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 (1,263 Responses)
  1. BigBluePatriot

    Why do Major Generals say such stupid things?

    George Patton, Pittard ain't.

    May 26, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Reply
    • Gatorpump

      Pattton would have displayed far less sensitivity

      May 26, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Reply
  2. Allison

    Take a class on how to help intervene and get people to help- instead of judge. http://www.livingworks.net/page/Applied%20Suicide%20Intervention%20Skills%20Training%20%28ASIST%29 You usually can get a free class through your county mental health department. Volunteer for a suicide crisis hotline.

    We all need to do something to help each other in these tough times.

    May 26, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Reply
  3. Balanced

    Let me first start of with, that I agree with his comment that suicide, in general, is a selfish act. You leave your friends and family left to pick up the pieces of a shattered life that the individual left behind. Father's without Sons... Daughters without Fathers... Brother without their Brother. It truly does cut deep into the survivors. I don't believe he intentionally meant to "slap" the faces of those left behind by his statement. It looks like a man who is really tired of seeing good people die in ways that should never have happened, especially since it was fully in the individuals control and choice. He even went on to say in the initial blog with "..."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...."

    I also see right here where many seem to forget. Depression, PTSD, and other forms of Mental Illness are REAL and they are an Illness/disease that needs REAL help to fight. It isn't something that takes a quick pill and boom, you are healed. We need people to be educated and know there IS help out there. Having several friends, and my own spouse, suffer from varying degrees of PTSD... I fully support them in their abilities or desires to seek help and guidance to fight it. I lend them a shoulder and an ear, or anything else they require or ask. It seems that many people who take their own life don't see that "light at the end of the tunnel". They feel and see only blackness around them. WE have to help those around us see that there is some hope... if THEY are strong enough to take that step forward. It takes a stronger person to walk out of that darkness then to let it consume them. I don't think we should coddle the truth and say it wasn't selfish... HOWEVER we also need to understand that we need to step up and make sure that people that ARE suffering and NEED help are shown and given the opportunity to receive that help. It is a sad day when any of us lose someone we care about in such a needless fashion... but for those that THINK about it, god knows that MANY of us probably have as some point in time (and some more than others), there IS help. Take those steps forward... walk into a clinic... talk to a pastor... talk to a friend... but take that step. Nothing in this world is too insurmountable.
    Again, my apologies to any I might have offended with my opinion and condolences to those that have felt the personal sting of lost loved ones!

    May 26, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Reply
    • john

      you are so very much the voice of the un-informed and inexperienced. speaking as someone who HAS suffered from mental stress and trauma AND who spent time in a "mental facility". i can tell you that it is the ultimate selfish and cowardly act of a weak minded individual. did i come to this conclusion due to "industrial brainwashing" while being treated? NO. i figured that out on my own after realizing how utterly selfish it would be to end it all and leave my two daughters, and all of my friends and family wondering "why did he leave us forever?"

      May 26, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Reply
      • Balanced

        @John: It seems that you are agreeing with my quote, this it is a selfish thing to commit suicide. And it seems that you were strong enough to take the steps forward and NOT do it through your own decisions and rationalization. I'm unsure exactly if you comments were supposed to be agreeable or insulting towards me with the "...voice of ..." comment.

        May 26, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
      • web060

        I'm sure you "figure everything out" on your own. Completely out of touch or caring about anyone else

        May 26, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
      • Kay

        Baloney, John. It's *you* who don't know what you're talking about. Frankly, I question your claims about your own alleged experience. "Suffered from stress and trauma"? "Mental facility"? You haven't a clue. Certainly not about severe depression. About suffering from abject despair and utter hopelessness. If you did, you sure as heck wouldn't casually dismiss suicides as being "weak minded individuals". Quite the contrary.

        May 26, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
  4. AgrippaMT

    This so called "general" should be immediately relieved of his command, reduced in rank and retired. He is obviously unfit to hold flag rank.

    May 26, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Reply
  5. Mark

    Oh dumb dumds "apology" "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." He has no brain and has to get his talking points and express sesitivity from the reaction to his uneducated statement. You claim to be worried about the families-yup just after you've called their dead family members selfish. What did this "general" show up brainless and was taught Army? He had no soul before and still. He sickens me.

    May 26, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Reply
  6. Grizz

    Suicide is not only selfish but it's the most cowardly act you can do. There's one thing everyone can do in this world and that's live and enjoy life. Some people can't even do that right. Truth is everyone's not created equal. (This has nothing to do with race either.) Some people are born weak. I'm so sick and tired of people immortalizing the nuts that commit suicide. This solider had two little kids he left behind. That's a weak and sad excuse of a human. There's people who have gotten all their limbs blown off and fighting to live a life. "I do mean fighting" This cowardly bastard chose to take his life for what??? Suicide can be explained other way than being a serious character flaw.

    May 26, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Reply
    • lowkey424

      Or it's a chemical imbalance in the brain, and people such as yourself and General Pittard stigmatize those feelings to the point where the afflicted won't seek help. Then, an issue which could've been treated by medication or behavioral therapy instead ends in suicide.

      May 26, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Reply
    • mdmann

      "Live and enjoy life?" As I have said to many other people, you don't understand depression. You don't seem to understand that a person suffering from clinical depression can't find joy even in things they love. Not because they choose not to, but because their brain won't allow them to. It causes severe insomnia, body aches, and a general inability to function. Depression is a medical condition which can not be treated by singing Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy" (God, that would make me commit the act).

      You can't "live and enjoy life" while sufferring from severe depression. Your comment has absolutely no merit, as it applies only to someone who is not clinically depressed. It has nothing to do with this story.

      May 26, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Reply
    • Kay

      Suicide is *NOT* an act of cowardice. Of selfishness. Rather, it is an act of desperation. Of utter hopelessness.
      The fact that *you* can't imagine feeling that desolate and hopeless doesn't mean a darned thing. After all, since when has what *you* feel become the standard by which all pain and suffering is determined?

      Indeed, it's people like *you* who make it so much harder for others to ask for help with all your talk of cowardice and selfishness and shame. Frankly, it's people like *you* who ought to be ashamed of yourselves.

      May 26, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Reply
    • Kimo

      Just out of curiosity, how many tours have you done?

      May 26, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Reply
  7. Mark

    "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." oh I missed dumb dumbs great sympathetic statement-war is a fools game and we keep proving it. I think this is a great reason for a draft, add some inteligence to the mix.

    May 26, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Reply
  8. Reasonably

    Never understand it. "I've been to the edge...stood there and looked down...you know I lost a lot of friends there, baby...got no time to mess around."

    May 26, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Reply
  9. Mark

    We just expect these people we have turned into killing machines to do just that. This 10 year police action (no war here) was never what these people signed up for so now we as a country have to deal with what we have done to these soldiers. Figure out how to help them. Shoot the general first and remove his backwater attitude. Where did he serve New Jersey. heartless tool. I doubt they were suicidal when they enlisted. And I doubt they were thinking this is the best thing to do. How much do we support them in the field? It shocks me that there is so much "this is selfish". The US is selfish expecting this kind of action to go on year after year with no personal consequenses. It could be money, stress, divorce, being away from home, watch a buddy get blown up-there are so many influenses that no body offering there opinion has any standing. You know what they say about opinions-they are like assholes, everybody has one and sometimes they stink. see all the heartless opinions above. And the general is focusing on how a soldier killed himself "christmas will never be the same" no it won't and you contributed to this lost chrismas with your army grown opinion. How many people did you kill in the war daddy?

    May 26, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Reply
    • Jeff

      Mark, First this General has probably served more than 30 years (in combat zones and outside of them). All thru that career, he has undoubtably had to deal with the after effects of people under is command and around him commiting suicide. Suicide is by definition an irrational act and dealing with it afterwords is a painful experience that I hope you can avoid – this general doesn't have that option. Having experienced people close to me commiting suicide, I can attest to the fact that the people left behind are severly affected and one of the first things that come to mind is anger – often toward the person that commited suicide. I think you should take it easy on the General, this hurts him more than you could imagine. That is unless you want the type of guy that doesn't let something like this affect him and I would suggest that type of guy would be the last guy any of us want to command our soldiers/sailors/airmen and marines.

      May 26, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Reply
      • Kay

        Why are you claiming that "this hurts him more than you could imagine"?? His own words said quite the opposite. He's "fed up" with soldiers who commit suicide? "Fed up" with them???

        Frankly, he sounded annoyed, not hurt.

        May 26, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  10. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Our brave military men and women are trained to protect and serve, which means sometimes they must kill which in most cases killing is something one has never experienced in their life and probably leaves a very haunting affect in their daily lives. I'm sure many have sought the best professional help but even the professionals can't always determine how the brain reacts. I had a brother, now deceased possibly due to agent orange , who served 2 tours in the Vietnma war and saw some of the same affects.

    May 26, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Reply
  11. stormy miller

    the general's statement and all of you that are saying negative things about military suicides are full of sh@#. don't give me this cowards way out crap or this man up bull. suicide is a terrible thing. the state of mind someone is in that contemplates suicide is like being in hell. the trauma our military soldiers go through both in training and then the horrors they witness, and then no support when they come home. we should have much sympathy and compassion for these hurting soldiers.

    May 26, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Reply
    • Mark

      great reply to idiodic statements. I feel sorry for anybody who truly believes this is their only option. You never know how people will react under similar conditions. Maybe they kill themselves out of fear of what will happen when they get stateside-treated like they are weak-we will replace a leg but mental support no way. Maybe the general would rather the soldier kill a bunch of US soldiers and then himself. The Army wants it all: kill anybody we want and go home. Has it ever happened like that?

      May 26, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Reply
  12. viaquest

    Suicide is by all definition cowardly, and selfish and i have no respect for anyone taking that way out , pity i do have, but not for the act , for what leads up too it. In most cases the person who commits suicide never asks for help, and very few people ever see it coming . These are things i learned after my Veteran Step-father shot himself in the head in front of my mother with no explaination or reason. What that did to my family was the most selfish and cowardly thing i have ever experianced. Thank goodness he chose to leave my mom here.

    May 26, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Reply
    • mdmann

      I would argue that your father was having serious depression, and your comments indicate that you do not understand depression. Depression is not sadness. Depression is not having a serious of bad days. Depression is not something out of which you can rationalize your way. A person suffering from depression doesn't just "ask for help." Depression can sneak up on a person like the proverbial "frog in a slowly heating skillet." At its worst point, the person is so debilitated by thoughts of inadequacy and hopelessness that "asking for help" isn't even an option for them. It is horrible that your mother had to go through that, but your father was the one having the problems which ultimately led to him feeling that death was the only respite. He was the one hurting.To not acknowledge that, and to call him selfish at the same time, seems cold and callous to me. Moreover, viewing him as selfish doesn't do ANYTHING to stop someone in the same position from committing suicide. So what is the point of having such a viewpoint if it doesn't lead to an improvement in the situation? It may make you feel better to see the issue that way, as you can then put a nice, succinct label on it, but it does no good to the person who is living with pain.

      I'd like to know how you think calling a suicidal person "selfish" will change anything for the better, if, in fact, that is what you believe. If you are just lashing out at these people in anger, then I guess that is your right, but I don't see the point.

      May 26, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Reply
      • Kay

        Making up your own definitions, are you? Suicide is *NOT* an act of cowardice. Of selfishness. Rather, it is an act of desperation. Of utter hopelessness.

        The fact that *you* can't imagine feeling that desolate and hopeless doesn't mean a darned thing. After all, since when have you become the standard by which someone else's pain and suffering is determined?

        Indeed, your callous, condemning attitude...and the stigma such attitudes creates...is one of the major reasons *why* far too many people suffering...and I *do* mean suffering...from depression don't ask for help. As a result, instead of your encouraging desperate people to seek help so that other families won't suffer the way you and your mom have...you demean and belittle the very people who need the help the most!

        Your anger isn't hurting your stepdad at all. But it sure is hurting you. And it sure isn't helping to protect other families from going through the same misery.

        May 26, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
      • Kay

        Sorry, mdmann...I meant to 'Reply' directly to viaquest's post, not yours ๐Ÿ™‚ Hit the wrong 'Reply' button. To *you* I say...very well said!!!

        May 26, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
      • mdmann

        No prob! ๐Ÿ™‚ It was obvious to whom you were responding.

        May 26, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
      • Grizz

        Suicide, is a cowardly as KAY. While depression is real and millions of people go through this every year only the cowards kill themselves. The act of suicide is cowarldy and there's no way around it.

