White House Changes Military Condolence Letter Policy

Posted July 6th, 2011 at 4:40 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

The White House has announced it is changing its policy on sending condolence letters to the families of military service members who commit suicide while deployed to a combat zone.

U.S. President Barack Obama released a statement Wednesday saying he will begin sending condolence letters to those families, as well as to service members who die as a result of combat operations.

Mr. Obama said the issue of military suicide is “emotional, painful, and complicated.” He added that those who took their own lives did not die because they were weak, but because they did not get the help they needed. He said that must change.

The White House has been reviewing the issue of the condolence letters since 2009. Some military families and senators have pushed for the change.

In the past, the White House has sent condolence letters to families of service members who died either in combat or as a result of noncombat incidents in a war zone.

The change, effective immediately, will not apply to military suicide victims in the U.S. or on foreign bases not considered combat zones.

In the past the military had not sent out condolence letters for suicides because authorities feared recognizing such deaths would encourage more suicides.