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Condolence Letters for Suicides Adds Fuel To Debate Over War Wounds

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
President Obama’s decision to send condolence letters to the families of troops who commit suicide in Iraq or Afghanistan will fuel the ongoing debate about what it means to be wounded in combat and whether psychological maladies like depression should be accorded the same respect as physical injuries like scars or lost limbs.

The White House move comes after years of lobbying by the families of the more than 1,000 military personnel who have taken their own lives since the start of the two wars. In a written statement, Obama said he was “committed to removing the stigma associated with the unseen wounds of war” suffered by the troops who committed suicide in recent years.

“This issue is emotional, painful, and complicated, but these Americans served our nation bravely,” Obama said. “They didn’t die because they were weak. And the fact that they didn’t get the help they needed must change.”

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