        May 26, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
      • mdmann

        Yes, I see that the world is all black and white to you. No nuance to it whatsoever. That is indicative of a very small and limited mind. You need to be able to categorize things and put them in small shiny boxes for them to make sense to you. What you don't realize is that you have an exceedingly superficial understanding of the world, or no true understanding at all, when you refuse to look at issues in their true complexity.

        Go forth and put everything you encounter in a small shiny box.

        May 26, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Mark

      Maybe he was depressed. dumb-ass. was he offered help?

      May 26, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Reply
    • voodkokk

      If you think suicide is a cowardly act then you don't understand suicide.

      May 26, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Reply
    • Jacob

      I completely agree suicide is selfish. Suicide is an act, just because someone is 'depressed' or suffering, or has some other mental deficiency does not change the act. The majority of the time when someone commits suicide it's an act of selfishness, they are ending their suffering and pain at the expense of causing others suffering and pain. Yes, if you are Bruce Willis and you are intentionally allowing yourself to die in order to save the planet, or others are somehow benefitting from your death, than no those are not selfish acts.

      May 26, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Reply
      • mdmann

        WRONG! Most suicides are NOT committed in a way to make others feel guilty or to cause them pain and suffering. That is a lie. You don't know what you are talking about. All it would take is some small amount of research that doesn't involve you rattling around in the dusty, cobweb-infested corners of your mind to see that you are wrong.

        May 26, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • Mark

      What definition says it is cowardly-you think so, so what what you think. I have no idea what causes it-all I feel is sorry to make that choice and have no one to help get through it. Also to do it alone just to be found later. Then we all say "we should have done something". too late you f***ed up again-move a little sooner.

      May 26, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Reply
  13. J Jordan

    I have to agree with MG Pittard. I know our overly sensitive society won't let us state the truth, for fear that it makes people uncomfortable. But as a retired Army officer who has seen his share of soldier suicides, and whose youngest brother committed suicide when his marriage was failing, I completely agree with the General that suicide is indeed usually a "selfish act." Those that commit it are obviously hurting and feel there is no way out, but that doesn't mean that it isn't selfish. In the case of my brother and several other suicides I've seen, their suicides were designed to "get back" at those that hurt them, and the notes left behind often make it clear that they wanted certain people to feel guilty about what happened. In the case of my brother, it was his wife, who was divorcing him, and frankly I did not then, or now, blame her for seeking the divorce since he had been very difficult to live with for some time, and wasn't willing, or able, to seek the help he so desperately needed. So he took the coward's way out, as too many people do. Please understand, we all loved my brother, and sought to help him as much as possible, but what he did was definitely a "selfish act" which was taken to hurt others, and to make things easier for himself. This may seem harsh, but in my opinion the problem in our society is that most people see themselves as victims and very rarely, if ever, are we willing to take the blame when we are wrong, and Lord knows most of us can't handle the truth. We just can't, as a society, call it like it is – we don't have the intestinal fortitude to do so. MG Pittard did so, to society's discomfort, and he is paying the price – but he was right on target.

    May 26, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Reply
    • Sirned

      I am so sorry for your loss. You say he took the easy way out and wanted to hurt others. Isn't just chalking it up to a simple selfish act also taking the easy way out on your part too? I find that most people I know with problems have hundreds of issues going on. It's hard to know what mix of problems ends up in a completed suicide....Just saying

      May 26, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Reply
    • One definition does not fit them all..

      People have many reasons, broadly painting all soliders with the same brush is just irresponsible. Addressing your personal experiences can be helpful and benefit others with similar experiences. I find it troubling that our society creates me vs them issues which isolate us from connecting and coming up with better solutions. In each of us is a million reasons not to connect with others (or disagree) belief vs non belief, my skin tone vs your skin tone, my politics vs your politics... why would we do this with people needing help? Selfish vs not selfish? Broad judgements not necessary... personal experiences and the discernment which can rise from them can help open dialogues and lead us to finding ways to help those from a multitude of angles.

      May 26, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Reply
    • mdmann

      You are taking one experience–that of this family member who committed suicide to get back at his wife for divorcing him–and making SWEEPING GENERALIZATIONS about EVERYONE who commits suicide. That is WRONG. Most suicides are not accompanied by some note that puts blame on someone to make them feel guilty. You don't know what you are talking about, just as this general didn't know what he was talking about. Had he just gone and talked to some professionals in this area, he would have realized that calling these people selfish is about as foolish as one can be if the intent is to help them.

      May 26, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Reply
      • Jacob

        @mdmann,

        Feel free to post the sources you referenced to become the expert and I'll go ahead and give them a read and see if my opinion changes. And in reply to your other comment about people thinking they are releaving others of a burden... That's my whole point of spreading the fact that it is selfish and not being so sensitive about it. We need people to realize that as much as they think they are helping some situation that indeed they ARE NOT, and that by popular consensus they are being selfish and should instead pursue help.

        Also, I hope you don't think name calling and taking on a condescending tone makes your case more appealing because it actually does the opposite.

        May 26, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  14. GySgtG

    Suicide is a cowards way out. life is tough, suicide weeds out the weak

    May 26, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Reply
    • glorydays

      judge not....

      May 26, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Reply
    • mdmann

      And blogs expose the stupid, as your post proves.

      May 26, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Reply
  15. Will

    I wish General S. Patton was still around...... I think he would say something a lot most harsh.

    May 26, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Reply
    • gingerpeach

      I was just thinking the same thing. He would just come unglued, seeing the way things are today.

      May 26, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Reply
      • mdmann

        Yeah, and in the course of him "coming unglued," everyone would see what a messed up individual he was, and we would stop glorifying him.

        A general isn't supposed to "come unglued." That's exactly the problem here. This general let his "frustrations" get the better of him, and he made stupid comments which did more harm than the good he supposedly wanted to do.

        I'm starting to sense that there is a GENERAL problem of GENERALS becoming "unglued." Perhaps that's a reflection on the military?

        May 26, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  16. Kyle Rourke

    Many Americans wil never know what it is like to defend America. I never faught in the wars but I was in the Artillery, a combat job. Even in peace time suicide is a problem. Combat jobs a very dangerous and there is zero tolerance for mistake because mistakes will get you killed or you may kill a fellow troop. It is not a world for sensitive people because when you make a mistake you will be punished, yelled at, and humiliated publically. Some people can't handle that and they withdraw and start thinking about taking their own life. that is just in peace time, In war, your best friends die in your arms, you question decisions that get people killed, you kill civilians on accident or out of anger.
    So unless you went through that shut the hell up about suicide being a selfish act. Those of you how have been through all of it, and still call it selfish are the same type of bullies and callous people that in my mind are ruining this country. Your type just want to find some group to judge and pick on. I will be opposing you judgemental thoughtless types till i die.

    May 26, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Reply
    • Kay

      Thank you.

      May 26, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Reply
    • Sirned

      Thank you ....

      May 26, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Reply
    • Jacob

      I'm in afghanistan right now fighting in the war. Shit happens every day. I still say suicide is a selfish act and a coward's way out. DO NOT volunteer for the service if you DO NOT think or ARE NOT confident you can handle the mental pressures. Yes, even if you are confident you can handle the pressures, there will still be some who have seen enough and still decide to end it themselves. Although I would not agree with their decision I'd at least honor what they did while alive. But to sum it up, EVERYONE has problems be it friends' dying, finding out you have a terminal disease, someone cheated on you, or god knows what... point is unless you are Bruce Willis sacrificing yourself to save the planet than suicide is a selfish act. I wish the General had stuck to his guns and didn't retract his statement. People need to stop being so PC all the time. It's because of this PCness that people too sensitive for certain positions are still able to get in them.

      May 26, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Reply
      • mdmann

        I'm sorry, but were you made aware of the mental pressures before enlisting? Are you telling us that military recruiters provide potential recruits with a completely accurate picture of what military life will be like?

        You honestly think we are stupid enough to believe that?

        I work with an ex-military recruiter and he tells me all sorts of stories about the things he said to young people to get the to enlist. Recruiters glamorize the military to entice people to join. So, how is a person supposed to OBJECTIVELY determine whether or not they will be able to handle the mental pressures of the military if they aren't even told what those are?

        You know, I thank you for serving, but it sounds to me as if you're not thinking too clearly. Just remember, you are STILL serving. You don't know what is going to happen when you STOP serving...when you have to re-integrate into civilian society. I hope you are as strong as you seem to think you are. If not, then I hope someone in your sphere of influence cares more about you than you seem to care about your fellow soldiers and is willing to step up and give you help–even when you might not realize you need it.

        Very, very sad state of affairs.

        May 26, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
      • gingerpeach

        Thank You, Jacob. God Bless you and keep you safe. Life is tough all over and war is hell. The trouble is people have grown to soft it takes back bone to keep the US strong.

        May 26, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
      • Jacob

        Sorry, but yes I was well aware of the mental pressures because unlike others I take responsibility for myself. I did my homework, I have tried to learn from other peoples' experiece as much as possible. I knew about IEDs, I knew the afghanis' mindset. I still made my own decision because I still wanted to serve my country.

        Do not tell me I'm not thinking clearly. I think very clear thank you. Coming out here was not a decision I made on the fly, and my opinion on suicide is not one I developed upon reading this article. Both have been things I've thought about for some time. I have a Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering, a minor in math, and I'm two classes shy of a Master's in Telecommunications Engineering. I have enough education and money to where I did not come out here as some last resort or was coerced into it. I also have a solid medical/mental health history. As much as I wish I could say I came out here just so I could respond to people such as yourself saying "I've been there blah blah and I still disagree" I can't, the reason I did is to serve my country.

        May 26, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  17. chris

    I have a Ph.D. in clincial psychology and as a psychologist I specialize in anxiety disorders and depression. PTSD is an anxiety disorder and therefore I have a lot of experience with those with this diagnosis. People often want to explain suicide as a selfish and attention-seeking act. However, the reality it that it is behavior that people engage in to escape pain they find unbearable and which they believe there is no hope in relieving. Many people who have loved ones who committed suicide experience a range of emotions, such as anger. The anger is often rooted in the belief that the person acted selfishly because it is the loved ones who are left to pick up the pieces. I understand that anger, which is rooted in pain and grief, and I believe the general may have expressed his emotions and grief in a way that he did not realize hurts others. However, he is not alone in these feelings. I see many posts here that lack an understanding and sensitivity about suicide. Before you judge someone else's actions as weak, selfish, attention-seeking, whatever, do not fall into the illusion that you are above contemplating such an act. Given the right (or wrong) circumstances you could find yourself in the same place. Unfortunately, the military has not always been sensitive to mental health issues among its members. I worked closely with a psychologist who was on staff at Walter Reed and you would be shocked at some of the stories. However, that is not to generalize to every such situation in the military. I have heard of the military doing extraordinary things to help those suffering from mental illness. On this Memorial Day, I urge you to cast aside your predetermined judgments and realize not all war casualties happen on the battlefield, they happen at home with soldiers who can't escape the pain of seeing so much death and destruction. They can't escape the traumas they witnessed and the sheer terror they experience everytime something reminds them of war, such as something as simple as fireworks or a certain smell or visual. To all the soldiers who might read this post and who are struggling with emotional pain, there is help out there, suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. You can heal and live a good life. Please seek help.

    May 26, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Reply
    • Sirned

      Thank you

      May 26, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Reply
    • Patricia

      Eloquently done. You expressed the glowing truth that given the right or wrong circumstances, it could be any one of us, therefore judgement is uninformed. I hope everyone reads your comment.

      May 26, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Reply
    • D

      Well, it takes some time to realize that although people committing suicide are probably not thinking of the effect on others, they are in so much pain that they are incapable of seeing the effect. It would seem an act of utter desperation no matter what.

      May 26, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Reply
    • Jacob

      So I understand certain outside stimuli may trigger chemical reactions in the brain and cause/correlate to certain emotional behaviors, some which may lead to suicidal tendancies, but that does not mean we as a people should stop being so harsh about suicide. We should not 'ease up' on those thinking about suicide, we need to let them and everyone know that suicide is not a good thing and should be frowned upon. Yes, I say we need to be careful how we badmouth it as we do not want to scare someone out of seeking help because they are embarrassed about bringing it up, but we need to let them know that it is not an OK thing to do. They need help be it psychotherapy or drugs. Despite that though, the bottom line is suicide IS a selfish act. Do not sugar coat it. Those that kill themself have had enough of whatever it is they are dealing with to the point they would rather not be alive than deal with it. They let their own pains outweigh the feelings of others. That is suicide. They let other people that care about them suffer in turn to no longer suffer. Just because we want people to be able to come forward when they are having troubling thoughts and suffering doesn't mean we need to sugar coat what suicide really is. It's an AWFUL thing, and in some fashion a form of murder.

