Newly released statistics from the Pentagon show that among troops serving in the Middle East in the fight against ISIS, more have died as a result of suicide than have been killed in combat. The numbers show that of the 31 total deaths that have occurred since the war began in 2014, 11 of those have been due to suicide while only eight were killed at the hands of the enemy.
The war against ISIS, also called Operation Inherent Resolve, began in 2014. A total of 31 troops have died while serving since the campaign started over two years ago. However, of those 31 deaths, USA Today reports that 11 were a result of suicide. Combat was responsible for taking eight, while the remaining deaths were caused by accidents, illness or injury, and an unknown cause that is currently being investigated.
Because of the style of the operation, very few military members find themselves in direct contact with ISIS members themselves. Airstrikes and drones have been used to execute about 50,000 ISIS fighters, limiting the need for troops to come face-to-face with the enemy.
The largest number of casualties during a military operation since the war began happened in Jordan when three special forces soldiers were gunned down by a guard as they tried to enter an air base on November 4, 2016. The Americans were serving there to train local forces to join the fight against ISIS.
A senior behavioral scientist at the Rand Corp. who has studied military suicide told USA Today that the high numbers of US troops taking their own lives among is really difficult to explain.
“I don’t think there’s one single cause for it,” said Rajeev Ramchand, “There are a multitude of factors. They are also picking up on a trend toward more suicide in the U.S. population as a whole. Maybe there’s a universal stress on everyone in the military that affects them in profound ways.”