CNN founder Ted Turner, in arguing for a greater role for the United Nations as the world's policeman and condemning U.S. military spending, said recently that rise in military suicides in relation to combat deaths is a "good" development.
Turner made the comments in an appearance on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight." The interview aired Oct. 19, but the comment about military suicides was highlighted Thursday by Brietbart.com.
From the transcript of the interview:
TURNER: I think the global policeman should be the United Nations. And I don't think we should need one. I think we should use courts the way we do in civilian life. It's time to put war and conflict behind us and move on, and start acting like civilized, educated human beings.
MORGAN: You made the point to me in the break there, more American servicemen have --
TURNER: -- are dying now from suicide over there than are dying in combat.
MORGAN: That's shocking, isn't it?
TURNER: Well, what -- no, I think it's -- I think it's good, because it's so clear that we're programmed and we're born to love and help each other, not to kill each other, to destroy each other. That's an aberration. That's left over from hundreds of years ago. It's time for to us start acting enlightened.
This year, the Army has reported 146 potential active-duty and 101 for those not on active duty through September, according to the latest figures released.
The latest figures for Army personnel killed in action in Afghanistan put the number this year at 159, and 214 for all branches of the military.
Turner's comment about military suicides vs. combat deaths came after an extended criticism by Turner of the amount of money the United States' spends on the military and wars.
"We spend half a trillion dollars or more now. And what are we getting for it? What did we gain by the war in Iraq, for instance? What a disaster. The war in Afghanistan, a disaster. The war in Pakistan, a disaster. The war in Vietnam, a disaster." he said.
"We don't even know who wins and who loses. The last time anybody surrendered was Japan in 1945. Nobody else has surrendered. It's just war is a waste of time and effort. And it's consuming far too many of our resources, particularly here in the United States. Our military budget is bigger than the whole rest of the world's military budget put together.
"And you know, there really isn't a threat that warrants that. But the military industrial complex is so entrenched, so strong now that none of the -- none of the Congressional candidates have attacked the military budget. It's -- it's -- it's suicidal to do it."