's comments flippant, and call for his removal, then proceed to make flippant comments yourself. You better be a tremendous individual to call this General despicable. I've worked for him for nearly two years and never even heard of someone who has met him, saying anything negative about him. He's simply a great American. Why don't you post your resume so we can be the judge of which of you has contributed more to this country. We already know you don't know the difference between noble and nobel ( Swedish engineer, manufacturer, and philanthropist). I'll bet you don't know what it means to sacrifice for your country, and I'll bet you wouldn't have the first clue how to inspire and lead thousands of men the way Major General Pittard has. It'd be noble for you to research this individual before you call him despicable and it would do wonders for your credibility if you knew what you were talking about before posting your comments.

      May 26, 2012 at 12:35 am | Reply
  85. DNA

    I think our soldiers give enough of themselves that they deserve to be selfish sometimes.

    May 25, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Reply
  86. Paul Guivens

    Suicide is THE selfish act as any parent, sibling or friend of a person who has taken his or het own life can attest. Saying it is simply the truth, and apparently our culture of "offend nobody" rears it's ugly and embarassing head.
    I lost my son to suicide and I know what it feels like and how angry I am and I know he is sorry for doing what he did.
    Get with it people, the truth is the truth and General Pittard spoke it. Stop trying to offend no one and deal with the issue.
    Oh, by the way, I am a Vietnam era vet and lost people to suicide too. it is a selfish, painful act that leaves us all wondering why.
    Thank you.

    May 25, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Reply
    • Jk

      You wonder why? Maybe if you payed a little more attention, you could have intervened and your son would still be alive. And that is the truth, so how about you get with it.

      May 25, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Reply
      • Loyal Veteran

        What a bold thing to say, especially knowing that you have NO IDEA what the person you're talking to tried to do. Suicide is a permanent solution to temporary problems. It hurts more people than it helps them.

        May 25, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • kathym

      I can't believe you lost a son to suicide and you are making these remarks. You must have no compassion for your child and what he was going through. You are the selfish one, your son was not. How do I know? I lost my son to suicide and I have never, ever considered him selfish. He fell in love and got his heart broken and was impulsive in his actions. The people that die by suicide are not thinking about hurting other people, more than likely, they think they are a burden. Most have unbearable emotional pain that they want to end, they don't see the light at the end of the tunnel. It is not an act they would have done if they were in their "right" mind.

      May 25, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Reply
    • Jk

      Yes Loyal Veteran, a bold thing to say. I have been very close to doing what his son did, even after seeking help. I can tell you that he just wanted to stop hurting. He just wanted to stop hurting. Let that sink in for a minute. He just wanted to stop hurting. You want to talk about selfish when you trivialize his pain? So you don't feel any? Ya, 'just suck it up Nancy' for the sake of everyone else...he just wanted to stop hurting.

      May 25, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Reply
  87. Loyal Veteran

    I see nothing wrong with these statements either. People out there, everyday, get their lives taken away from them, INVOLUNTARILY, by many different things. Why is it even okay for someone to say "I can't take this anymore" and take their lives. NOTHING in life is that bad. EVERYTHING can be fixed and turned around. It's so stupid to take your life and leave behind everyone else to clean up your mess, take care of the life that you couldn't handle. It only puts more burden on the lives that are around you. As a veteran who has lost friends to ieds, mortar rounds, AK47s and rpgs, I will NOT honor the life of someone who took it upon themselves to leave this life, regardless of what they've done to make their life commendable, because taking your own life is SELFISH. A Soldier taking their own life does not honor ANY of the Army Values, especially personal courage.

    May 25, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Reply
    • DNA

      Your criticism may be right ... or it may be wrong... but it doesn't help in the least.

      May 25, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Reply
    • Who did not care?

      LV,

      You say that a permanent solution to a temporary problem....

      Here's a question for you is a law permanent?

      May 25, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Reply
  88. J

    So according to the politicians everyone that thinks about suicide has "mental illness". wow!

    May 25, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Reply
  89. W0ofy

    I also understand how heartbreaking it has to be for him to investigate suicides, inform family members, etc. I see how he could be very frustrated and I do not fault him for caring.

    May 25, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Reply
    • Hmmm

      He's not the one investigating, nor informing family members. That is all done by other Soldiers and civilians.

      May 25, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Reply
  90. Mikey

    Actually in reading the article, and I wish they had posted the whole blog, it appears that the general was conflicted by the situation. Frustrated by the suicide, yet his concern for his troops. He might have been wrong in his approach, we all make mistakes, but I accept his apology . As a child I saw my mom almost committ suicide, and she spent a year in a military hospital. I went to live with relatives for 2 years. BTW, how many people here know the name of the theme song to MASH... It's "Suicide is Painless." give the general a little credit for understanding his mistake...

    May 25, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Reply
  91. Lizzy10

    While I thank the General for his service, I would remind him that suicide isn't done by people in their right minds. What we should be doing is reaching out to our service personal and helping them before they become so hopeless suicide seems the only way out. On this Memorial Day weekend, how about we stop blaming people for being unsettled by wartime service and start helping them? Thank you to all who are serving and who have served, you are appreciated by most, even if we don't say it enough.

