In previous wars, we've had our military war fighters come back and often they had psychological challenges readjusting to society. This is normal, it has been talked about since Roman times in Western culture. It is also been discussed in ancient Chinese and Japanese writing as well. It's no secret, warfare, that is to say real war up close and personal changes a man. The young gung ho soldier running into battle is all about bravado, but their steely eyes once it's done don't lie, their innocence is lost.
We already know this, we don't need more psychologists studying this topic telling us what we already have discovered, and humankind has not changed from that historical record for as far as we can tell in the last 6000+ years; so why would it change now, because our technology has; doubtful?
The RAND Corp recently put out an interesting report in the 4th quarter of 2012 titled; "The War Within - Preventing Military Suicide" by Rajeev Ramchand, Joie Acosta, Rachel Burns, Lisa H Jaycox, and Christopher G. Pernin. The report's introduction discusses combat stress in the theater, prolonged deployments, multiple deployments, etc. and then on the issue of stress it stated;
"This stress can manifest itself in different ways - increased divorce rates, spouse and child abuse, mental distress, substance abuse - but one of the most troubling manifestations is suicide, which is increasing across the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). The increase in suicides among members of the military has raised concern among policymakers, military leaders, and the population at large."
The report also noted all the military is doing with "state-of-the-art suicide prevention programs" and "prevention science" including robust monitoring. That's all well and good, and it makes sense to get to the bottom of the problem and find a way to prevent it.
However, I have a different theory on all of this, it is a new theory, one you haven't heard before, and I would like to discuss it with you. First of all we know that sand often has in it lots of bacteria. This shouldn't surprise anyone because if you look at sand particles under a microscope you see it is all filled with old organic material. As that old material decays, and since it is high in nutrients and minerals, there is an abundance of bacteria around even with all of the sunlight and UV radiation constantly on it.
These last two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq occurred in regions filled with sand. That bacteria in the sand does have an effect on the human bio system, gene expression, and disease. We already know that people in the Middle East often feel it is their duty to commit suicide through suicide bombings and terrorist attacks. Maybe they've been subjected to this bacteria in the sand all their lives.
Now that we have brought hundreds of thousands of Americans into that theater to fight a war, they are experiencing the same thing now, to a greater degree in previous wars. I'd say this bacteria effect is an enhancement or force-multiplier to the suicide problem and psychological issues of human warfare. There's your new theory, do with it what you will, but don't deny what I've said unless you can empirically prove me wrong. Please consider all this and think on it.