'We've Got 18 Vets a Day Who Are Killing Themselves in the United States'

Former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen describes, in dramatic detail, the stresses put on soldiers and their families since 9/11.

Notes from the Aspen Ideas Festival -- See full coverage

The whole clip above is worth watching.

If you've got time for just one quote, here's my pick:

"If I'm a 5-year-old boy or girl in the family of one of these deploying units for the army whose average deployment was 12 months at a time, and my dad or mom - but mostly my dad - has deployed at this pace, I'm now fifteen or sixteen years old, and my dad has been gone three, four or five times. And my whole conscious life, from the time when I was five and I started to figure out that there was something out there, my whole conscious life has been at war. The United States has never, never experienced that before. And we see incredible stresses on families.

Now we are coming home. By no means are we home.  We still have 90,000 troops in Afghaistan. And I believe we're going to see a couple decades of challenges associated with the stresses we've not been dealing with and the issues we've been packing away. Indicative of that is the incredible suicide rate we have on the active side, which is even despite all the efforts of leadership to contain it, is in the army this year higher now than it was a year ago. And another statistic that hasn't gotten much traction is that we've got 18 vets a day who are killing themselves in the United States."
Presented by

Conor Friedersdorf is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He lives in Venice, California, and is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Confessions of Moms Around the World

A global look at the hardest and best job ever

Video

A Stop-Motion Tour of New York City

A filmmaker animated hundreds of still photographs to create this Big Apple flip book

Video

The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"

Video

This Japanese Inn Has Been Open for 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.

More in National

Just In