So if you believe USA Today, our military is rife with suicides, mental health problems, divorce, troubled kids and alcohol and drug abuse.
What? No cannibalism?
But as you can guess, a lot of this is hooey.
For example, recently the rag reported that "alcohol abuse, such as binge drinking, increased from 6.1 per 1,000 soldiers in 2003 to an estimated 11.4 as of March 31."
That sounds bad, but what if you compare that figure to the general population?
Well, according to the National Institutes of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 15.5 percent of the general population reported binge drinking in 2006 — and for males alone, the number jumps to 20 percent.
Think about that. Twenty percent of jerks like me binge drink. That's one in five.
But in the military — largely made up of young males who deserve to drink — it's six per 1,000.
What does that tell you? Well, first, our soldiers are much more well-adjusted than USA Today lets on. Also, our soldiers are far more capable of handling booze than non-military bozos like myself.
That's no surprise. These are discipline dudes, and unlike me, their jobs require them to be clear-eyed and sober. As a magazine vet and a TV talking head, I can safely say that nearly all media jobs can be done drunk. The only dangerous machinery we face is an elevator.
Now to be fair to USA Today, my analysis is not perfect (I've done four shots already). Still, there's a big truth here, one that goes against that paper's and most film directors' desire to paint our soldiers as ticking time bombs.
It's that our military doesn't just rock physically, but also psychologically.
I'll drink to that.