    May 25, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Reply
    • Andrew

      Right so anyone who ever thinks life is stupid or painful is automatically insane... ? Give your head a shake lady. Just because you think life is all rosey and peachy does not mean that I have to agree with your idiotic opinion. People have the right to reject this world if they want to and they shouldn't need your god damn permission to do it.

      May 25, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Reply
      • Lizzy10

        Well, my dad tried to commit suicide 4 times and finally succeeded, so I kinda think I know what I'm talking about. Why? Because I lived it. People who are suicidal are hopeless, feel worthless. I don't think life's "peachy" I know it isn't. Why didn't I try to commit suicide if life isn't peachy? Because I lived the consequences of someone who did.

        May 25, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
      • TP

        Actually Lizzy, they are in their right minds. It's a calculated decision that the suffering of living far outweighs the joys, and burdens on others.

        May 25, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
      • Edwin

        TP: no they generally are not. A few, like the "death with dignity" people might have weighed the decision carefully, but the vast majority of suicides are committed by people who simply feel more pain than they can handle - usually emotional pain.

        May 25, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
      • Andrew

        Your opinion is biased because you assume that people have to agree with your view on life. Life has no value unless the person themselves values it. "And I declared that the dead, who had already died, are happier than the living, who are still alive. But better than both is the one who has never been born, who has not seen the evil that is done under the sun." (Eccles. 4:2-3) There its even in the bible, simpleton.

        May 26, 2012 at 1:35 am |
      • Andrew

        Your opinion is biased because you assume that people have to agree with your view on life. Life has no value unless the person themselves values it. "And I declared that the dead, who had already died, are happier than the living, who are still alive. But better than both is the one who has never been born, who has not seen the evil that is done under the sun." (Eccles. 4:2-3) There its even in the bible, simpleton. 1

        May 26, 2012 at 1:37 am |
    • Loyal Veteran

      There are more programs out there to get help for suicidal people than there are for cancer patients. Saying that the Army needs to focus on getting these people help, probably comes from someone who hasn't seen first hand all the safety stand down days and the quarterly suicide briefs, and R&R meetings, battalion formations from the chaplain and the pamphlet after pamphlet that you get bombarded with at Fort Hood. It's out there, but the Soldier needs to WANT to help themselves to "get better", it's out there more than you know.

      May 25, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Reply
      • Lizzy10

        There will be enough when service personal stop killing themselves, until then, not enough.

        May 25, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Edwin

      Lizzy: I am sorry for your loss and the pain you have had to experience.

      May 25, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Reply
  92. Steve

    You know what's selfish, General? A civilian populace that demands the military fight perpetual wars on they behalf, but won't even consider the idea of a draft. Screw them, and screw you, "Sir".

    May 25, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Reply
    • kim

      I hope you wear a uniform to make an insult like that. If you do, then you know the General follows orders and doesn't make decisions about things like a draft......

      May 25, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Reply
  93. W0ofy

    I do not agree with him, I think it was insensitive and disrespectful to the families of these members.

    I do respect his opinion, I just don't agree.

    May 25, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Reply
  94. Brad

    We should send Rep. Rooney to Afghanistan for a year. Criticizing a General while we are at war while your are getting paid by the taxpayers should be treason. Rep Rooney, you are a fat assed big pig trying to may hay our of a serious subject.

    May 25, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Reply
  95. whatstoseehere

    I love how ignorant people are on suicide. It's strange that people believe suicide is selfish, its hatred of the self. It's I can't take it any longer, it's the ultimate in hopelessness. Does that sound selfish, fun? Dead forever, whoo-hoo! True it leaves a negative impact on the loved ones left behind, but rarely is the act motivated by selfishness. And please no one wants to listen to other people with problems, so the ignorant notion of selfishness is really a reflection of their own selfishness and it's all about me thinking. Now, immature people commit suicide to get back at people, but most people are dealing with pain.

    May 25, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Reply
    • Edwin

      Most of the "suicide = selfish" people here somehow assume the victim is *choosing* to kill themselves. They have no understanding whatsoever that the person is reacting to pain and not thinking rationally. When a person is in extreme pain - in this case emotional pain - they behave on instinct. They do what is necessary to get away from the pain.

      Unfortunately, I doubt most of those posters actually care enough about the topic to try and understand it in any depth. And honestly, I hope they never have to.

      May 25, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Reply
  96. will

    i agree with michaeldw. why is it that political figures and high ranking officers are not allowed to have opinions about things especially after something so upsetting as attending a memorial service for a man who killed himself on christmas day so his children could find him. option of last resort? did this person even seek help? I would be frustrated too.

    May 25, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Reply
    • bobblehead

      do you think that someone who would do that to their children is in their right mind??? of course you don't, its not selfishness, it's a sickness, and not going to get treatment may be part of the sickness...

