Opinion: Blaming soldiers for suicides is appalling; blame the war

The news found in The Star-Ledger’s Memorial Day article, “Rutgers genetics center to study Army suicides,” was appalling — that we continue to blame the soldier, rather than war itself, for the morbidly high military suicide rate.

A $2.4 million grant will fund collection of 55,000 blood samples from active-duty soldiers, which will be studied at Rutgers’ Human Genetics Institute. The study’s goal is to determine who might be biologically predisposed to suicide due to a genetic inability to cope with intense stress. The study will determine, too, whether combat can change a soldier’s genetic makeup.

I am a Vietnam veteran and I cannot escape my memories of the genocidal training we received, nor the barbarity and cruelty we witnessed.

Read the rest of John Ketwig’s commentary at NJ Voices, a blog published by the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J.

John Ketwig, author of “… And a Hard Rain Fell: A G.I.’s True Story of the Vietnam War,” lives in Warren County, N.J.

Related editorial: U.S. must address suicides by military veterans

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