Nearly 30 years ago Greg told me how it was, cutting the ears off dead men.
I had sought out Vietnam veterans to interview for a story about a pop song that was inspired by the war — “19” by Paul Hardcastle. Greg gave me an earful.
I would like to direct you to the work of Ed Tick on healing the energetic and emotional wounds of participating in war. One of his books is,”War and the Soul: Healing Our Nation’s Veterans from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder” He also is on Youtube
However shocking, the incident involving the Marines illustrates that our servicemembers have been in Afghanistan for too, too long. Without respite. Without any hope of respite. Or a clear goal. Afghanistan is unfixable, and we need to get our people home now.
As a Viet Nam vet with PTSD, I can attest to the lifelong nature of the memories and effects of war on the individual soldier. It is a different world and those who enter it must suppress their humanty in order to survive what they must do; chiefly to dehumanize the enemy so the act of killing people becomes an acceptable thing to do.
Memories dim with time, but some sights, sounds and events leave lasting scars that never go away.
I’m shocked that this the first time I have ever agreed with Leonard Pitts. Excellent column that puts a realistic face on those who go to war.
We now have an all volunteer military where supposedly you would join with the full understanding that you could be asked to go into “hell” on behalf of your country. I suspect the real problem is that our military recruiters are more like a sales force that emphasizes the “opportunities” of military service while down playing the potential horrors. I also suspect that many of these young recruits fully understand that they may face the enemy in deadly situations, yet like most young people they have little experience on which to base meaningful fears and may even see these potential deadly battles as extensions of the thrills they experience when playing one of the many insane video war games they have become accustomed to.
I hear all these do-gooder comments regarding the incident of the Marines and their expression of their feelings regarding an enemy who has absolutely no concept of respect for their fellow man/woman. They think nothing of planting roadside bombs, etc., which will maim and/or kill anyone including their own women and children. Yet here we are showing outrage at their actions, indeed, some of our elected officials even describing it as “Unamerican”. Pray tell me, is it not “Unamerican” to perpetuate a system where millions of your fellow citizens cannot afford to seek medical assistance when they are in need of such (we apparently treat Afghan citizens free of charge!), where Americans cannot keep a roof over the heads of themselves and their families or put food on their table. What hypocrits infest the seat of power in this country!!!
I agree with your article. We send people to war not as an end result but instead because we are driven by political reasons or gain for the industrial military complex and the ones that gain over war. These soliders go through a dehumanizing process and face hell at its best so that a politician can justify their lot. As a liberterian I believe that war must only be foughten when it is an absolute necessity. We fought Hitler because it was life or death. Now we have come to be involved in wars of political conquest.
The toll taken on a solider in the misery they witness and suffer is too great to put a label on.