Female Suicide Bombers increasing in Iraq

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The number of female suicide bombers has more than tripled in Iraq — from 8 in 2007 to 29 so far this year — according to US military officials. This alarming increase is noticeable in northern Iraq, where violence continues at high levels.

Just this week, a female suicide bomber killed six people and wounded 54 in an attack on an outdoor market in Tal Afar, in Turkomen province. This is the second suicide bomb in that market in a month — the first one killed 28 people and injured 72. It goes without saying that most of the people shopping in a market are innocent women trying to buy food ingredients to cook supper.

Meanwhile in Baghdad yesterday, another suicide bomber struck a convoy carrying former deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi, The bomber missed Chalabi but killed his 6 bodyguards. Before the war, Chalabi was one of the voices who insisted that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, an argument that precipitated the US invasion.

According to the Iraqi police, one of the difficulties they face in maintaining security is the growing number of women who are carrying out suicide missions. Some of these are almost children — Kurdish authorities captured a 17-year old girl wearing an explosives vest in Irbil province. They are being hideously exploited by cowardly extremists.

40% of US troops sent to Iraq and Afghanistan troops require medical treatment

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The latest information from Veterans for Common Sense shows a continued increase in the number of veterans who are seeking medical care from VA hospitals and clinics, and another steep increase in the number of returning troops who are diagnosed with mental health conditions.

The latest numbers show tha4 347,750 (40% of all patients) have been treated at VA medical facilities.

147,744 have been treated for mental health problems, of whom about half have been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  For complete records, see:

Army Suicides Reach Record Levels in 2008

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Since the US invasion of Iraq, the suicide rate among US troops has reached record levels.

There were 67 suicides in 2004, 87 in 2005, 102 in 2006, 115 in 2007.  The Army suicide rate per 100,000 population has increased from 9.8 in 2002 to 18.1 in 2007.

By the end of August, 2008, there were already 62 confirmed suicides and 31 apparent suicides among active duty troops and guards.  At a Pentagon news conference, Col. Eddie Stephens, deputy director of human resources, said that  if all these suicides are confirmed as expected, the total number for 2008 will eclipse the 2007 rate.

The Army has been increasing the number of psychiatric personnel and mental health programs, but so far the situation seems to be getting worse, not better.

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