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Obama reverses military suicide letter policy

News18

First published: July 7, 2011, 3:14 AM IST | Updated: July 7, 2011
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Obama reverses military suicide letter policy
Barack Obama said this issue is emotional, painful, and complicated, but these Americans served our nation bravely.

Washington: US President Barack Obama on Wednesday reversed the long-standing policy of not sending condolence letters to families of those service men who commit suicide in the combat zone.

In a statement, Obama said he has decided to reverse a long-standing policy of not sending condolence letters to the families of service members who commit suicide while deployed to a combat zone.

The decision has been taken in consultations with the Secretary of Defense and the military chain of command.

"This decision was made after a difficult and exhaustive review of the former policy, and I did not make it lightly.

"This issue is emotional, painful, and complicated, but these Americans served our nation bravely," he said.

"They didn't die because they were weak. And the fact that they didn't get the help they needed must change," Obama said.

"Our men and women in uniform have borne the incredible burden of our wars, and we need to do everything in our power to honour their service, and to help them stay strong for themselves, for their families and for our nation," he said.

Since taking office, Obama said he has been committed to removing the stigma associated with the unseen wounds of war.

"Which is why I've worked to expand our mental health budgets, and ensure that all our men and women in uniform receive the care they need," he said.

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