      May 26, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Reply
      • chris

        I agree with a lot of what your saying, except your insistence on not sugar coating it. I really do not know what you are referring to when you say that. I am telling it how it is, whether that sounds like sugar coating or not I really do not know. You are entitled to interpret suicide in any way you want. You are entitled to your opinions, but that does not necessarily make you or your opinions correct. I am not insisting that I have all the answers either, but I do know that the more you try to be tough with the act of suicide, the more likely you are to be judgmental and push people away who need it most. I understand why people see it as selfish, even as murder, however I disagree with that view. I am very familiar with all the research on this issue and the perception of selfishness is held by those who did not commit suicide, but perhaps by the loved ones of those who committed suicide or society as a whole. However, the perception of selfishness really does nothing to solve the problem, so I rather be part of the solution than part of the problem.

        May 29, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  18. Steve

    Military suicide is a selfish act brought on by the warmongers. The uniform doesn't change you into a war machine.
    For some suicide seems like the only way out of hell.

    May 26, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Reply
  19. Desrtrat6

    While I agree suicide is a selfish act, I also believe it is, in cases where the individual is trying to deal with PTSD from combat, a last resort. However, those who commit suicide for other reasons, well, I have no sympathy for them. I had two friends in the military who took their own lives over women. One of them, ironically from Ft. Bliss, even went so far as to kill his wife and kids then himself. Just sick.

    May 26, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Reply
    • Kay

      Oh, for crying out loud. Mentally stable people don't kill themselves over women...or over war experiences.

      May 26, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Reply
      • Mark

        Mentally stable people don't murder, period, whether themselves or someone else.

        May 26, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • D

      Could you be any more illogical? People can become desperate for all sorts of reasons, and what would affect one, might not affect another.

      May 26, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Reply
    • D

      It is terrible when people take others out first though.

      May 26, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Reply
  20. Ken

    In a moment of selfishness, one might find suicide selfish. Asking someone to live a life so painful they want to die, is selfish. To commit suicide is surely 'wrong', but to react with anger and blame a person who just lost all hope of life being worth living is not only selfish, but is also the kind of angry self centered moral indignation that may have prevented the person reaching out in the first place.

    You have a huge problem? Well damn you why don't you ____? Why cant you ____? etc etc. People that are narcissists, just can't comprehend that sometimes its not about them or there experiences. If they can't relate to it, if they can't conceptualize the problem well enough to come up with a solution, they insist the problem is different, something they can understand. Like suicide isn't a lack of hope, a horrible place where one see's no light and no path out. Its just selfish, they quit on me those bastards. Yeah right, maybe they were actually escaping your ridiculous use of anger to deflect any incoming emotions.

    May 26, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Reply
    • D

      The worst part about it, is that they are not capable of asking for help. Many times loved ones don't even know how bad it is for the person.

      May 26, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Reply
  21. Kyle Rourke

    I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO BRING ATTENTION TO THIS FOR ALMOST 2 YEARS. THE VETERANS ADMINSTRATION IS OUT OF TOUCH WITH THE PROBELM. THEY ARE NOT TRAINED PROPERLY TO UNDERSTAND MILITARY AND COMBAT ISSUES. I MY EXPERIENCE IS THAT THEY ONLY USE A HAMMER(MEDICAGTIONS) AND MIS DIAGNOSE VETERANS. THE DOCTORS DO NOT WANT TO LISTEN TO VETERANS IF THEY DIAGREE WITH DOCTORS DIAGNOSIS. MUST BE A MONEY ISSUE OVER HOW MANY PTSD DIAGNOSIS. IT IS REALLY INSANE WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT. THESE DOCTORS ARE THE PROFESSIONALS NOT US VETERANS. IF YOU GIVE SOMEONE THE WRONG DIAGNOSIS THEN THEY WILL NOT GET THE RIGHT TREATMENT FOR THEIR PROBLEM. THE DOCTORS AND THE POLITICIANS MAY FEEL GOOD BECAUSE THEY ARE DOING "SOMETHING" TO KEEP THE PUBLIC OF THERE BACK. IF A VETERAN OR TROOPER GETS THE WRONG TREATMENT, THEY WILL GET WORSE AND MANY WILL KEEP KILLING THEMSELVELS. THIS IS WHAT REALLY PISSES ME OFF. MANY OF US WERE WILLING TO DIE FOR AMEIRCA IF NEED BE OR WE WOULD HAVE STAYED CIVILIANS. MANY AMERICANS ARE JUST IGNORING THIS. THE MILITARY AND VETERANS DESERVE BETTER.

    May 26, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Reply
    • Kay

      People have been working hard to bring attention to this issue for far longer than 'almost 2 years'. People have also been working hard for decades to help people/other people with mental illness learn to self-advocate...and to learn that medication is not the only answer. (Check out the CRO movement, for example.)

      But please don't assume that the mental health prolems you and your fellow soldiers are going through are unique to military and combat issues. They aren't. Not even close.

      I'm not saying that veteran peer-to-peer support groups aren't enormously valuable. Not at all! After all, for many people, the idea of "they know what I'm going through" is limited to people who have gone through similar life experiences, NOT just the same horrible symptoms and reactions. And that's perfectly understandable.

      But don't confuse peer-to-peer support with medical/psychiatric treatment. They are not the same thing. I mean, if you had a brain tumor, would you require your brain surgeon to have had a brain tumor himself? Of course not.

      The VA has had a LOT of problems, and I applaud all the efforts...including yours...to help change things. They seem to be starting to have an effect. But please don't over-generalize and over-assume about what needs to be done. Good luck!

      May 26, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Reply
    • Mark

      I couldn't disagree more. The VA hospital here in Memphis have been outstanding in every respect. I suffer from PTSD and the treatment/counseling has been nothing short of excellent.

      May 26, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Reply
    • Les

      If the VA can misdiagnose my buddy's cancer as "arthritis" for 5 years (until a civilian doctor found that it had developed into end stage cancer) there is absolutely no reason to think that the VA has any more expertise in dealing with psychological issues. The entire VA Hospital system needs to be scrapped and turned over to regular civilian hospitals. They do little or no good for any of veterans and contribute misdiagnosis and ineffective treatments to those that seek their help.

      May 26, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Reply
  22. Really?

    Of course suicide is a selfish act. So what? That has nothing to do with this story. The issue is that this jerk is more worried about his posts statistics than his own sodlers. Recall the recent Pentagon report on suicide. Its a command problem and he isnt doing enough to help his soldiers with psyhcological wounds. They are as real as the phsycal ones and his lack of sensitivity wont change that. This guy is no rennaisance man. He simply cares only about his next promotion. Well, sorry pal but your review board will only reccommend that you be 'hoist with one's own Pittard.

    May 26, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Reply
    • Bob

      You don't know what you're talking about...but enjoy that freedom of speech others purchased for you. I served with Dana Pittard for many years, and he is a man of honor who loves soldiers. As a general officer now, he has to contend with the idiotic politics of the civilians we serve, and so he has done his best to answer the mail on this. Suicide is the ultimate act of self-absorption, and a horrible thing to inflict on others.

      May 26, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Reply
      • Religion

        Give me a break. The military didn't purchase freedom of speech for any of us. The US military is part of a war machine designed to enrich those involved. You are a sucker if you believe otherwise.

        May 26, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
      • BigBob

        Another judgmental halfwit inflicts his uninformed opinion on others. You clearly haven't the slightest idea what drives people to suicide, or the anguish they suffer - but are instantly ready to judge them and impose sentence. Shove it, pinhead.

        May 26, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  23. maggie112

    PDSD is more wide spread then anyone can imagine,children and young adults,are the most over looked and down right forgotten.being in the military is not the only suicide that we should be worried about,and the care they aren't getting.it only gos to show, all people do is talk,and let this action continue.

    May 26, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Reply
  24. Kit

    Pittard was an idiot when I knew him in Iraq, and he is an even bigger fool now. One of those in the flag ranks who should never have been promoted beyond the Lieutenant Colonel level of responsibility. Token promotions.

    May 26, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Reply
    • Samuel Burnside

      After 30 years of serivce. I can tell you this. That about only 50% of flag rank should have been promoted.
      I have seen Junior Officer do thing that would have gotten junior enlisted discharged and to later see these clown as Flag Officers. And the problem with that is that these same Flag Officer continued at the Mid Grade level to show signs of stupidity. Hang around long enough and you will get promoted. You are right on the head with your comments. And now how his senior that force him to pull that downsince Jan ?

      May 26, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Reply
    • D

      So what is the name for it when an incompetent white person gets promoted beyond their capabilities? Oh, I remember now. It's called privilege.

      May 26, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Reply
    • Barry

      "Token promotions"... Of course, I knew I wouldn't have to wait too long for the racist comments.

      May 26, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Reply
  25. Mike

    Having experienced two members of my unit committing suicide, it is selfish. I commend the general for not sugar coating it. It is nice to see someone stand up and say what needs to be said.

    May 26, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Reply
  26. annelee

    http://www.Hear-The-Truth.com

    May 26, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Reply
  27. fChris

    Uuuugh ......... what are you people talking about? Suicide IS AN ABSOLUTELY SELFISH ACT.
    Havent you had any experience of a loved one committing suicide? Criticise this guy AFTER you have.
    You will find that it's an ABSOLUTELY SELFISH ACT.

    Not saying they dont get all messed up in the head and Im not even saying I blame them after a war that I cant imagine.
    But stop being such a politically-correct bunch of pansies. The guy is saying it how it is and he has a right to his feelings. In the context of the army, they are his men

    May 26, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Reply
    • Jonathan

      @fChris Sounds like someone is bitter. You have no understanding of the feelings behind suicide.

      May 26, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Reply
    • Sirned

      I'm sorry you still hold such angry feelings. Anger is part of many peoples grieving process. My experience with a loved ones suicide left me with a different emotion every ten minutes for almost a year. From anger to having conversations with the dead. Crazy thoughts but hey it helped me get through the day. The situation my family had was that our loved one that committed suicide was the most unselfish person we knew. He was strong, loving and just plain decent. Sometimes depression is hard to see even for the ones closest to them. Was he selfish ? I don't know. Am I selfish ? Does it matter what word is used to explain it? What does upset me though is to insult and denigrate the memory of a parent with insults. Children are hearing you and hurting because of careless words....

      May 26, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Reply
      • Jerry

        @Sirned. Couldn't have said it better myself. Lost my father and one of my best friends to suicide over the years. Both exceptionally wonderful and unselfish people. Both struggled with deep, devastating depression for many years before finally having enough dark days and calling it a night. Like so many people in this day and age @fChris is too quick to judgment and wants the world to be black and white (his black and his white as well). Don't judge another man until you walk in his shoes. I take offense to calling suicides selfish and those who sympathize "pansies." @fChris, my dad was a Marine in WWII, fighting for your right to be able to say such stupid things because you have the freedom of speech.

        May 26, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Jacob

      Chris, couldn't have put it better myself, though I've been trying! Suicide is completely a selfish act. They put an end to their suffering and pain in a way that causes others suffering and pain. Doesn't matter what caused them to do it, suicide is an act and that act is inherently selfish (unless you're somehow saving other peoples' lives, or are a samurai).

      May 26, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Reply
      • mdmann

        By these arguments, someone who is diagnosed with a terminal disease and chooses not to try to fight it is selfish. in fact, that is an even WORSE case because the person may have all of their mental faculties. The seriously depressed person who might be contemplating suicide most certainly DOES NOT, yet you two brainiacs expect them to not only be able to mentally process the potential effects of their death on everyone else, but "pull themselves up by their own bootstraps" and fix their problems.

        Did it ever occur to you that the suicidal person may be committing suicide because they think they are a BURDEN on the people around them?

        You two DON'T UNDERSTAND DEPRESSION. I know you can't process this, but I don't know how else to say it. You are making comments about something you can't grasp, and your comments are totally ludicrous.

        May 26, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  28. jimmy

    i'll tell you what is selfish: politicians sending our troops to fight and die for purely political reasons in far-away wars that have nothing to do with our own security. look at someone like john mccain...every time there is a new uprising in the arab world he wants to send in the troops. those are real human beings, someone's sons and daughters, not fricking pawns on a chessboard!

