- A total of 247 U.S. army personnel are suspected to have taken their own lives between January and September
- This compares to 222 combat deaths in Afghanistan to October 22
- CNN founder claims it’s time to put war and conflict behind us and ‘start acting like civilized, educated human beings’
By Helen Pow
PUBLISHED: 15:48 EST, 25 October 2012 | UPDATED: 16:00 EST, 25 October 2012
CNN founder Ted Turner says he thinks it’s ‘good’ that U.S. soldiers are committing suicide in large numbers because it highlights how humans are ‘born to love and help each other, not to kill.’
The 73-year-old media mogul made the controversial remarks during an appearance on the TV station’s ‘Piers Morgan Tonight’ last Friday, shortly after the army’s latest figures on troop suicides were released.
The data shows that more army personnel have taken their own lives this year than have died in combat in Afghanistan.
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Referring to the startling figures, Morgan says to Turner: ‘That’s shocking isn’t it?’
But Turner doesn’t agree, and almost goes as far as to say army suicides are ‘terrific.’
‘Well, what — no, I think it’s — I think it’s good, because it’s so clear that we’re programmed and we’re born to love and help each other, not to kill each other, to destroy each other,’ he says. ‘That’s an aberration. That’s left over from hundreds of years ago. It’s time for to us start acting enlightened.’
Earlier in the interview, Morgan asks Turner’s view on foreign policy, and whether he believes America should continue to be the world’s policeman.
‘I don’t think we should need one,’ Turner replies. ‘I think we should use courts the way we do in civilian life. It’s time to put war and conflict behind us and move on, and start acting like civilized, educated human beings.’
Even before not-yet-released data from October, the number of suicides among active and reserve army personnel this year has surpassed the number of combined military combat deaths from January to October 22, according to CNS News.
A total of 247 U.S. army personnel are believed to have taken their own lives between January and September this year, army data shows. This compares to 222 deaths from ‘hostile causes’ in Afghanistan.
The figures, collated by the Brookings Institution, show an extra 40 troops were killed by ‘non-hostile causes’ while on deployments in the country.
This means their deaths were not caused by the Taliban, insurgency forces or Afghan forces.
The latest army statistics, released last Friday, show 15 active duty soldiers are suspected of killing themselves last month alone. The same number of potential suicides was recorded in August.
‘Every suicide in our ranks is a tragic loss for the Army family, adversely affecting the readiness of our Army,’ Lt. Gen. Howard B. Bromberg, deputy chief of staff for manpower and personnel, said in a Department of Defense release.
‘I am asking soldiers, family members, Department of the Army civilians, neighbors, and friends to look out for each other and reach out and embrace those who may be struggling,’ he said.
‘Recognize the warning signs such as substance abuse, relationship problems, and withdrawal from friends and activities and use available resources to help yourself or others. Our actions can save lives.’
For the year up to September, 146 potential suicides were recorded among active-duty army personnel and an additional 101 possible suicides were recorded for troops not on active duty.
Marine Corps commandment James Amos said the problem wasn’t confined to the army and that all armed services were experiencing a ‘tough year’ when it came to suicides, according to CNS.news.
‘Even with the attention of the leadership, I think all the services this year are feeling it,’ Amos said.
‘I guess what I would tell everybody here is there is, through no shortage of great effort and leadership on the part of all the services to try to abate this, but this year, I think, is going to be a tough year for all the services.’