U.S. Army Report: Crime, Prescription Drug Use Makes Soldiers ‘More Dangerous Than the Enemy’

US_Army_logoThe content of the report is not as shocking as its source: the U.S. Army itself. ABC News investigates:

After nine years of war, the U.S. Army is showing signs of stress because of repeated deployments and inadequate support for soldiers when they return, according to a blunt internal report released today. It blasts the Army’s leadership for failing to recognize the problem.

The figures in recent years are staggering.

The number of soldiers committing suicide has increased since 2004, surpassing civilian rates in 2008. Use of prescription drugs has tripled in the past five years; prescription amphetamines use has doubled between 2006 and 2009. One third of soldiers take at least one prescription drug and 14 percent of soldiers are on some form of powerful painkiller.

Crime is rising every year as well. Each year has seen an increase of 5,000 misdemeanors over the previous year, meaning soldiers are expected to commit around 55,000 such crimes in 2010. Sexual offenses have tripled since 2003. Domestic abuse is up 177 percent in the past six years.

Non-combat deaths among the force have increased steadily since 2001 to the point where the report says that in 2009 more soldiers died as a result of accidents and “high risk behavior” than at war.

“Simply stated, we are often more dangerous to ourselves than the enemy,” the report says.

The scathing assessment, commissioned by the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Peter Chiarelli, blames Army leadership for failing to realize the deteriorating trend.

“The Army realized too late that there was a very serious problem,” it says.

The study also faults Army leaders for failing to enforce discipline after violations, leading to repeat offenders whose problems spiral out of control.

“Soldiers are taking more and more risks, and gaps in policies are allowing it to happen. Ultimately, it poses the question: ‘Where has the Army’s leadership in garrison gone?’” the report asks, using the term for the period when soldiers are stationed at home between deployments…

[continues at ABC News]

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  • Hadrian999

    while non combat deaths are usually higher than combat,
    it is a travesty what the armed forces is doing to it's own people.
    when I mustered out I saw some fellow soldiers had to be heavily medicated just to be functional,
    when I was recalled I was in a group with one soldier that was basically homeless after he left the army and
    another who was recalled from a cancer , he and half his platoon were all riddled with cancer after their deployment because the were sent to guard highly toxic materials without any protection, we probably wont
    see the real cost for about 15 years or so .

    • Gemmarama

      this is bringing to mind the recent story about how more US soldiers are currently killing themselves than are being killed in combat. and that's not even including veterans… where was the global outcry at these figures?

  • Andrew

    This is the result of Marxism. The U.S. military is the largest socialist organization on the planet, in which everyone must dress the same, follow the orders of their elite superiors, pay is distributed equally according to rank and not merit, food and shelter and medical care are free, and most property is owned by the state.

    • A Bad Joke

      As a socialist, and a veteran, I can tell you the US mililtary is in no way Marxist. End of story.

      • Andrew

        Prove the military isn't socialist, with concrete examples if possible. Are any of my descriptions inaccurate, and if so, which ones?

        • Hadrian999

          positions of authority are provided by money.
          assignments/promotions/training are handed out according to who you know/who your daddy is.

    • GoodDoktorBad

      That darn Karl Marx fucked up everything for us poor violent capitalists…….

    • Brent

      Ooh nice, I like how where you pretty much said nothing by comparing the United States Military to a generic textbook definition lacking any sort of substance. That was just whiny dribble. It was like the comparison dawned on you in a vision and you thought it was so insightful and brilliant you couldn't help but spew it through the next available channel.

      • Andrew

        Your denial has even less substance than my whiny dribble.

  • A Bad Joke

    Drug use is at all time highs because of whats happening. Our troops are out there fighting for something they feel morally reprehensible about. is it no wonder they retreat into drug use? I've served 2 tours in Iraq with the Army Infantry. Frankly, I drink more than I should.

    I'm proud of my combat service. But I'm not proud about running up into another nation.

    This is a result of an unjust war, and its effects on the people fighting it.

    • A Bad Joke

      The only thing this war is doing is creating a generation of angry veterans.

      • Haystack

        Another one.

    • Hadrian999

      i know how you feel, I was infantry myself and did my stint the first year of the occupation.
      when i got back half the guys in my platoon got divorced and we all drank an insane amount.
      the real effects wont be known for a while when more and more vets start falling apart from substance
      and psychological problems.

  • Dust

    I laugh when I think that we're just sending our children into a dessert with a lot of guns and drugs. It's kind of reminiscent of something Hunter S. Thompson would enjoy doing. Yet the laughter stops when I realize that they're killing each other, innocent people, and children, without comprehending what's even going on.

  • Bhncbrah804

    Its a war. what do you expect im not trying to sound like an smart ass. but with war comes other things. its not pretty these men go out and see shit that most of us will never see. They will experience feelings, mental and physically that we will never understand till and if we are in those types of positions as they are.

    • Gemmarama

      oh, right – well that makes it ok then…

    • Andrew

      I expected this kind of shit, which is why I opposed the war in the first place. Unfortunately those who supported the war portrayed it as being easy–we would kick asses and be greeted as liberators. Most of the country was too cowardly and arrogant to listen to those who knew the war would be a mistake.

      When they're trying to sell the war they mock those who say it will be horrible as being unrealistically pessimistic, and then once it's well underway they act like those who want it to stop because it's horrible are unrealistically naive. They just change their line of bullshit to whatever's the most convenient way of avoiding the issue.

  • Eugenebrennan

    an army that cant,wont!!!!!

  • Mallamsl
  • czechwizard, google me

    True, I’ve talked to soldiers returning from Iraq, they’re just devastated, broken. I’ve sent them to Serious Entertainment http://thesixthgospel.blogspot.com/ to pull themselves together. I’m the dubbed Czech Hollywood Warrior Priest.

  • czechwizard, google me

    True, I've talked to soldiers returning from Iraq, they're just devastated, broken. I've sent them to Serious Entertainment http://thesixthgospel.blogspot.com/ to pull themselves together. I'm the dubbed Czech Hollywood Warrior Priest.