Ted Turner, media mogul and the founder of CNN, told a CNN news show anchor during an Oct. 24 interview that military suicides are “good.”
“I think it’s good because it’s so clear that we are programmed — and we’re born to love and help each other, not to kill each other, destroy each other,” the media mogul said. “That’s an aberration, that’s left over from hundreds of years ago. It’s time for us to start acting enlightened.”
Essentially, Turner said, troops committing suicide is a sign that participating in war is against their human nature. It seems he is saying that the warrior ethos is so contrary to humanity that suicide is the natural response.
As the spouse of a warrior this makes my stomach turn. I know the lives my husband has taken as a result of his actions in combat weigh on him. But suicide is not the answer to the moral discussion of the justification of war. To call suicide “good” is to dismiss the problem as something that doesn’t need to be fixed, something that doesn’t need to be treated.
The problem with Turner’s remarks, other than being heinously insensitive and disturbing, is that his logic is flawed. The majority of military members who are committing suicide, research shows, have never been deployed or have only been deployed once.
If Turner was right those who are committing suicide in the military would be that have the most combat experience. But he’s not right. The research shows that there is no common denominator behind military suicide, and that the only way to intervene in potential suicides is to bring those at risk out of isolation.