USA Today (12/29, Brook) reports newly released statistics from the Pentagon show that suicide is “the leading killer of US troops deployed to the Middle East to fight Islamic State militants.” As of Dec. 27, 31 troops have died in Operation Inherent Resolve. Of those, 11 took their own lives, eight died in combat, seven died in accidents, and four died as a result of illness or injury. One other death is under investigation. Experts on military suicide say the reasons it is the leading cause of troop deaths “are complex and poorly understood,” but they “likely include mental illnesses that enlistees brought with them to boot camp, post-traumatic stress, multiple combat deployments and heightened anxiety in a military at war for 16 years.”
— “Suicide kills more U.S. troops than ISIL in Middle East,”Tom Vanden Brook, USA Today, December 29, 2016.