One General's View on Suicide

Viper1

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http://www.stripes.com/news/army/ar...s-calling-suicide-absolutely-selfish-1.178504

http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/post..._pittard_really_does_speak_for_us_on_suicides
I find it especially interesting that he "retracted" his statement but did not "apologize." Words matter and the fact that he did not apologize speaks volumes to me.

The last time I dealt with something like this was when I had a company commander who told all of us in a training meeting that "PTSD is just an excuse and doesn't exist." This was in a room full of seasoned combat veterans who were struggling with a variety of issues within their platoons or themselves.

I can understand one man's personal viewpoint but to be so callous as to state this publicly on a Fort Bliss website smacks of poor leadership. Thoughts?
 

Marauder06

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I tend to agree with some aspects of what the general said as well, but I don't think I would have expressed it in quite the same way. I think in some cases suicide "can" be a selfish act, but in other cases it might be committed as a selfless act, not a selfish one.
 

Etype

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I agree with him, suicide is wrong on some many levels. There are too many resources these days to be going that route.
 
B

BearW

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It's one thing to off yourself.
It's another to empathize with someone, because they must have had a hard go in life that we will never understand it but yea, sure do whatever you think is right.
The most ignorant thing I can think of, is that this pretentious careerist LEADER of men is unable to consider that things go on in peoples lives that he will never understand. Then, to be so out-of-touch with the importance of his position, that he would voice his very personal opinion of it, in such an undiplomatic manner across such a means, in light of whats happened. I would have thought a General would understand his personal opinions are not relevant in certain situations, like this one, and his 'official position' is that of the army. It indicates to me that his career has been spent looking down range and not left and right observing that proper balance between the mission and ensuring his men are okay. Perhaps it is because he hasn't had a strong enough NCO around at critical points in his career to remind him the importance of his men, what they go through, and how to combine your influence and will to lead them to the accomplishment of the mission. But who knows for certain...

MY OPINION (because I'm allowed to have one, and this isn't an official position for a media brief) is that this General Staff Officer, careerist, West Point graduate (despite having a ranger tab and a few tours) probably hasn't had too many hard days in his life, lot of bad luck, or ever had a close enough friend/family member kill himself to fully understand the social ramifications of exactly what has happens to families, and friends and co workers of people who commit suicide.
 

Marauder06

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It's one thing to off yourself.
It's another to empathize with someone, because they must have had a hard go in life that we will never understand it but yea, sure do whatever you think is right.
The most ignorant thing I can think of, is that this pretentious careerist LEADER of men is unable to consider that things go on in peoples lives that he will never understand. Then, to be so out-of-touch with the importance of his position, that he would voice his very personal opinion of it, in such an undiplomatic manner across such a means, in light of whats happened. I would have thought a General would understand his personal opinions are not relevant in certain situations, like this one, and his 'official position' is that of the army. It indicates to me that his career has been spent looking down range and not left and right observing that proper balance between the mission and ensuring his men are okay. Perhaps it is because he hasn't had a strong enough NCO around at critical points in his career to remind him the importance of his men, what they go through, and how to combine your influence and will to lead them to the accomplishment of the mission. But who knows for certain...

MY OPINION (because I'm allowed to have one, and this isn't an official position for a media brief) is that this General Staff Officer, careerist, West Point graduate (despite having a Ranger tab and a few tours) probably hasn't had too many hard days in his life, lot of bad luck, or ever had a close enough friend/family member kill himself to fully understand the social ramifications of exactly what has happens to families, and friends and co workers of people who commit suicide.

I was with you for the first two sentences. I think you're going a little overboard on the presumptions; calling a general a "careerist" and "pretentious" based on what I can see is one insensitive comment, that he made in an emotional moment, is a bit much IMO. A guy who is a West Point grad, with a Ranger tab, a couple of deployments, and a general's star makes me believe he has probably had a hard day or two in his life ;) Also, do you know for sure that he has never lost anyone to suicide? Maybe he did, and his feelings came out in that post he made.
 

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A guy who is a West Point grad, with a Ranger tab, a couple of deployments, and a general's star makes me believe he has probably had a hard day or two in his life ;)

Perhaps his senior enlisted advisor has but I imagine a General's idea of hard day would entail the a/c stuck on 75! :D Honestly, if he'd ran this idea through a SGM, it would have been resolved before MSNBC got it.
 