    May 26, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Reply
    • Kyle Rourke

      Those people being killed are human being not just Arabs. That is our problem here in America, we are very selfish and judgemental. We don't understand the gobal world. As long as we want our material possesions troops will die. If a dictator is funding terrorism against innocent Americans our military will be sent. Most americans just don't get this war only the little talking points that suit our beliefs.

      May 26, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Reply
  29. m french

    I think there are suicides that are definitely done with selfishness, where the victim is purposely trying to get back at someone publicly, make them pay for something and make it partly their fault. The ones where they kill themselves and take innocent people with them are the worst examples. Other times the victim can simply no longer endure a mental pain and it seems like the only escape. They don't wish to be dead, they just don't want to be alive anymore. That kind of thing is impossible to relate to unless you could switch brains with them.

    May 26, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Reply
  30. Ed Sr of Dallas Tx

    This "so called" General would not make a good PFC! He ought to bury his head in shame! Those men under stress who commit suicide have put their lives on the line for us good Americans and for morons like the General!

    May 26, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Reply
    • solidd59

      This moron general, as you called him, didn't become a General overnight! Guess what, he's experienced everything these troops are going thru. You're mistaking him for a politician. As the Sgt. said, he believes, and I concur, that the General spoke out of frustration. He has since retracted and apologize for his comment. That is the sign of a true leader. He realized his mistake, so he apologized. Unless some politicians who looks at apologizing as a sign of weakness. Don't you dare insult our soldiers by lumping them with politicians!!!

      May 26, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Reply
      • Quick E Mart Clerk

        That's unfortunate that the general retracted his statement because I don't think what he originally said was insensitive and thoughtless. Suicide is a selfish act. The general addressed that in a cogent and thoughtful way.

        May 26, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
      • Martin

        Don't kid yourself. Anyone who rises to the rank of general is a politician, only he's playing in a different arena. The remarks on his blog caused him problems, so now he's doing an about-face that just oozes sincerity, oh year. Sound familiar?

        May 26, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  31. LadyOcean

    Then I suggest Maj. Gen. Pittard be the catalyst in getting some good solid psychological support for servicemembers who have been in combat situations, instead of posting drivel on his blog. That's weak!

    May 26, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Reply
  32. Ed Sr of Dallas Tx

    I was stationed at Fort Bliss....this man has a ZIT on the tip of his nose I would love to punch!

    May 26, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Reply
    • D

      Please enumerate all of your physical flaws now.

      May 26, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Reply
  33. Isabel

    Root cause : Stop the killing.

    May 26, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Reply
    • Dennis

      Then give that same message to Al-Qaeda and the Talban while you're at it,okay?

      May 26, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Reply
  34. Ms. Jordan

    I have read what little of the post they put in the article & it is clear that the Gen is frustrated. It has to be very overwhelming to inform a soldiers family that yes your loved one survived battle but they then commited suicide. It also has to be overwhelming to be leaving one service for a soldier who committed suicide only to be informed that there is another who just did the same thing. So while he is a high ranking military official he isnt allowed to express a little emotion? He is still a human & yes things like this affect you as a human. I would think you would question a person who doesnt show emotion in situations as this. To some who have to live/cope after a loved ones suicide it doesnt seem rather selfish on the behalf of the one who took the life. Perhaps yes, there was something they were going through that they felt no one would understand. But for those left behind a feeling of selfishness is left in the air. So before everyone starts to judge this man for having an emotion. Try & sit where he is & perhaps see what he has seen. You might just see how the word "selfish" can come into play.

    May 26, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Reply
    • glorydays

      I guess we need more of the "brave and unselfish" folks voting us into these senseless wars serving tour after tour. I'm sure they'd handle the stress so much better....

      May 26, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Reply
    • Religion

      So he is frustrated at this, but not at being part of an organization that kills tens of thousands, including children, in dubious conflicts all over the globe? Sounds like he only get frustrated when he confronted by it face to face.

      May 26, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Reply
    • Sirned

      It's one thing to be Frusterated and say those words impulsively out of frustration. But it is unacceptable to post them . Posting those comments clearly shows he has no understanding of just how sensitive and complicated an issue he is dealing with...Hopefully he will chose his words more carefully next time and seek guidance with how to help his soldiers in the future...

      May 26, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Reply
    • Bob in Ohio

      No, it is just the Army way. If you cannot fix the problem, fix the blame. And that is the reason we have so many extra generals and E-9s.

      May 26, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Reply
  35. Saywhatyoumean

    Wow, someone honest enough to admit that they meant what they said at the time instead of hiding behind the old "It's not what I meant" statement. This guy would not make a good politician being so forthcoming.

    May 26, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Reply
    • D

      I did like the apology phrasing, and it did seem like the original comments came from a place of caring and emotion, although they were not worded well. Seems like he is an honest man.

      May 26, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Reply
  36. Isabel

    Maybe if we stopped killing each other the suicides would end. DUH....

    May 26, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Reply
  37. Freddo

    Maj. Gen. Dana Pittard is a good example of how disconnected people can be from the pain others are experiencing.

    His judments are harsh, and unjustified. Unfortunately, they're also consistent with the old-school view of emotional pain and suffering held by not only the military, but by many in the general public.

    May 26, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Reply
  38. Death's hand

    It is not considered fashionable to speak ill of the dead. General, you spent you life learning how to kill; but you do not consider such a despicable profession. It is good to lose attachments to morals, inhibitions and ethics and revile in the defeat of enemies with egotisms. However, General, when did your own troops become the enemy?

    May 26, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Reply
  39. Garry Earles., LICSW

    Hello,

    As a clinical social worker and an active member of the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention (http://www.masspreventssuicide.org/), it's important to know that suicide is still very much an "in the closet" mental health issue. The National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) has a Men & Depression public awareness campaign (NIH Publication No. 03-5300 of March 2003) that addresses this critical mental health condition, overwhelmingly a precursor to suicide. See: http://wwwapps.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/real-men-real-depression.pdf for a PDF version of the brochure. The brochure can be downloaded, printed out and distributed on any military base, something I highly recommend. I believe it is also available in a Spanish language version. (I assume the Armed Forces have ready access to this publication).

    There have been previous comments re: Trauma. References there would be: the work of Bessel van der Kolk, M.D. (http://www.traumacenter.org/) and a book on stress by Robert Sapolsky, Ph.D. entitled Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers.

    Finally, in order to understand the dynamics of suicide, I highly recommend the work of Thomas Joiner, Ph.D. , especially his book: Why People Die By Suicide.

    I trust these references prove beneficial.

    All of us, clinicians and laypersons alike need to be on board with this issue. Get the brochure and pass it around, help people get help and even join prevention coalitions. My thoughts are with those service members and others who have suffered through the tragedy of suicide. Thank you.

    May 26, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Reply
    • NoAdvertisingPlease

      Thanks for posting your feeble attempt at advertising. You could have stated your opinion without, at the same time, hawking a book. It shows you care more about money than people with serious problems.

      May 26, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Reply
      • Garry Earles, LICSW

        Hi,

        Please note that all the references I mentioned had nothing to do with me. They are respected sources of information. Perhaps you'd like to read them. They are readily available through public libraries at no cost. Thanks.

        May 26, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Thank you

      I think it's pretty clear by the resources you listed that you are not recommending them based on making any profit off any of them. Offering resources to aid those in distress or their family members or friends isn't advertising.

      May 26, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Reply
      • Thank you

        btw... most should be able to access a public library for and older book like this one. No purchase required.

        May 26, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
      • Garry Earles, LICSW

        Hi,
        I did not see your post prior to making a response. I appreciate your support. Such uninformed responses will hopefully not distract any o us from the issues at hand.

        May 26, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  40. AaronT3

    As a veteran I agree with the General it is a selfish act,. knowing that is why I've not done it. no matter how bad things get are seem, you have to believe you mean more to your family than circumstances may seem. If you are depressed, find someone to talk to but never give up. For service members who've given so much for your country, be vigilant by giving TIME to yourself. Believe me I know how bleak things can seem, but I also it can all wash away with one concerned comment, one look into that special family members eyes, or just the laugh of a child. Knowing you were there to make that comment, you are the family member that has the eyes of understanding and comfort, and you are the one to make the child laugh. Don't take that away...

    May 26, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Reply
    • jayswon

      perhaps you should publish a book or a webpage with these ideas so suicides can be eliminated.

      it would, at least, save alot of money being wasted on psychologists and psychiatrists.

      May 26, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Reply
      • Isabel

        Maybe we should stop going to war, that would save a lot of resources.

        May 26, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  41. jayswon

    it's important to remember this:

    although people in the military may be well "trained," they are, typically, "poorly educated."

    May 26, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Reply
    • Alan S

      Jayswon: I take issue with your statement that military personnel are generally poorly educated. I was in the Army for 24 years, the first few as an enlisted infantryman, then 20 years as an officer. During Viet Nam, when there was a draft, your comment would have been true. No longer. If you compare Army or Marine Corps personnel to a cross-section of the civilian population in similar occupations (no civilian job is really similar to combat arms - but try to compare the best you can), you'll see the soldier or Marine is at least as well educated as his civilian counterpart. And, although I have no data at hand to support what I'm about to write, I suspect that the Air Force and Navy, because they are more technological, are probably even more educated than the ground force components.

      May 26, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Reply
      • jayswon

        10 years in the navy: an air force brat, a navy mustang (in as an E3 out as an O3), nuc subs, destroyers and aviation.

        i stand by my statement.

        May 26, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • educatedsailor

      That is a pretty wild and ignorant statement to throw out there. I serve with a large amount of well educated and intelligent soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. Even in the enlisted ranks you would be surprised by how many of us have degrees or at least some college. The notion of the military being by and large a force of dumb grunts is dated.

      May 26, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Reply
    • A military Guy

      Contrary to that statement most of us are very well educated. Its just a fact that in any organization you will have people who go a little rogue at times. The Generals statements do not reflect all of our (US Armed Forces) core beliefs and values. How about you get off yourself and visit a US Military base and talk with some of the troops? They may set you into next year (in your brain) once you realize how brilliant they are... I double dog dare you to actually do it!!!

      May 26, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Reply
    • Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

      Yep, you can well-train dogs too!

      Education does not equal wisdom!

      May 26, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Reply
    • Air Force Lt Col

      I'm active duty Air Force with a Masters and PhD in the physical sciences and served two combat tours with the Army. I feel I'm fairly well educated, as are my Airmen, most of whom have college degrees. Entry into the Air Force requires high grades in high school as well as your military entrance examinations. Your comment is incorrect. Most general officers have multiple graduate degrees. I daresay we are more educated than the general public.

      May 26, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Reply
      • jayswon

        10 years in the navy: an air force brat, a navy mustang (in as an E3 out as an O3), nuc subs, destroyers and aviation, MS and PhD in Experimental Psychology.
        father retired AF CMSgt, uncle_1 retired navy captain, uncle-2 retired rear admiral, best friend retired navy captain, stepmother retired AF Col.

        i stand by my statement.

        May 26, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Hangin' in Hawaii

      Jayswon, for a person who thinks that the military is poorly educated. You sure do hang around with them a lot.

      May 26, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Reply
  42. Mike

    His comments may cause soldiers who need help, not to get it. President Obama should fire him as he did General McChrystal. Unfortunately, since he is black, Obama will not fire him! Just like Obama did not have the FBI track down and arrest the members of the black panther party that placed a bounty on George Zimmerman's head, and just like Obama did not stop a black principle at a public elementary school in DC from having a Trayvon Martin day to honor a thug that had attacked and tried to kill Zimmerman! Come on Mr. President, quit being a racist and do the right thing!!!!

    May 26, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Reply
    • Bull

      All you need to do to see the racist is look in the mirror . . .

      May 26, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Reply
      • Mike

        Bull, did Obama fire McChrystal? Did Obama have the FBI track down the black panther members that put a bounty on Zimmerman? Did Obama stop our tax dollars from having a Trayvon Martin Day in a public elementary school? The answer to all these questions is that I have spoken the truth. Does speaking the truth make me a racist?

        May 26, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
      • Fn0rdz

        Mike: It doesn't make you a racist, but the allegations you've made against President Obama don't make him one either.

        May 26, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • AaronT3

      Mark Zuckerberg trade mark hoodie was given to him on opening bell of his IPO, yet no one think him a "thug". Get this, Trayvon was a child walking home from the store, just a child walking home from the store, just a child walking home from the store, just a child walking home from the store, how many rimes does this need to be repeated?

