Sure it’s a coincidence: the same day the U.S. military formally ends its military mission in Iraq, the Army releases the lowest monthly suicide number in recent memory. But there it was, late Thursday, in the standard suicide press release – isn’t that a kick in the teeth? – that the Pentagon issues each month on the Army’s behalf:
Among active-duty soldiers, there were seven potential suicides.
That’s way down from the 22 suspected active-duty suicides in July, and the 17 in October. This is like that story about the dog that doesn’t bark. There are Army families with a soldier alive today who wouldn’t have been if Army General Peter Chiarelli, and his legions of comrades, had not been fighting the good fight against suicide in the ranks for the past several years. Like Iraq, it’s way too soon to declare victory. But it’s important to note signs of progress when they happens.