Today’s post is about an artcile from a recent issue of the New York Times. Across America, Deadly Echoes of Foreign Battles is about Iraq veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorcer (PTSD).
Matthew Sepi, the young man in the lead-in in the first article, is a battle-hardened veteran of the war in Iraq, yet he is only 20 years old – not old enough in Nevada, where he lives, to buy his own beer. For him, beer is essential. It is how he quiets the ghosts of his experience in Iraq, how he deals with his PTSD.
That is a disgrace. This young man put his life on the line in service of his dountry, and yet, when he comes home from this service, he is forced to resort to alcoholism to combat the psychological damage that experience did to him. Where is the support for our troops now, Mr. Bush? Are these younf people so expendable after they have fought in\r\nyour war? Are you really that callous?
I have a real problem with\r\nthis whole idea of sending children to fight our battles. And, be not mistaken, that is what our troops are, for the most part, children. They are not psychologically prepared to deal with the stress of\r\ncombat. Their psyches tend, as all the incidents listed in the Times\r\narticle, prove, too often are permanently damaged by that stress.
So, why do we train these children to be combat troops?
Somple, they are young and still very impressionable, very moldable. Military training is designed to mold these children into killing machines, who obey orders without qyestion, who react without thinking, following what they were taught in their military training. That works well as long as they are in the military, and in combat.
But, once they get out of the military and have to survive in the civilian world, where the rules are very different, then these children become a problem, even criminals in the legal sense. And as they mature and their moral sense grows and deepens, many are, like Matthew Sepi, haunted by the memories of what they did while in the military. But, for all their training while in the military, they were never trained to cope with those memories, nor are they provided any psychological follow-up after they leave the military. Providing money for such a program is wasteful and irresponsible in Mr. Bush’s eyes.
The only time these children receive help from the government is when it is too late – after they\r\nhave done what they were trained to do – kill – in the civilian world. Then they might get help. They have to make the headlines first and there have to be mortuary statistics before the government deems them worthy of help.
The article is very sympathetivc to these children and that is good. Perhaps with more media coverage like this, the people of this country will begin to realize the cost of war, not in military dollars or military casualties, but in shattered lives and\ innocence lost.
Children should not be sent to fight our wars. I suggest that the United Nations build a replica of the Roman Colosseum in New York and force the politicians who want war to face each other in gladitorial combat in that arean. Broadcast it live on\r\ninternational television. I can jiust see it now – George Bush versus Osama bin Ladn, It woulld be bigger than the Thrilla in Manila or the Rumble in the Juingle.
Wars have rarely solved anything. Even Wolrd War II. Yes, it did put an end to the Nazi attempt at world domination, but the real problems that led to the rise to power of the Nazis in Germany, the Fascists in Italy, and the militarists in Japan still exist. We still have the same prejudices, the same marrow-minded nationalism, the same old hatreds that have fueled war for millenia.
The majority of Americans tend to see themselves as “good Christians” uet\r\nthey ignore the second most important commandment that Jesus taught – love one another as I have loved you. We do not love in any Christian sense of the word. We only love ourselves and hate everyone else. We are a nation of hyprocrites and, as Malcolm X said forty years ago after the assassination of John Kennedy, America’s chickens are coming home to roost.
If we truly want to be a Christian country, as\r\nthe Christian fundamentalsits in this country want, then lets start\r\nfollowing Christ”s teaching in our foreign policy. Let”s unilaterally\r\ndeclare a moratorium on war and saber-rattling. Did Jesus not say that those who live by the sword will die by the sword?
What I am about to say is heretical, but it seems to me that the God that Jesus\r\ncalled Father is not the God of the Flood or of Sodom and Gomorrah or\r\nof the walls of Jericho. He is not the God of David or solomon. Rather he is the God of Jeremiah and Ezekiel. The God that Jesus called Father is not the God of the Code of Hammurabi – an eye for an eye – but rather the God of Love and Peace.
The Christian\r\nfundamentalists/evangelicals pray for the Second Coming. But Christ will not come again until we learn to be like Christ. I suspect that if he came right now, he would have to relive the Crucifixion, and those who hope most for his coming would be first in line to hammer in the nails.