      May 26, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Reply
      • Mike

        A 6'3" young man that could join the Marines if he wanted is not a child. Children cannot go up to a man and punch him in the nose, knocking him down, then get on top and slam the man's head into the sidewalk.

        May 26, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
      • Alan S

        Aaron: It doesn't matter how many times you repeat "Trayvon was a child", it doesn't make it true. Trayvon was not a child. And for the life of me, I can't see what Mr. Martin's untimely demise has to do with military suicides.

        May 26, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
      • AaronT3

        Mike, Trayvon was 17 years old which makes him a child in America.
        Alan S, These Trayvon remarks were my reply to some racist rant (which has been removed) that someone else made tying this story to President Obama and Trayvon. So my I can see how my comments seems out of context without the instigating remarks.

        May 26, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Rob

      You are soooo wrong. What he said was right n the money.

      As we are learning, suicides tend to come in clusters on military posts and one of the reasons is the treatment of soldiers who do take their lives. They are always portrayed as wonderful people who were brave and loved – even if it is not true. Their families get tons of support and there are public memorials and it all looks great – better than reality. What they miss is the mess they leave behind, the fact that their families will lose any benefits and all those problems – usually financial – are still going to be there just worse.

      Suicide IS selfish. It hurts the ones you love.

      May 26, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Reply
      • Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

        Gee, and it wasn't for selfish reasons he was sent to the battlefield in the first place and lost all, was it??? Duh!!! Why is your freedom more valuable than his freedom? Why is your paycheck more important than his? Why should he lose all so you can make all?

        It is ok for him to be screwed but not for him to screw others!

        Be honest, those who give themselves for others are damned if they do and damned if they don't regardless of the subject matter!

        May 27, 2012 at 5:37 am |
    • Ron

      Tell you what Mike. Let me follow you in a vehicle till you wonder why you're being followed and run. Then let me chase you down on foot and confront you and ask you what you're doing there....all the while having a gun, when you are armed with a bag of skittles.
      Get yourself an education or at least some common sense. The president has no control over what a single principal does. The president can not give orders to the FBI to investigate anything. I'm tired of ignorant people like you blaming EVERY SINGLE ***$^#* PROBLEM on Obama. Get a clue and some common sense.

      May 26, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Reply
    • Kevin

      Are you kidding me ? You think the President has time to oversee what some high school principle is doing ?? It sounds like you can't stand the fact thaT we have a Black man in office, and now you want to try and paint him as a racist. This has nothing to do with Obama. NOTHING. This is one man with one blog. Totally UNRELATED to the President.

      May 26, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Reply
  43. ronjayaz

    Actually suicide in the military is a completely different cup of tea than in civilian life. The soldier who duznt want to fight can always do any elaborate shirking of duty to get discharged. The suicide soldier feels so guilty abt his feelings toward his duties to his country that he/she cant take it anymore.

    May 26, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Reply
    • Alan S

      Ron: You are probably correct with regard to some military suicides, but different people - whether military or civilian - commit suicide for different reasons. One soldier may kill himself for exactly the reasons you mentioned, whereas another may kill himself because his wife is leaving, or because he contracted herpes, or because he can't get promoted, or his parents died, or his little girl is terminally ill, or for general depression having nothing to do with the military.

      May 26, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Reply
    • jer

      DOESN'T.... where in the hell did you get duznt?????

      May 26, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Reply
  44. Joyous56

    Everyone has a right to their opinion, including the General. I'm not going to criticize him, or anyone else here for saying that suicide is selfish.

    What I do believe is that anyone who has not suffered from debilitating, long lasting, clinical depression only calls suicide selfish because it is so easy to judge when you're on the outside looking in.

    Depression and the feelings that lead to suicide are often not from an external cause. It's not 'feeling bad' because your wife left you or you lost your job...or even if your child died. When you've experienced long term depression, you know it's not something external to yourself. You know you can't blame someone else. You know that it's possible to overcome just about anything external to yourself.

    It's about what goes on inside. Often it is about hopelessness....not like "I'll never find someone like her", "I'll never get another job", "I miss my child so much". It's about feeling that life in general is hopeless, that nothing will change. It's about never feeling any pleasure from anything. It's about losing your ability to love, or care, or find passion, or even a reason to get out of bed. PTSD is about living each day waiting for the other shoe to drop, for something horrible to happen....again....because you've lost your ability to trust that 'everything will work out', to feel that life is stable and predictable....to constantly be in 'fight or flight' mode. Living with this kind of continual stress keeps the level of cortisol in the brain at dangerously high levels. Small stressors have greater impact, and one's ability to deal with even minor problems is diminished.

    So go ahead and say that suicide is selfish. Keep believing that. You'll never know who will be hurt by your lack of compassion and empathy. It might be someone you love....but hey, it's not your fault, right?

    May 26, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Reply
    • Fn0rdz

      It IS selfish, generally speaking.

      May 26, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Reply
      • D

        When you can not even start to empathize with others, that is what you would think, I suppose.

        May 26, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  45. Oodoodanoo

    We love to send kids to war, but we forget about them when they come home. Maybe if we stopped doing either or both of these, there'd be a lot fewer soldier suicides.

    May 26, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Reply
    • Alan S

      Oodoo: You wrote: "We love to send kids to war." Who loves sending kids to war? Most citizens back home grimace when our young men and women go to war. We may approve of it, but very darned few of us love it.

      May 26, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Reply
      • Dennis

        Politicians and wealthy CEO's don't really have a problem sending the children of others to war as long as it isn't theirs or if their kids can get preferential deferrments if ever drafted.If elected,I wonder if Mitt Romney's sons would ever see combat duty if he decided to declare war on Iran?...Not likely to happen.

        May 26, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • MrGreed

      Talk about selfish – If a CEO can increase profits or a politician can gain political points they both LOVE to send our kids to war.

      May 26, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Reply
  46. nimesh

    This is why I absolutely can't stand the brass.
    You can't criticize the troops. Understandable!.
    You can't criticize needless foreign missions. AKA Desert Storm2, Vietnam, Korea. Understandable!
    But you can't criticize the brass?. Not understandable..
    The brass doesnโ€™t die on the field. Ensigns and GI's do.
    The brass has always treated soldiers like cattle. That's why the phrase: 'Men & Materials'. Actually in their minds itโ€™s really: 'Materials & Men' but that would be politically incorrect.
    In Vietnam the generals said: 'Er we can sustain casualties of 500 a weekโ€™. 500 a week!
    These are lives you're talking about. 500 lives a week.
    I wish the generals themselves were part of that sustaining.
    Therefore General Pittard, you're a thoughtless, insensitive man bereft of skills to run a base and being in charge of human beings!

    May 26, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Reply
  47. Solitairedog

    I don't think one can generalze, successfully, about another's motives for suicide any more that you can generalize about a person's motives for having a family or drinking a beer.

    May 26, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Reply
    • Eric

      I agree that in most cases, suicide is a profoundly selfish act. It is placing a higher priority on escaping your own pain than on fulfilling the commitments you have made to your loved ones and to others in your life. In fact, not only is it a failure to keep those commitments, but it is putting a tremendous extra burden on those people (for example the guy the killed himself in a situation where his kids would find his body).

      The only times I would say that suicide is not selfish is if (1) you haven't made any commitments to those around you or (2) it is physically impossible for you to keep those commitments.

      May 26, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Reply
      • D

        Well, that is logical, but you still don't get it. These people are incapable of rationality. Can't you understand that?

        May 26, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  48. AFJohn

    The General was truthful; nothing wrong with his post in context of everything else he wrote! It is a selfish act and anyone contemplating suicide should use that as motivation to seek help–what happens to the families and friends left behind.

    May 26, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Reply
  49. LeRoy Jones

    He retracted in order to save his career. It's a dog-eat-dog world in the Services regarding stars, bars or stripes – lot of politics involved.

    May 26, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Reply
    • Mezmama

      He pissed somebody off. That is the only way he could be called for saying something that most of us would knee-jerk say under the circumstances he was in. Completely political.

      May 26, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Reply
  50. HurpDurp

    Love the right-wing filth defending this guy's comments.

    That's the epitome of the conservative view of the military – only support "BRAVE AND NOBLE" troops. Flush the rest of them down the toilet as soon as they need help.

    Conservatives are subhuman parasites.

    May 26, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Reply
  51. sunsohot

    I realize his retraction was printed "in part", but in the printed story, this General did not apologize to those who found his words hurtful – "....with my deepest sincerity and respect towards those whom I have offended, I retract that statement."

    May 26, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Reply
  52. Alex

    when people commit suicide it's because they feel like they are a burden to others in some way. Maybe he felt like IF he didn't kill himself he might kill others... who knows.. RIP fellow soldier. To the commander: It's ironic how out of touch every commander seems with their soldiers these days..they don't care about why soldiers kill themselves, they just want Suicide to stop so they don't have to keep attending funerals and worry about how it makes them and the army look bad because they can't take care of their own.

    May 26, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Reply
    • D

      Excellent point. Maybe some people know where they are headed and that others are in danger. In this case, it would be a selfless act.

      May 26, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Reply
  53. Nanaki81

    I'm finding this entire post to be interesting. I think I'm beginning to see parallel between those who say that suicide is selfish and those that believe that suicide should be understood. The people who say that suicide is selfish usually say this because of the impact that is left behind for those who mourn the loss; while those who are sympathetic are usaully this way because they try to understand and rationalize the motivations behind the act. It looks like, though, that ultimately both thoughts are coping mechanisms for dealing with the aftermath of someone who commits suicide. Becoming angry is a natural reaction, and yet seeking understanding and solice is also a natural reaction. At the same time, however, too much of a sentiment on either side can be detrimental to the subject at hand. Expressing too much anger can lead to an insensitive outlook on the subject, as well as causing those who do or have contemplated suicide to feel isolated. However, trying too hard to understand and rationalize the subject can lead to attempting to justify the act, which could potentially lead to an overall acceptance of the act as a whole – I'm reffering to the subject of medically assisted suicide, as well as to an episode from Star Trek TNG ๐Ÿ˜‰ – . Rather than flatly saying that one side is wrong and the other is right, what we need is to be objective of the situation and try to understand both sides of the argument. Since this is, by nature, a very complex subject. As is human nature as a whole.

    May 26, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Reply
  54. Ramana7

    The General expressed the survivor's feelings well enough. It's not pretty. But when you survive it, watch what it can do to a once strong family, from our side it is selfish. But then, we're also being selfish when we only look from our side.

    The person committing suicide may reflect the same selfishness, perhaps looking only from their side. But in some cultures suicide is seen as a brave and honorable way to die. In many cases, suicides are committed with extreme valor and will. Most of us are just chicken. Or we'd be gone too at one time or another in our lives.

    Seeing things from the western/judeo/christian view, it looks one way. But the experience of life is not always according to one's view. In that view, we may even question whether that soul is lost for such a selfish act. Many in our society will struggle with this in the wake of a loved-one who kills themselves. The General may well be among them. It's forgivable. But it should be recognized as being a very one-sided, not unselfish view within itself.

    Suicide is a manifestation of the human mind. Therefore it is as complex as the human mind. It may be from thoughts that have been held for years, decades even. Or it may be a very sudden reaction, A projection of some past experiences, story-line–but all of it comes to thought, which is an individual experience. In the end, there's a million reasons for a million cases.

    That is their experience and whatever the story in whichever case, the desire to cease to exist as a given person comes to nearly all at one time or another, at different levels in different forms. It's individual choice what you do with that, and what you did when that when you were 21 may be entirely different when you're 67, or when you lose your hands, or when your wife leaves you, or....

    If we accept one's right to say, "I'm out" for whatever millions of reasons they may have, fortunate or unfortunate, we have to endure the sorrow of death all the same, but suicide victims get the sorrow coming and going. So if we recognize one's right, or one's right to make a tragic mistake, accept the fact. When we refuse to move on by accepting our lives as it comes, making the best, we ourselves begin a journey that could lead to our own suicide. Meaning, if we blame them for not having taking better care in putting their thoughts together so as to just accept their life as it came and overcome rather than succumb, judging them as selfish, etc, then we're not minding our own thoughts. Because their moment, in that decision is personal, like it or not. It may have had nothing to do with the criteria we base our judgments, and therefore, our judgments are empty anyway. Selfish. Self-serving (or self-loathing).