Crusader74

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I have lost close Friends and relatives to suicide and after the initial shock, comes anger and I suppose a general feeling of selfishness on the part of the person who committed the act..Especially if leaving small Children.. But in saying that, no one truly knows whats goes though some ones mind (hears all 9mm jokes before lol) to come to the decision to take they're own life. I have seen as I'm sure most here have to, how a family can be torn apart by suicide and it aint nice..

In some case's its a cry for help that went to far and I guess in others no other way out...I've learned not to judge any more as it just very sad indeed.
 

DA SWO

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Suicide is often a desperate act.
Four suicides, one a young enlisted Airman who left a sheltered home and couldn't cope with the world he was suddenly in. Folks at Womack let him drive home after being discharged, and they found his body in the desert.
two, a teenager with depression who went and hung himself in a tree behind the house. I attended that funeral and will never forget the face of his younger brother.
three a staff guy who suddenly found himself facing divorce#2 and didn't want to relive divorce#1 part deux. We were also in a mega fight with another staff agency and the air shaft, which probably contributed.
four was a former NCO who got into trouble with the ATF, he allowed them into his house, sta down, pulled a stowed weapon and off'd himself in front of the agents.
You could say number four was selfish, but he saved his family grief by killing himself before going to jail.
Three was probably a combination, his widow gets benifits, and he no longer had to deal with life. That might be a selfish act, I think it was probably an act of frustration.
two and one were cases of mental illness.
The MG is probably too clueless to understand how coo and eeo have combined to lower mental resiliency; after all he's a tough guy.
 

Marauder06

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He made GO in today's Army. Guys don't really make General without giving serious thought to their "careers" during their daily decision making process.

Crip

I think you can think about your career without being a careerist, don't you?

careerist
[kəˈrɪərɪst]
n
a person who values success in his career above all else and seeks to advance it by any possible means
careerism n
 

0699

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I was with you for the first two sentences. I think you're going a little overboard on the presumptions; calling a general a "careerist" and "pretentious" based on what I can see is one insensitive comment, that he made in an emotional moment, is a bit much IMO. A guy who is a West Point grad, with a Ranger tab, a couple of deployments, and a general's star makes me believe he has probably had a hard day or two in his life ;) Also, do you know for sure that he has never lost anyone to suicide? Maybe he did, and his feelings came out in that post he made.

I knew Gen Pittard when he was a major. He was always a no-BS guy and you knew exactly where he stood at all times.

EDIT: Yes, I would work for him again.
 

DA SWO

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As a general rule, no. I may be a little biased since I don't have a military career, just a job. :D
I have to agree, Guys who make GO have mentors and do think about which assignment they need to get promoted. That's why the AF has so few GO's with Contingency/Combat experience.
 

RetPara

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In your worst nightmare.....
:sick: This guy just doesn't "get it". Seen from the 'outside' suicide does give all the appearance of a selfish act. Having watched a number of people in the last few years choose that as a viable option. If the MG in question of the article really feels that, then his understanding of people and what happens to veterans and soldiers on their return from combat does not have a firm grasp on the reality. It's highly probable that his introduction to combat came as a senior company or junior field grade. Entirely different level and type of experience from what the junior enlisted on up through the company command level experience. You really can't expect his CSM to set him straight either. From the way the NCO Corps has been heading since before I retired to the BS the CSA is proposing, the best thing that could happen would be to blow up the SM Academy, plow under the remains, and sew it with salt. Then in 20 years try again, some place else.
 

Kraut783

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I worked 4 suicide cases while in Iraq....all were young soldiers and their wives had cheated on them, one shot himself while on the MWR phone with the wife, one shot himself while on video skype to his wife. The most fucked up thing was, each cheating wife got 500K from SLGI....400K + 100K for soldier in war zone. Crazy......
 

0699

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I worked 4 suicide cases while in Iraq....all were young soldiers and their wives had cheated on them, one shot himself while on the MWR phone with the wife, one shot himself while on video skype to his wife. The most fucked up thing was, each cheating wife got 500K from SLGI....400K + 100K for soldier in war zone. Crazy......

Screw that; my goal would be to survive Iraq so I could get back and TCOB with her.
 

Kraut783

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yeah, it got to the point where wanted to brief units about past cases and the fact the cheating wives got so much money....we figured when someone wanted to change their SLGI in theatre...it would be a red flag.
 
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