Warriors throughout world history were sent off to war with trumpets, drums, celebrations or religious ceremonies. And over those thousands of years, young men and women were victors or the vanquished. Celebrated as heroes, or corpses left behind in distant lands. Where there are records, including Chinese and Aztec tombs, ancient Akkadian tablets, Homeric Greek dramas, Roman histories, and Biblical scrolls, men and women went into battle blessed by the gods of one side or the other.
“The victims of PTSD often feel morally tainted by their experiences, unable to recover confidence in their own goodness, trapped in a sort of spiritual solitary confinement, looking back at the rest of the world from beyond the barrier of what happened. They find themselves unable to communicate their condition to those who remained at home, resenting civilians for their blind innocence. David BrooksThe Moral Injury, New York Times. Feb 17, 2015″ , via goodreads.com
War has always been brutal. Long before “civilized” conduct of war, if there is such a thing, treatment of enemy prisoners, women and children was often slavery or death. Even in the Twenty-First Century, we learn of kidnapping, abuse, and sexual slavery still being committed throughout the world. How many victims were emotionally scarred? How many returning warriors over the millennia were affected by such brutality?
While histories do not record the struggles of the victims of war, and we cannot help the long ago dead, we know that, in America alone, some 22 veterans a day commit suicide. Alcohol and substance abuse, reckless behaviors, and firearms, all contribute to someone with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder killing themselves.
War demands sacrifice of the people. It gives only suffering in return. – Frederic Clemson Howehttps://sayingimages.com/war-quotes/
Where does the isolation begin? People do not know their neighbors, and do not develop real, vulnerable, honest friendships with one another. Governments which send young people to war, have only overwhelmed or emotionally-detached bureaucrats who quickly “treat” veterans and then move to the next sufferer. Communities develop a NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) reflex to homelessness and addiction, and many expect veterans to simply ‘get over it’. Societies do not have a “moral” center anymore. Mass media incessantly blare stories of anger, outrage, frustration, violence, and political blame-gaming. Media sensationalizes suffering; bickering within communities has created more isolation. in such a state, people do not recognize a potential suicide victim’s quiet withdrawal – even within their own household.
While everyone seems to have an opinion about the easy access to firearms in America, the easy access to prescription drugs, as well as methamphetamine, heroin, and the most misused though legal drug, alcohol, is no less a societal problem. When liquor store owners knowingly provide booze to alcoholics, on credit, because they know their customer receives State aid and will be paid – they knowingly contribute to that person’s death – or some innocent’s death or injury along the way. That is a problem society should address with equal outrage as to those with firearms.
A first step? Let us as people stop dividing ourselves into “us” and “them”. With that first step, we can then work on empathy. Personal responsibility. And action.
Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime. – Ernest Hemingwayhttps://sayingimages.com/war-quotes/
On the sixth of June, 1944, seventy- five years ago, more than a hundred- fifty thousand Allied troops became heroes on D-Day.
My late mother was a 12 year old schoolgirl living on the shores of the Belfast Lough in Northern Ireland. She told me of a foggy early morning probably a few days before the invasion when she saw many ships in the Lough only to disappear a day later. That capped a brief visit days earlier of an American cousin in her mother’s family, a Merchant Marine, who she later learned had been decorated for bravery in the Battle for Malta in 1942.
While some may think that Northern Ireland was far from the Blitz – the campaign the Nazi waged against Britain – German bombers attempting to destroy or disable aircraft manufacturing and the Belfast shipyard from April through May 1941, destroyed a considerable part of the city. A thousand were killed, many were injured and more than 100,000 were left homeless. Once the Nazis started their campaign against the Soviet Union in June 1941, they diverted their bombers.
My mother and family were fortunate in that their home was not bombed but the family retail business was unable to recover from the bombing of the city and the economic conditions which persisted all through the war and the remainder of the decade. And so my mother’s family became emigres to the United States in 1948 (other relatives had been living in the United States since the mid-19th Century).
Yesterday, December seventh, 1941, a date which will live in infamy, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. We will gain the inevitable triumph, so help us God. Franklin D. Roosevelt
Every generation has those who believe morally (spiritually) or intellectually in “world peace”. That coexistence of disparate ideologies are obtainable goals for mankind. Others believe that economic interdependence among nations is the key. Redistribution of wealth -generally that of political and social opponents – to those who have much less – by a paternalistic governing authority is a popular theme. And still others believe that superior military firepower will thwart aggression. In the last decades of the Twentieth Century and through the first two of the new Millennium, people have thought that accommodation, neutral stances and open-mindedness on everything from language to social services, gender and religion would bring about “coexistence”.
It doesn’t matter what the topic is, but what is disturbing to someone raised in the last years of the American post-WWII “Baby Boomer” generation, that discernment, wisdom, dialogue, and critical thinking have been tossed away. Feelings and hypersensitivity to the possibility that people may encounter ideas and attitudes that run counter to what they have been taught, have resulted in redefining “free speech”. And in an age where the leader of our country is hypersensitive to criticism, narcissistic and uses social media to incessantly comment on his political adversaries, we have other elected representatives refusing to obey legal statute, convention or address public safety concerns. These highly insulated folks pander to an audience who are not citizens of the nation. Judges do not rule on the merits of a statute based on the founding documents of the nation, but on interpretation and personal feelings. In Government, universities, public education (K – 12), and almost all information and entertainment mediums, the end goals of the broadcaster are fixed and unwaverable – with supporting data, “expert opinion”, and “statistics” found and scrubbed to present support for the “conclusion” reached. Dissent is met with ridicule and occasional violence.
The latest examples of how improbable it is to coexist, except on the bumpers of socially conscious Western Europeans and North Americans vehicles, is the perpetual state of violence: against Jews, Kurds, Ukrainians, Syrians, people in the Horn of Africa, Central Asia, and the Central and South America. With warlords, drug cartels, extremists, zealots, and criminal gangsters, there has been only violence, sex trafficking, child slavery, murder and anarchy, but no peaceful coexistence. International groups bring relief to hurting or starving refugees, risk being kidnapped, murdered, raped, or at best, had their aid looted and mission closed. There are nation-states like Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Russia, who support groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, Taliban, or the now-splintered Al Qaeda and ISIS.
Sixty years after the world went to war over geopolitical ideology, and rallied to oppose and end genocide in the process,, an ideology that has in its core tenets, an open hostility and warfare with Jews, Christians and – infidels, executes a malevolent plan against the United States, resulting in the deaths of nearly three thousand people. Whether the barbarism of a faction or yet another example of how people cannot coexist with differing ideologies, this was only the last of several attacks prior to September 11th which killed numerous military members and civilians of many nations, carried out under the banner of “fundamentalists”. And even as recently as today, more funerals, more anguish and more antagonism between rivals indicate that peaceful coexistence is as difficult to obtain unless one side is being buried and the other, performing the eulogy.
I think, in the wake of Sept. 11, it’s important for the American public to understand that to the extent that there are individuals within the United States who would undertake terrorist attacks, that we are doing something to address that. Robert Mueller