    One could just as easily, looking from a completely different perspective, admire one's bravery for the resolve in ending their life. Sometimes it's very true perhaps that they were TOO attached to life, so they quit like cowardly lions. At least it may well look that way from where we stand. We may have already had that kind of view of that person previous to what they did. They had a pattern we saw long before of being a coward, a pus sy. Or, they may have seemed a rock and we may think they're heroic act of saving a buddy or something was this great thing, underneath it all, it may have been their cowardly way out. At least from the point of view of someone in their relationships. Or it may have been the reason in their own mind.

    Point is, you'll never know the heart of another. You cant THINK you do. But you may THINK wrong. Suicide may be proof of "WRONG" thinking. But thinking you know someone else's heart and mind, is WRONG. Don't judge. Accept and move the hell on.

    May 26, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Reply
    • Nanaki81

      Well said.

      May 26, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Reply
    • Sirned

      No the General does not reflect survivors view on this at all....A suicide is like a bomb going off in a living room full of survivors. Everyone is left in different places in their grief. No ones grief is the same. How they cope is very different for each of them. But as a survivor I can tell you first hand that insulting the dead is not helpful. Children have it hard enough after this kind of tragedy to also cope with insults about their parent too....

      May 26, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Reply
  55. Walter

    Having suffered serious depression for 20 years without a moment passing that I didn't long for suicide, I agree with the General's remarks. Suicide is the ultimate selfish act, and I don't think he needs to apologize. Having the burden of what my death would do to those around me is the one thing that kept me alive long enough to enjoy the depression free life I have today.

    May 26, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Reply
    • Altair

      How nice that your family was able to shame you into living. Tell me, was shame the only therapy that brought you out of your depression?

      I also question that you actually had depression because you say "depression free life." Depression is not something that can be cured, only managed. There are good times and bad times. Anyone with depression would know that.

      May 26, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Reply
      • ag

        As a licensed clinical psychologist, I'd like to inform you that you are incorrect. Some, in fact, many, people, completely recover from depression. This is why there are different diagnoses for single episode types vs. recurring types.

        Of course, people who have been depressed in the past will continue to have good times and bad. So do we all. That's called the normal ups and downs of life. Please don't confuse that with a major depression that requires treatment.

        May 26, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
      • Jim McTeigue

        How sad that you think love and concern for others is the same as "shame"; that you think you can armchair diagnose someone because you "know", for a fact, that "depression free life" meant cured, not successfully managed, and that not a single person EVER has been cured of depression... You aren't omniscient, and, frankly, you apparently don't know jack about depression either. Many people HAVE successfully left behind depression and moved forward with their lives. You can quibble, if you care to, over whether or not they are "cured" or "successfully managed", but, either way, you are absolutely wrong in saying that nobody has ever been depressed, then moved forward with their lives without regressing back to a state of depression. Many people suffer depression because of feelings pertaining to circumstances in their lives. When those circumstances are changed, they are able to move forward without depression. And frankly, it's sadly hypocritical that you would post this: "Seems like a lot of people think the solution to suicide, the 11th leading cause of death in the United States, is to take a person that already feels worthless, alone, and in pain and inflict more pain by calling them selfish," right before you attempted to make someone else feel worse about their life. Still, I suppose it's not as hypocritical as having said this as well: "Truly, truly sad, the number of people that make someone's pain and suffering about them." Someone shared their story, and you felt the need to chime in, mocking what brought them through depression, then telling them that "you", as though "you" are anyone who's opinion matters in the slightest, don't believe that they were depressed? Talk about making someone's pain and suffering about yourself... I hope you go learn what shame actually is, then try experiencing it for your actions here.

        May 26, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Sirned

      That's like saying a cancer patient is selfish for not curing his cancer and should have cured himself instead of leaving his family .....Depression is a disease people! Until society realizes this and deals with it the numbers will rise and the sick will continue not to get help. Stop shaming them. It's not helpful

      May 26, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Reply
      • smithsdawg

        Cancer patients don't personally rip their tumors out leaving their loved ones left with the horror of it. That said...I do agree in both cases that it is better to get medical help.

        May 26, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • desidoc

      good for you buddy – keep going – hope you live well and live long

      May 26, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Reply
    • LeRoy Jones

      @ "ag":

      "As a licensed clinical psychologist" ...... you effing QUACK !!!

      May 26, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Reply
      • ag

        That's okay, I've been called worse! ๐Ÿ™‚

        May 26, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  56. Altair

    Seems like a lot of people think the solution to suicide, the 11th leading cause of death in the United States, is to take a person that already feels worthless, alone, and in pain and inflict more pain by calling them selfish.

    May 26, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Reply
    • smithsdawg

      Their pain ends at the conclusion of a successful suicide for the type of person you are defending. However, the suicide can leave a lifetime of pain and guilt for others left behind. Sorry, my empathy is with the loved ones who must cope with the successful suicide of a family member or friend. I've seen too much of the damage left behind to qualify that 'oh, so final' action with saintly virtues.

      But the survivors don't count...do they?

      May 26, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Reply
    • scott

      I,m sorry, but for a father to do that to his kids..is more than selfish...I dont think there is a word to describe that act, staining a childs mind forever.I have great sympathy for the person, but find the act especially in this scenario, heinous beyond words. Can you think of another word to describe a mother or father allowing their children to find them after they have killed themselves.If you are out there and considering it, leave a note and go out in the woods for god sake.For your fAMILIES SAKE!!!!!Why ruin your kids life.....peace to all!!!!!

      May 26, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Reply
  57. Frank Delahanty

    This general should immediately retire.

    May 26, 2012 at 11:54 am | Reply
  58. kmac

    Amazing–all the post on here that believe mental illness is Satan's work or being selfish. Then the drug companies are flim flam artist selling snake oil. Just because a person joins the military does not mean they are innoculated against mental illness. How does a person get to such a high military position with a complete absence of knowledge on mental health. How can so many people on this site be so ill informed on the subject of depression and mental disorders.

    May 26, 2012 at 11:53 am | Reply
  59. Sirned

    I think everyone should know that the very act of taking ones life is not weak. It takes one heck of a strong will to actually go through with it. I know it's said often that it's a weal person that commits suicide but that's just not true... It's so sad to think of someone in so much pain to actually want to check out permanently......

    May 26, 2012 at 11:52 am | Reply
  60. Eric

    Suicide is a "selfish" act? Suicide is the opposite, as it abolishes the "self." To assume otherwise is to impose your religion (your belief that there is something of the self which survives bodily death) onto the decisions of others.

    But, for the sake of argument, let's consider a religious perspective. In most religions, suicide means ending your life with a huge unforgiven sin. If there is a hell, you are likely to end up there. And what could be more "selfish" than wanting to spend eternity in hell?

    It's not saying suicide is noble. It does hurt others. But, our ENTIRE economic system is based on the assumption that people's selfish acts can serve the greater good if they occur inside the frame of well regulated liberty. I'm surprised that people can't think of a better reason to object to suicide than "selfishness."

    May 26, 2012 at 11:49 am | Reply
    • Altair

      Truly, truly sad, the number of people that make someone's pain and suffering about them.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:54 am | Reply
    • Quick E Mart Clerk

      I wonder if the children of the soldier who killed himself and left himself in a way to be seen dead on Christmas day have been pontificating about their dad's suicide in the the way you described.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:56 am | Reply
  61. Troy

    There are way too many of you commenting on this story who (yes WHO) have no idea how to use relative pronouns.

    May 26, 2012 at 11:48 am | Reply
    • Altair

      Well Troy, at least you have your priorities straight.

      Correct grammar is far more important than peoples' lives.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:51 am | Reply
  62. Altair

    Consider – were the people that jumped from the World Trade Center on 911 selfish for committing suicide by jumping rather than burning by staying in the building?

    May 26, 2012 at 11:47 am | Reply
    • scott

      Consider how rediculous your question is...those people were not going to be found by little babies...their own flesh and blood.They were facing burning to death....the one guy in this story was facing "opening presents"? Just like the people who go to their workplace and kill 10-15 people...my life sucks so everybody elses is going to as well....thats not selfish?If you cant go on I,ll do anything to help you,,,but why hurt and scar family members...little babies,worse than you are already going to.

      May 26, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Reply
      • D

        You are basically saying that because *you* are rational, that all other people must be rational. I see the type of scenario you described as a complete brain malfunction. Like a nuclear reactor meltdown or something. No judgments on it.

        May 26, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
      • D

        Of course these are terrible situations for the victims, though, no doubt about it. I just wish there were a better way of detecting these time bombs before they went off.

        May 26, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
      • mdmann

        Step 1:

        Don't refer to these as "ticking time bombs" or "selfish." Doing so only de-humanizes the issue.

        May 26, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  63. Bug

    Great, another non-apology, apology.

    I really meant what I said, and still believe it, but if you're such a sorry sack of ____ that it offended you, I'm sorry. It's your fault, now give me foregiveness.

    May 26, 2012 at 11:44 am | Reply
    • D

      No, he RETRACTED his statement WITH DEEPEST RESPECT. Jeez, can you even read?

      May 26, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Reply
      • mdmann

        It doesn't matter that he retracted WITH DEEPEST RESPECT if his behavior and attitude don't change. Any fool can apologize. Those are just words. They don't even have to believe what they are saying when they apologize. You SHOW your regret for what you've done by some substantive ACTION. Only time will tell if this general learned anything from this moronic episode of his.

        May 26, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  64. Manen Ah Aeydah

    He's right on target. Of course that's "unsettling". We can't have honesty and expect integrity, can we? That's clearly just asking too much of the current generation.

    May 26, 2012 at 11:43 am | Reply
  65. js

    The decision to committ suicide is the decision that your suffering is so great that it overrides concern for the suffering that your death will cause others. In that sense, it is technically a selfish act. It is ok to be selfish, if you have good reason (I wouldn't expect a cancer patient on chemo to help out with household chores), but this whole debate gets away from the core issue. The battlefield enemy is utilizing a psy-ops that is effectively killing our troops through PTSD and we aren't spending the resources to buy them the right protection. This is no different than the body armor scandal, EXCEPT that it has been going on for 10 years rather than a period of months.

    May 26, 2012 at 11:41 am | Reply
  66. Kmar B

    MG Pittard can kiss any thought of a third star good-bye! A completely irresponsible statement by a senior leader!

    May 26, 2012 at 11:38 am | Reply
    • Quick E Mart Clerk

      While it could be foreseen that numerous people would disagree with his opinion, his statements are hardly irresponsible. His statements are cogent and well though out. And it's commendable that he'd vocalize what is true: That suicide is not an individual decision but one that deeply affects the children, parents, siblings, and friends you leave behind. Of course, the men, women, and children who commit suicide are in immense amounts of pain. But people in immense amounts of pain can commit acts of selfishness. And suicide is selfish.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:50 am | Reply
  67. Mazzata

    War is "upsetting."

    May 26, 2012 at 11:37 am | Reply
    • desidoc

      you nailed it – the only frickin species to systematically decimate each other – and to hail those who do it as 'heroes'.

      May 26, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Reply
      • Mark

        One thing you don't have to worry about..........................you will never be referred to as a hero.

        May 26, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  68. Big Mike

    OK, we know that in January 2012, General Pittard expressed words which showed gross insensitivity to Soldiers who commit suicide, and labeled them as "selfish." Four months later, and only after his callous statements received wide public exposure, he retracts the statement and uses more words that make it appear he really cares about helping the Soldiers with PTSD. Does he really care?

    The proof is in the pudding:

    1.) If General Pittard wants to make it easier for Soldiers with PTSD to get the help they need, then why has he not retracted the policy that he signed on 04 April 2012 which makes it extremely difficult for Soldiers at Fort Bliss to acquire service dogs?

    2.) Why is General Pittard still allowing his subordinate commanders to continually harass and humiliate Soldiers who are suffering from PTSD until they give up and either exit the Army with no medical retirement benefits, or exit life altogether?

    May 26, 2012 at 11:37 am | Reply
    • Quick E Mart Clerk

      What the general said is not even remotely harassment.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:51 am | Reply
  69. scott

    Suicide is selfish. If a soldier does it ,I dont call it selfish. We dont walk in their shoes.

    May 26, 2012 at 11:29 am | Reply
    • D

      You walk in no ones shoes except for your own.

      May 26, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Reply
  70. Zionsgrid

    Best General Ever ! ! !

    May 26, 2012 at 11:29 am | Reply
  71. Richard

    As American descends more and more into a morass of entitlement, selfishness, self-pity and WEAKNESS. The general was right. What's next, troops greeting each other with hugs like some sissy urban yuppie kids?