      May 25, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Reply
      • Critical Thinker

        Excellent point. For most people committing suicide, they are not able to think clearly. This irrationallity is caused by various reasons such as changes in medications, facing terminal illnesses, severe depression, and hopelessness, feelings of being an unbearable financial burden on family, post dramatic stress syndrome, other mental diseases etc. I believe cowardice is extremely low on the list as suicide reason.

        May 25, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • profart

      I think it excellent that the General, after voicing an opinion pervasive in our society, has now taken time to listen and learn about the issue and changed his opinion. He is, therefore, retracting his earlier statement. Learning is a wonderful thing.

      May 26, 2012 at 10:15 am | Reply
  97. Concerned Veteran

    I was an enlisted man in the service. Time and time again I saw examples like this. Puffed up senior officers who wore medals they did not actually win, strutting around like Napoleon and acting like spoiled children because no one would challenge them. Sadly, our services are full of tin soldiers like this. There are a lot of dang good officers and NCO's in our services, but there are also a lot of people like this dolt who are there because of luck or of riding a more senior officer's coat tails. This a$$ clown should be removed from his position and put in charge of something he can asctually handle, like paperclip inventory at the Pentagon. I'm sure he can talk his buddies into awarding him a medal for it. I do not accept his retraction. I do not accept his apology. If he was idiot enough to say it in the first place, then it is his true heart. The heart of a fool.

    May 25, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Reply
    • Charlie Brown

      I didn't see where the man apologized. He retracted his uncalled for remarks, but he did not apologize.

      May 25, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Reply
    • Jack

      Was in Iraq with (then) Col. Pittard as an enlisted soldier. You're wrong. He's a solid guy who made a stupid remark. I've worked with tons of senior officers and he always stuck out in my mind as one of the best.

      May 25, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Reply
    • Mike

      If you read the general's entire statement instead of just pull out one part, I don't think his thoughts are insulting to the men and women who serve under him, offensive to their families, or in any way untrue. In fact, I think he was being supportive and urging suffering people to get help.

      May 25, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Reply
      • Edwin

        Mike: they may not be insulting, but they easily could serve to further isolate those who already feel shame and depression and isolation.

        Don't think of it as "insensitive general got in trouble." Think of it as "general wrote a comment that had an undesired effect, so he altered it."

        May 25, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
  98. Josh

    I see nothing upsetting about that statement. It is absolutely true. Suicide is a selfish thing to do. If someone's in pain and decides to end their own life their pain may be over, but the burden is then transferred to the people around them.

    May 25, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Reply
    • Andrew

      Right so it's selfish to invest your own welfare in your own judgement, to decide you have had enough of this world and its bullshit and exiting... that is a crime because other people want to selfishly keep you around? That is disgusting. As far as I am concerned it is my RIGHT to kill myself in a humane way whenever I want for whatever reason. Who are you to tell me what to do with my body?

      May 25, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Reply
      • SciGuy

        Take a deep breath Andy. No one is telling you what to do. But if you take your own life, you are as selfish as they come.

        May 25, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
      • Nick

        SciGuy, please be selfish and kill yourself. Moron...

        May 25, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
      • SciGuy

        Nick, are you following me?

        May 25, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
      • Les

        Andrew:

        A person that commits suicide or tries to commit suicide is mentally incapable of making rational judgements about their own welfare. It is a mental illness caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Splattering your brains on the wall for your children to find on Xmas Day is the the act of a sane person on any level.

        May 26, 2012 at 12:16 am |
      • Andrew

        If we had legal assisted suicide that gruesome imagery you describe need not apply. Sadly people who make the personal decision to kill themselves usually have to resort to firearms because you people are insane and believe you can force people to live. None of us asked to be born into this insane world and we should be free to get the hell out of here anytime we please.

        May 26, 2012 at 1:33 am |
    • Edwin

      Josh: have you ever been so upset at something that you just reacted? Have you ever been so angry, so sad, so afraid, that you reacted rather than thought something through?

      If so, you are JUST as selfish as those who were so desperate and alone that they reacted. In your case, the reaction wasn't lethal. Try to educate yourself, and consider learning compassion - it will make you less selfish if you stop judging others by what they do when suffering.

      May 25, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Reply
  99. Who Cares

    Why is this news?

    May 25, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Reply
    • Ross

      Really? Why is it news? You are incorrigible to even ask that.

      May 25, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Reply
  100. michaeldw

    So people in power can't have opinions?

    May 25, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Reply
    • Jerad

      Not if they clash with the views of the reactionary masses.

      May 25, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Reply
    • Edwin

      Not if those opinions cause harm to the troops - in this case, the general's comments further isolate those who are depressed and potentially suicidal. Did you read the article? The general wrote as much in his retraction.

      You don't have to have a degree in psychology to understand how comments like these could end up making those who are desperate and alone feel even more desperate and alone.

      May 25, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Reply
    • Olivia

      He expressed an opinion and not just any opinion, but an opinion on the military - his chosen profession. That's very different from you or I having an opinion about enlisted men and women.

      May 26, 2012 at 12:20 am | Reply
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