President Donald Trump. Photo: Air Force Tech. Sgt. Vernon Young.

The White House's new executive order targeting veteran suicide is a commitment long overdue, though it's not surprising, given President Donald Trump's loud and vocal support of our military and veterans, that he is taking up the charge.

The latest report from the VA establishes that 20 veterans a day die by suicide. This administration now owns that number and the people behind it, in ways it did not before.

The President's Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS) is a mouthful, literally and metaphorically. A massive undertaking, the pathway ahead is unclear and fraught with the opportunity to misstep. There is no one-size fits all solution for suicide. Therefore, there must be an acknowledgement of the diversity of the veteran population if any solution is to be successful.

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Cris Weisbecker, Education Services Officer at the Wiesbaden Education Center, gives a presentation to U.S. Army Signal Soldiers about higher education opportunities and Army services during the 102nd Strategic Signal Battalion, 2nd Theater Signal Brigade, quarterly Soldier Development Program Jan. 18, 2018 in Wiesbaden, Germany. The Soldier Development Program provides Soldiers with information on a wide variety of personal and professional topics, including higher education, designed to grow junior Soldiers into future leaders. (U.S. Army photo by William B. King) (Photo Credit: William King)

In a recent open letter to Microsoft President Brad Smith and CEO Satya Nadella, a group of Microsoft workers demanded that Microsoft cancel its $479 million contract with the United States Army. Established last year, this contract committed Microsoft to supply technology for the Army's Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS), leveraging its HoloLens augmented reality technology to design headsets for use in combat and training. The letter is the workers' refutation of creating technology for "warfare and oppression," arguing that the contract is Microsoft's foray into weapons development.

Rather than provide insight or commentary on the ethics of corporate cooperation with government, the letter lays bear the signatories' ignorance of warfare and combat trauma.

It is virtue signaling masquerading as thought leadership.

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There is an inherent connection between warfighting and politics, one that has complicated how and why we honor our nation’s war dead since the nation's founding.

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