    May 26, 2012 at 11:20 am | Reply
    • AH

      Dick, some of the hardest warriors I know have succumb to depression, survivors guilt, and ultimately taken their lives. They suffered silently from the horrors they witnessed war, their friends torn to pieces before their eyes from the horrors of kinetic warfare. All humanity reduced to a smoldering hole in the ground surrounded by scrap metal and the tiny pieces of what used to be a human being. These same individuals keenly met the enemies on front lines but in the end could not cope with some of the issues they had bore witness too. Yuppy my butt, have you done this?

      May 26, 2012 at 11:26 am | Reply
    • Altair

      Richard – I will say the same thing to you that I said to Barbara โ€“ you are a cruel, heartless person that has no idea what they are talking about.

      People that commit suicide have thought about it for days, weeks, years hoping the pain will go away.

      So sad to know that people like you exist.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:35 am | Reply
    • DeTamble

      Yup, straight guys dont give each other hugs,
      expecialy after surviving three tours of duty.

      Good name for you, DICK.

      May 26, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Reply
  72. AH

    A retraction, is that an ooops I realize my statements are going to frag my career?

    "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."

    His retraction is the complete opposite of what he originally said, he lacked compassion, positivity, support, and the intuitive leadership to recognize that his statement was horrible. Yet it took many months to retract... Bologna!

    May 26, 2012 at 11:20 am | Reply
    • J3sus Sandals

      Only shows how out of touch Pittard is with the realities of war. Instead of blaming the soldiers, why not try and understand? But then from what I understand, the military is not particularly interested in taking care of their own outside the theater, particularly on matters relating to PTSD.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:35 am | Reply
  73. Sirned

    Is depression selfish? Of course it is. The very nature of the illness and pain of depression is self absorbing. The sick person cannot see anything outside of the pain they are in daily. I can only assume it must be like how I feel when I have a terrible toothache and it hurts so badly every minute I can't think of anything else. Or being eaten up with cancer that hurts so much you don't have anything left in you to keep the faith....

    May 26, 2012 at 11:18 am | Reply
    • AH

      depression selfish? Are you seriously saying that depression is selfish? Is cancer selfish? Is any other disease selfish? Clinical depression is an imbalance of neurotransmitters, they didn't cause it, they do not revel in it and actually with therapy tend to revert and not suffer (key word is suffer) from depression. Just like your tooth ache, when the root of the problem is rectified it tends to resolve.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:22 am | Reply
    • Jim

      Sirned – as someone that lives with depression, let me give you an example of how if feels.

      Think of someone that you love dearly who has died, or if there is no such person, think of someone living that you love dearly.

      Now think about how you did or would feel if that person died. The physicial pain in your gut, the lonelyness from the loss. That is how depression feels every day, and it doesn't go away the way the pain of a death grandually fades.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:29 am | Reply
      • Sirned

        Believe me I know.... I just think the word selfish is being used in 2 ways here. One is assuming a healthy person choses to be selfish and the other that I am speaking of is being selfish to protect ones self and deal with excutiating pain...Depression is a self absorbing illness. That's what is so sad about the disease.

        May 26, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Sirned

      AH... I agree with you.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:31 am | Reply
    • DeTamble

      Fail.

      May 26, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Reply
  74. Barbara Warren

    Suicide is the ultimate selfish act. Either it is designed to deliberately hurt someone ("See what you drove me to! Now you are responsible for my death!") Or it is done with no regard for the terrible pain it causes to those left behind. Selfish in either case. Label it for what it is, and more people might think twice.

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

      Barbara, you are ignorant! It is the consistent perpetuation of this mentality that undermines the issues that developed and perpetuated into a suicide. I am not suicidal, never have been but I have seen many people in so much pain that they take their lives, this has nothing to do with a drive to show someone they made them do it or anything what so ever. Most of them believe that ultimately the world and their loved ones are better off with out them. It is often the complete thought process of selfishness and is in their thoughts altruistic.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:14 am | Reply
      • David

        AH, are you an expert on suicide. Unless someone is a mental health expert here, these are all opinions and you shouldn't knock someone else's opinion on the subject. You could be wrong in that some suicides may be to let someone know how deeply they hurt that person committing suicide. A prime example is a guy who gets dumped by his long time love.

        May 26, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • AreYouKidding

      just...stop. .0001% of suicides are designed to hurt someone else. absolute ignorance. go away.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:14 am | Reply
      • David

        People kill themselves for many reasons. Barbara's reasons are no more invalid than reasons you might think of. Telling someone to go away just because they don't share your belief is just ignorant and closed-minded. Where did you get that statistic anyway, "National Enquirer"?

        May 26, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Jim

      Barbara, thanks for the great insight. Only you know what's going on in other peoples' heads. The fact that someone kills theirself has no effect on them, it's all about you.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:25 am | Reply
    • Eric

      Suicide is not a singular thing – it can have these motives, but need not do so. Some people distance themselves emotionally from others, and even wrap up their affairs. Others do so under the duress of extreme emotion.

      If anything, suicide is the refusal to be bound by the morality of others. Calling it immoral (because it is selfish) isn't the solution.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:26 am | Reply
    • Altair

      Barbara – you are a cruel, heartless person that has no idea what they are talking about.

      "Think twice?" Are you seriouis. People that commit suicide have thought about it for days, weeks, years hoping the pain will go away.

      So sad to know that people like you exist.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:32 am | Reply
    • DeTamble

      Another fail.

      May 26, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Reply
  75. AH

    This is a horrid response by a senior military member! It shows a lack of compassion, lack of understanding and ignorance of the issues. You can be sick and tired of suicides, I am! I have lost quite a few friends from them (all active duty or former military) and understand frustration but any comments past that just illustrate that senior commands are far removed from the realities....

    May 26, 2012 at 11:08 am | Reply
  76. Bilbo

    Send this General to the worst part of Afghanistan with nothing but a rifle...let's see how tough he is...

    May 26, 2012 at 11:08 am | Reply
  77. Lexagon

    He's absolutely correct. I'm not disputing that it isn't sometimes justifiable, and I don't think anyone is arguing that nothing needs to be done to fix the problem, but successfully offing yourself when there's still people on this planet that give a damn about you is the ultimate in selfish acts.

    May 26, 2012 at 11:02 am | Reply
    • Zar

      The act of suicide is a selfish. However, the comments by the General were insensitive and not lacked compassion. The last ten years on one percent of the population has endured the burden of continuous war and all the stress and strains that the families have to endure year in and year out.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:55 am | Reply
  78. Mastodonrocks

    We're with you soldier! Suicide is THE most selfish act period. Forget who it offends. Especially some backwoods politician.

    May 26, 2012 at 11:00 am | Reply
    • Eric

      So, in your system of ethics, we don't even LIVE for ourselves but for the pleasure of others? That's sick.

      Suicide cannot possibility be worse than that system of ethics.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:29 am | Reply
  79. Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

    America is slowly waking up to the reality that this is all going to crash on her...she is not as smart as she thinks!

    That is the problem with this general! It is desperation of an administration, people and belief system that is failing and will take a nation down with it!

    For those who have been screwed by it, justice from on high is the only true justice! All other justice is skewed by the rich and powerful!

    May 26, 2012 at 11:00 am | Reply
    • ME

      Then there is no justice. Because there is no "On High" power, it's a myth.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:23 am | Reply
      • Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

        Wait until there is no water in the land and then tell me there is no "On High."

        May 26, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Eric

      Every thing wrong with America, even things that have been with us for decades, are the responsibility of Barack Obama's administration? Really?

      I would like to say that your lack of perspective is stunning, but I've seen it plenty of times in the last few years.

      How did you handle the adversity of life before he was president? Isn't it possible you had a great unmet need that only his presidency could fulfill for you?

      May 26, 2012 at 11:32 am | Reply
      • Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

        Ah, the only true and living god, Obama! The messiah who changed the world.

        No, the man who could have done great things but was hindered by his ego and this of his cronies!

        Considering the course America is now on, I doubt history will write Obama in such glowing colors. When all is laid bare, you may be surprised at what he has caused and how it will negatively impact you and your family/nation in the future.

        May 26, 2012 at 11:38 am |
      • DeTamble

        Too Much Faux koolaid.

        Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

        Ah, the only true and living god, Obama! The messiah who changed the world.

        May 26, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  80. Marc L from NY

    I'll tell you what the problem is- the General is an old school, tough as nails, get the job done kind of guy. Therefor, he must be a bully. And as we have been indoctrinated, bulling is wrong.

    May 26, 2012 at 10:56 am | Reply
    • Eric

      Obviously YOU have not been indoctrinated, so what you are REALLY saying is that people who disagree with you do so because their weak minds have been brainwashed. I suspect you do this on a variety of issues, not just suicide. That suspicion is based on past experience with people who make similar arguments.

      Here's another way to think about it – people who have devoted their lives to working with depressed individuals have a unique expertise because of that experience. People who have been depressed and considered suicide have a different, yet significant, expertise. Since I have neither expertise, I listen to the perspectives of experts to inform my perspective.

      If we were face to face, I would be willing to treat you as an expert in the things you've spent a significant amount of your time focused on – particularly if other experts honor your expertise, and agree with you in good measure.

      I'm not saying SUBSTITUTE expertise for one's own judgment, but I am recommend a practice of listening to experts instead of assembling reasons why you don't have to do so.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:37 am | Reply
  81. fstik

    You all must forget the young boy who's father was in the army and stationed at Fort Ord, CA many years back. The father was deployed and the family was struggling to make ends meet. The son hung himself in the back yard to try and ease the burden on his mother and his brothers and sisters. Yeah, real selfish act there...

    May 26, 2012 at 10:56 am | Reply
  82. lance corporal

    I feel for people and soldiers who are suffering and I think we should offer them help and create an environment where they feel safe asking for that help BUT suicide is not only selfish but stupid and pointless as well

    May 26, 2012 at 10:54 am | Reply
    • D

      WTF? Talk about talking out of both sides of your mouth! You think with statements like these you are creating an environment that makes it easier for people to ask for help???

      May 26, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Reply
  83. Mike H

    What is never discussed is that war is a terrible and costly thing, with subsequent soldiers' suicides a large cost rarely considered. Wars, and the military in general, are glorified in the US, Perhaps if war was used as a last resort, rather than a legitimate foreign policy tool for all occasions, fewer Americans would feel desperate enough to take their lives. War is ugly and killing is evil. Glossing over it with medals and ceremonies cannot change these facts.

    May 26, 2012 at 10:54 am | Reply
  84. Overcomer

    This man is correct. I went through very dark times when my brain chemistry went out of balance. A kid home from the Marines damages in mind and body, a failed business and a lost job all at the same time. IT WAS DARK. I though about suicide but realized my family needed me and suicide was a cowards way out. I fought for a year using anti-depressants and am so glad I stuck around. My marriage is the best ever, and my kid is slowly, very slowly doing better.

    May 26, 2012 at 10:53 am | Reply
    • Sirned

      You said you were in a very dark place but somehow still had a sound enough mind not to committ suicide. That was not the case for some. Their place might have been in a much darker place making it impossible to make the same choice you did...

      May 26, 2012 at 11:08 am | Reply
    • D

      There are probably many others that have been to that dark place and somehow were able to get out of it. Others were not so fortunate. It is like some people can survive heart attacks or cancer and others don't. It was a great, great thing that you were able to make the efforts that you needed to make and were able to survive. I'm sure it was not easy.

      May 26, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Reply
  85. renee

    icide is a selfish act-I speak from experience. My first husband killed himself. His family was devastated and could not understand why somebody would chose this route. They were devout Catholics and suicide is forbidden. We were separated-he had already moved on and had a girl friend-I watched that girlfriend secome suicidal-I needed to clean up his apartment, take care of belongings and the bills. I was his legal survivor. I arranged the funeral and comforted his devastated parents.
    I went to "Survivors of Suicide" gruops for several months. At one meeting it occured to me I was surrounded by people like myself who were all trying to deal wlth this incredibly selfish and cruel act that had been commited against them. I decided my husband was a huge coward-he should be pitied because he did not have the ability or guts to face life and be successful. I decided suicide is a selfish act, a final manipulation when somebody feels they have lost control.
    As a nurse, I can see suicde as a choice to exit from a painful life-say in the case of extremely debilitating or painful disease. I would totally support that. BUT choosing suicide for a healthy person is a selfish choice. I know somebody will say that psychic pain is as real as physical pain. Great, it may be but there is a way to resolve most mental anguish. OR if you choose to end your life-Be kind to your survivors-don't make them need to identify your remains or clean up the bloody mess (literally) you leave behind.

