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Government computers to predict Army suicides

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9 October 2013


Predicting suicides in the Army will be the latest triumph of 12-bit programming.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The government announced plans to put banks of computers to work to predict suicides in the armed forces before they happen.

Suicide is a stain on the military, which properly only kills foreigners. The problem is growing worse each year, as the armed forces are "repurposed" toward outreach to Muslims, non-threatening workplaces for lesbian activists, lower standards for soldiers too frail to carry a duffel bag, and reading enemy combatants their Miranda warnings. "It just drives me crazy that we can't figure (it) out," says Army Deputy Undersecretary Thomas Hawley. Certainty is the key to this career military officer, who personally both provided proof of the Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq and wrote the study that Rumsfeld used that showed that post-war Iraq would be peaceful and productive.

But the Army now stands at the edge of a science-driven answer as radical as it is simple: predicting which soldiers will kill themselves before they can get around to it.

To perform these life-saving calculations, the Army will employ the same computers that famously managed to register only 211 Americans during the entire first week of President Obama's health-care reform. Hawley notes that it is not a black mark against these machines that they "crapped the cot" on the Affordable Care Act, as income verification was waived, the benefits have not yet been codified, and even the cost of a bottle of pills is unknowable.

Epidemiologist Michael Schoenbaum says his team applied a complex set of risk factors to the nation's soldiers, producing a rating that's a "flag for whom do you target for special care."

He says that additional computers will be loaned to the effort from the IRS. These computers will pinpoint servicemen who identify with the Tea Party movement, talk about Second Amendment rights, and refer to fetuses as "unborn children." Scheoenbaum says they are especially likely to contemplate death over a career in the U.S. military.

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