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Suicides Among U.S. Troops in Iraq

October 22, 2003

In "Joint Chiefs Chairman Worried by Morale Poll" (Oct. 17) I learned that 13 American soldiers have committed suicide in Iraq and that morale is all but desperate. This led me to wonder: Are soldiers who die outside of combat included in the number that one sees in your lead articles? The true cost of our occupation of Iraq should certainly include people killed by accident; after all, they would still be alive if they had not been deployed in Iraq. Training and accidental deaths are part of war.

And those soldiers who take their own lives in despair? To my mind, it is even more important to know about them. I think we should also know how many soldiers have been discharged with psychological or emotional distress. The military, of course, would like to keep such matters secret. Please write about this tragedy more prominently.

Rob Riddell

Pasadena

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