AT least $3.7 trillion, study finds
224,000 people have died directly from warfare and 7.8 million people have been displaced
2001 to 2008 - 511 Soldiers died under G.W. Bush.
2009 to present - 975 Soldiers died under obama.
NEW YORK -- Eight U.S. soldiers have been charged in the death of a fellow GI who authorities say apparently shot himself in Afghanistan after being assaulted and taunted with racial insults by his comrades.
Pvt. Danny Chen, a 19-year-old from New York's Chinatown neighborhood, was found dead in a guard tower in Kandahar province Oct. 3 with what the Army said was an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., said at a news conference Wednesday in Chinatown that Chen's fellow soldiers had dragged him across the floor, threw stones at the back of his head, forced him to hold liquid in his mouth while upside down as part of an apparent hazing, and called him "Jackie Chen" in a mocking accent.
The details of his alleged hazing came from Facebook and email messages, discussions with cousins and a few pages of Chen's journal released by the Army, according to Elizabeth OuYang, president of the New York chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans.
The Army said Wednesday that eight soldiers in his company have been charged with crimes ranging from dereliction of duty to manslaughter. In a similar case, the Marine Corps in October announced that three Marines would face court-martial on charges of hazing a fellow Marine, Harry Lew of Santa Clara, so badly that he shot himself to death in a foxhole in Afghanistan.
At the news conference, Chen's relatives said they were encouraged by the charges.
"We realize that Danny will never return, but it gives us some hope," said Yen Tao Chen, his father, speaking through a translator.
Community activists said the Army still has not fully explained the circumstances of Chen's death. They are meeting with Pentagon officials Jan. 4.
"We need to know the whole truth," Velazquez said. She added: "Racial discrimination and intolerance have no place in today's military."
The Army announced earlier it is investigating Chen's death.
Chen was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, based in Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
In a statement, the Army identified the soldiers charged as 1st Lt. Daniel J. Schwartz, Staff Sgt. Blaine G. Dugas, Staff Sgt. Andrew J. Van Bockel, Sgt. Adam M. Holcomb, Sgt. Jeffrey T. Hurst, Spc. Thomas P. Curtis, Spc. Ryan J. Offutt and Sgt. Travis F. Carden. Their hometowns were not immediately released.
VanBockel, Holcomb, Hurst, Curtis and Offutt were charged with the most serious offenses, including involuntary manslaughter, negligent homicide, and assault and battery.
Schwartz, the only officer among the accused, with charged with dereliction of duty.
Suicide Kills More Soldiers Than War in Afghanistan
One suicide per day in 2012
15 hrs agobyMary Noble
This is a shocking fact: this year, fifty percent more American soldiers died by suicide than in action in Afghanistan. In the first 155 days of the year, 154 active duty troops took their own lives - significantly more than this time in 2011. Army officials don't completely understand the trend. But they believe suicides occur partly because soldiers are afraid to seek help for mental health problems, viewing this as a sign of weakness that will harm their chances of rising through the ranks. That perception was reinforced last month, when Major General Dana Pittard stated that troops considering suicide should "be an adult, act like an adult, and deal with your real-life problems like the rest of us." The army recently started trying to reach out to soldiers at risk, promoting confidential phone helplines, and stationing more mental health workers near combat zones.
A recent Pentagon draft report entitled a "Decade of War" has highlighted how "strategic leadership repeatedly failed" in a decade of US-led wars. Lawrence Freeman from the Executive Intelligence Weekly told RT it is now the military keeping a bellicose White House in check -
1,892 US Veterans Are Thought To Have Committed Suicide Since January 1, 2014
Nearly 1,900 military veterans are thought to have taken their own lives in just 2014 alone, according to an estimate from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, ABC reports.Extrapolating from a 2012 VA report that found 22 veterans took their lives each day in 2009 and 2010, IAVA members planted 1,892 flags on the National Mall Thursday to commemorate the staggering figure.
"We are losing too many of our brothers and sisters nationwide. And we’re storming the hill to change history and transform a landscape so that America will truly take care of its own who have shouldered the burdens of war,” said IAVA Founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff in a statement to Business Insider.
Planting the flags was part of a push from IAVA to "Storm the Hill" and get legislation passed to combat suicide within the military ranks. It's a huge issue — with more than half of the 2.6 million veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan still struggling with physical or mental health problems — many of which know a fellow service member who has attempted or committed suicide, Washington Post reports.
IAVA's efforts have made an impact, as Sen. John Walsh (D-Mont.), the first Iraq war veteran to serve in the senate, introduced comprehensive legislation that would increase mental health professionals at VA, enhance collaboration with the Pentagon, and review cases of soldiers who may have been wrongly discharged for "invisible wounds."
"Returning home from combat does not erase what happened there, and yet red tape and government dysfunction have blocked access to the care that saves lives," Walsh said in a statement to Business Insider. "It is our duty to come together for real solutions for our heroes." S.2182, or the Suicide Prevention for America's Veterans Act, now heads to the Senate Veterans' Affairs committee.
Fort Hood Shooting:'A third of US troops on meds, facing stress & suicides'
Published on Apr 3, 2014 A shooting took place at the US military base at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas on Wednesday afternoon. Four people were confirmed dead including the gunman, apparently of a self-inflicted wound. The gunman was an Iraq vet treated for mental health issues.
Too Big to Audit? Pentagon multi-trillion budget under congressional fire
Published on May 26, 2014There are fresh calls in Washington for the Pentagon to come clean about how it's been spending trillions of taxpayer dollars. The Department of Defence has not audited a single budget in more than 20 years, despite demands from Congress. Megan Lopez reports.