    May 26, 2012 at 10:53 am | Reply
    • AreYouKidding

      really sad. allow me to play the world's smallest violin for you because you had to deal with cleaning up the affairs of someone who felt so much anguish that he decided death was his best option. that's exactly why he did it you know, so that you'd have to pay a few of his bills and throw his stuff out. Did that interrupt one of your Pilates classes? Your lack of compassion is pathetic and I hope you never meet the mental struggle he faced – because someone might have to be inconvenienced with paying your last phone bill.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:03 am | Reply
      • Barbara Warren

        There is a big difference between having a pilates class interrupted and having to clean your loved one's blood off the walls and ceiling, you jerk. If you must commit suicide, at least have the common decency to not make your mother, or wife, or son have to face that.

        May 26, 2012 at 11:17 am |
      • Altair

        Barbara – you are a self-absorbed, self-important a s s hole who thinks you know everything.

        Yep, the solution to people with depression is more criticizism and scorn from ignorant m0r0ns, that will make their lives better.

        May 26, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Sirned

      Unless you are a brainwashed suicide bomber NO healthy person commits suicide. Ever.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:03 am | Reply
      • Altair

        Sirned – you are correct, but do not know why.

        Suicide is the result of an illness.

        May 26, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • D

      There are lots of connections between physical pain and psychological pain. Perhaps you could research them to help in your recovery. Also, to say that there is a way to resolve most mental anguish seems to be facile. Mental health care in this country is only in its infancy and there is a lot of untreated illness out there. Also, like others, you are superimposing your rational mind onto an irrational mind. Maybe those who "leave a mess" are not exactly planning ahead, or thinking clearly in the moment, of what the aftermath will be.

      May 26, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Reply
  86. Jay

    To characterize suicide as "selfish" is one example of the limited American cultural attitude of "everything is just black or white." It is a remarkable failure to understand the numerous layers of complexity that exist within the human psyche. Instead, such people with this uniquely American attitude, and who often flavor that attitude with unqualified hubris, think in overly simplistic terms that falsely categorize ideas, issues, events into any one of two very basic criteria: it is good, it is bad; it is brave, it is cowardly; it is selfish, it is selfless; he is strong, he is weak; it is conservative, it is liberal; America is great, the rest of the world is less than great; and so on. They do not have eyes that can see the multiple colors and shades of the human spectrum, which at times includes sufffering and intense trauma. And now here they see soldiers and sailors - people who volunteered for service, which in itself is an act of selfless bravery - committing suicide, and they instantly judge such incidences as "selfish," failing to recognize that suicide is, in reality, a symptom of deeper more complex causes of inner suffering and anguish. Unless we begin to truly see and seek to address such causes of suffering and anguish, and until we help American soldiers and sailors shoulder the emotional burden of fighting a seemingly losing inner battle, then any continuing criticism of their suicides as "selfish" will only continue to dehumanize these good people, which will ultimately serve only to dehumanize ourselves.

    May 26, 2012 at 10:49 am | Reply
    • Sirned

      Thank you for a Good Post....

      May 26, 2012 at 10:57 am | Reply
    • D

      After this brilliant comment, I can stop reading. Bravo.

      May 26, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Reply
  87. Healer7

    Soooo, if I'm reading this correctly. He retracted his statement because it's not in keeping with military policy (which means he got his wee-wee wacked by someone higher up. He apologized to anyone he hurt making the statement but actually never apologized for making the statement in the first place. Which means to me he still believes his statement. I love how careful people word "apologies" when they mess up. I apologize not for making the statement but, for anyone I hurt while making the statement. Sounds like a politician got to him. HA!

    May 26, 2012 at 10:49 am | Reply
  88. Bill

    The act damages those around you, besides just yourself. While these people face legitimate physical and mental hardships that lead them to suicide, the act in itself is very "selfish". I am not sure who the General is offending, because I am pretty sure those who have commited suicide are not concerned.

    May 26, 2012 at 10:47 am | Reply
    • Zionsgrid

      Well said!

      May 26, 2012 at 11:20 am | Reply
  89. Felix El Gato

    The suicides are what is upsetting. The question is why. Address the issue. Fix the problem.

    May 26, 2012 at 10:46 am | Reply
  90. Pam

    When my son was about 14 years old, we were reading about someone committing suicide. His comment was that "suicide was nothing more than a last great temper tantram." The only people hurt are the ones left behind. and the "self-killer" doesn't care. He was right.

    May 26, 2012 at 10:45 am | Reply
    • AreYouKidding

      yes, 14 year olds are usually experts on suicide, PTSD, etc, etc. Just go away.

      May 26, 2012 at 10:53 am | Reply
      • Zionsgrid

        The kid was speaking the truth without prejudiced with physco babble. If he said fire was hot, would you say he does't have any knowledge of fire arson or fire investigation. Your an idiot.

        May 26, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  91. Sirned

    You know what selfish is to me? Knowing that many children of suicide parents are reading posts about how selfish and bad their parent is for committing suicide. So not only do the children have to deal with the everlasting tragedy of a suicide but a society that freely and loudly passes insulting remarks about their parent too... So who's being selfish here?

    May 26, 2012 at 10:45 am | Reply
    • Zionsgrid

      The idiots that kill themselves. Let me know if you have any more questions.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:25 am | Reply
  92. oh please

    NOT ONE of you who commented negatively aout suicide has ever been faced with the act YOURSELF as somehting YOU actually were having to confront- if you did, you would know- its NEVER your first thought when youre actually going through with it, its the absolute last thing you feel you can do, because you have TRIED to get over it, you have TRIED to deal with it, you have TRIED and had no positive results- when you are faced with that as your life, every day, then you can spew your bull comments- but its not what YOU face- cause if it were you wouldnt say the negative crap that you do

    May 26, 2012 at 10:40 am | Reply
    • Jay

      I claim to be no expert on suicide, but I do have some experience with it. My uncle, grandmother, father and brother killed themselves. I never met the first three. Uncle remains a mystery; Grandmother took poison, destroyed her kidneys and wrote her will from her hospital bed; Father, whom I first encountered in a photo of his corpse in the coffin, was drunk when he poisoned himself. Brother used a bag over his head and left four daughters, the youngest 12. During the funeral I held the sobbing girl, cursing Brother. I would not have written what the general wrote, but I won't condemn him for it. (I wrote this in 2001: http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1842&dat=20010210&id=c08gAAAAIBAJ&sjid=YckEAAAAIBAJ&pg=3705,1132610.)

      May 26, 2012 at 11:06 am | Reply
    • ...

      Oh I'm sorry, I didn't realize we had met. Thank you for summing that up so nicely, since you are clearly the only one who has faced such struggles. The rest of us should just not bother since you already know everything about us!

      May 26, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Reply
  93. minivanhalen

    "one of our Soldiers who decided to kill himself at home on Christmas Day so that his family would find him"...OH MY GOD. Dear Suicidal Grunts: Apply for a bunch of high-dollar credit cards, fly first-class to Hawaii, enjoy the most expensive time possible...then climb to the top of a volcano and DIVE IN. No muss, no fuss, no problemo.

    May 26, 2012 at 10:29 am | Reply
    • fatherheathen

      I grow sick of ignorant people commenting on things they don't understand.

      May 26, 2012 at 10:49 am | Reply
      • Grizz

        There's nothing to understand other than they are weak and flawed. Let the head case doctors make millions trying to figure out why they killed themselves.

        May 26, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  94. voicomp

    Speaking as a mental health clincian: With with few exceptions, the general is actually right. It is a very selfish act and damaging to many people (both in the suicide completers inner circle and out). I know this because I can't begin to relate to readers the pain I have seen in people I have treated that was caused by a suicide. There might, however, be better ways to relate this informtion than directly firing en masse at an at risk population without venue to immediately process the thoughts he expressed (and the reaction of the individuals in the audience) with a professional.

    May 26, 2012 at 10:27 am | Reply
    • minivanhalen

      They're soldiers, Sally, not beauticians.

      May 26, 2012 at 10:30 am | Reply
      • FightBack

        Doesn't mean they don't need help right? Or do you not understand what the problem is?

        May 26, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • oh please

      NO mental health "clinician" (what a freaking joke just say you have NO degree and are staff or basically an overpaid baby sitter ok, say what you TRULY are)
      NO MENTAL HEALTH clinician would EVER say the utter crap that you just spewed.

      May 26, 2012 at 10:37 am | Reply
      • Tammy

        I would hate to be a patient of that clinician......we had a First Sergeant in the Air Force take her life and I remember our Hospital Commander wanting to put up some sort of memorial not a "proud you did it" but a memorial of her life and service to our unit and that she was, a service to the unit even though she couldn't help herself, she did help many many others...he didn't do anything because one person indicated "why would you want to recognize that person – that was a cowards way out" – SO WRONG!!!!!!!! People who do not suffer from suicidal issues or mental issues could not even begin to understand the thinking of a person who does.....again don't judge someone else's choice for their life ....we all have to stand before GOD for ourselves and we all have to answer what we did here on this earth with the LIFE GOD GAVE EACH ONE OF US....as for the others left behind – it is that – what are you going to do with the LIFE left for you to live....it should have a positive impact on others in life and hopefully not negative.....and again those that left life early and on their terms must have left others with positive memories too....don't focus on the negative part of how/why they left this world...because actually we all are dying – some of us might know when, whether it is a terminal illness or suicide.....IF SOMEONE IS CONTEMPLATING TAKING THEIR OWN LIFE CALL 1-800-273-8255 it is 1-800-273-TALK.....GOD BLESS!!!!!!!!

        May 26, 2012 at 10:58 am |
      • AH

        I concur completely, everything about this statement is completely inaccurate.... clinician my butt! I am a med student in the military and everything you spewed forth from your grossly negligent key board sounds like word diarrhea! Incompetent if you are in this field. Would never desire to seek mental health support from you!

        May 26, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • charles

      Yes I believe he was correct. Like any army person they tend to get right to the point. Its another apology not really needed.

      May 26, 2012 at 10:46 am | Reply
    • AreYouKidding

      I would be terrified of any person actually working in Mental Health who believed suicide was a selfish act. Anyone who has ever seen a suicide note or spoken to anyone who wanted to commit suicide KNOWS that 99% of the time the person is in so much pain that they believe they are being completely UNSELFISH in taking their own life.

      May 26, 2012 at 10:47 am | Reply
      • are YOU kidding?

        You certainly throw out a lot of percentages and numbers....are you getting them from somewhere in particular, or are you just trying to make your point sound more feasible? Suicide is a terrible thing caused by great pain, but I have to say, why is the pain of those left behind considered less traumatizing than the pain those who commit suicide suffered? We all have to live with it for the rest of our allotted life. Who are you to judge?

        May 26, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  95. minivanhalen

    Selfish hell, it's RUDE. It's a pain just taking the garbage out once a week let alone 200 pounds of meat about to go bad.

    May 26, 2012 at 10:25 am | Reply
    • Al

      I thought you join the Army to kill other people?

      May 26, 2012 at 10:33 am | Reply
  96. .

    Suicide is actually a selfish act. In some cases, it's the ultimate act of revenge, meant to punish those who the person who takes his life feels have hurt him in some way.

    It is what it is: the coward's way out. And it punishes the innocent.

    May 26, 2012 at 10:23 am | Reply
    • Jeanneboo

      No one commits suicide unless their physical or psychic pain is beyound their endurance.

      May 26, 2012 at 10:47 am | Reply
    • fatherheathen

      Do you have a degree in psychiatry? No? Then keep your inbred redneck mouth closed.

      May 26, 2012 at 10:50 am | Reply
    • .

      It's a coward's way out. And it punishes the innocent.

      Sometimes the truth is the best psychology.

      I stand by my statement.

      If you don't like it, that's just too bad.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:17 am | Reply
      • lowkey424

        "Sometimes the truth is the best psychology."
        Sounds great, except that your initial comment wasn't truth.

        May 26, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  97. FightBack

    The underlying issue is about neglecting those who have served and come back traumatized. I have nothing but respect and admiration for those willing to die for their fellow countrymen. Even if our armed forces are all volunteer we should be helping them integrate back into society rather than leaving them to fend for themselves. When the elitists of this country, and world, realise that nobody will fight for them, then maybe attitudes will change for the better and we'll begin to help those in need. This is about becoming a better human being, it's about evolving and becoming enlightened. However, comments I'm seeing are pointing to the opposite...

    May 26, 2012 at 10:22 am | Reply
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