A father visits the grave of his son, who died while fighting in Iraq, at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia on September 10, 2011.
American military doctors say the number of suicides in the US Army jumped by 80 percent after the Iraq invasion.
Before 2003, the percentage of Army suicides was below civilian rates, but it started to climb in 2004, one year after the US-led invasion, according to the doctors’ analysis, which was expected to appear in the British journal Injury Prevention
In 2008, 140 Army servicemen committed suicide, a rate, which reflected an 80 percent increase from 2004, the article noted. The suicide rate was also a lot higher than that of the civilian society’s, it said.
"This increase, unprecedented in over 30 years of US Army records, suggests that 30 percent of suicides that occurred in 2008 may be associated with post-2003 events following the major commitment of troops to Iraq, in addition to the ongoing operations in Afghanistan," said the paper.
It noted that more than one-fifth of all active-duty troops suffered from some kind of mental disorder.
According to three different studies published in the American Journal of Public Health
in January, many US military personnel and veterans are struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression or other consequences of deployment to war zones.
A study of almost 600 US veterans returning from Iraq or Afghanistan showed that nearly 14 percent of them were suffering from PTSD and 39 percent from probable alcohol abuse.
All the American troops, except for military contingents attached to the US Embassy in Baghdad and US consulates in the country, left Iraq in December 2011.
Washington launched the invasion in 2003 under the pretext that Iraq was in possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
However, later it was revealed that not only the former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, was not in possession of WMDs, but also that the US and UK leaders, who had defended the military action, knew about the non-existence of such weapons.
More than one million Iraqis were killed during the 2003-2011 invasion and subsequent occupation, according to the California-based investigative organization, Project Censored.