Saturday, April 10, 2010

Revised: My Reaction to Newsweek, April 4th ~ on Iraq War Vets

Iraq War --Julia Baird writes on The Moral Weight of War: the Marines Deserve to know the Truth ~ based on her review of Mike Sciotti's documentary Severe Clear.

The upshot of this article is that soldiers/marines coming home were disillusioned in that there were not significant findings of WMD's. She says rightly that there is psychological anguish about killing in general --and moral guilt --but especially when they get home and hear they "may not have needed to be there in the first place."

I believe there WAS evidence of a WMD agenda --and that it certainly was NO LIE that WMD were suspected and that Iraq had proven itself dangerous and would continue to be under Sadam, sharing the malicious vision of al Qaeda toward the U.S. and Israel. They did harbor one of Osama's leading ideological bed-fellows, injured in Afghanistan, in their hospital before the war and we had no reason to believe Sadam would not harbor and help fund all of al Qaeda, given the chance, considering his hatred of the U.S.

The Congressional Quarterly reported that "more U.S. military personnel had killed themselves in 2009 than had been killed in either" of our two wars that year. (Maybe they were depressed about Obama's weak commitment to national security and the fear that his general liberalness would result in reducing our nuclear capabilities, putting gays in the military, and pulling us out of the middle east too soon, undoing the purpose of all the sacrifices we made there.)

She concluded that the soldiers ended up suicidal because of this lack of WMD, plus the deaths and general carnage of war. CBS reported that young vets killed themselves at 2 and 4 x the rate of civilians aged 20-24 in the year 2005. In their 2007 report, CBS claimed that 120 vets of all ages committed suicide each week in America in the year 2005. These were not all vets from the current war on terror, however. She didn't print that figure.

I feel dreadful about war's effects on the maimed soldiers. If anyone should feel depressed, these should. The marvel is that, like the Christian Joni Tada, many of these do far better than could be expected with their limitations --and there are certainly many charitable groups raising money to help the vets and their families. And the gov't owes them.

But who has researched the reasons behind veteran suicides in 2005 or the personnel suicides of 2009?? How many were depressed because their marriages failed or their girlfriends didn't wait for them? No doubt PTSD (post traumatic....) played a role as with the Nam vets. But I wonder if for some it isn't like the end of your run in a dramatic event, a musical or play -- a let down. You aren't with your unit anymore. You come home to find your family is still dysfunctional. And there's no job --certainly none with the camaraderie and high drama of war -where you are at least treated like grown-ups for the most part though your days are planned for you.

It's interesting that the attitude about going to Iraq hasn't seemed as bad or as feared as the troops going to Viet Nam. Perhaps because in the Green Zone, life included good food, entertainment, tv, video games and women--at least some of the comforts of home? Plus the ability to phone and have email (to a point?) and not feel so completely shut off from home? Plus the fact that the soldiers were not drafted. And some CO's were better than parents.

Furthermore, I know some vets--they felt good about their service and their humanitarian works in Iraq. They took the hot weather, their heavy body gear, the danger and the deaths of their friends with the bravery of real men who believed their cause was just and that their dead friends were heroes with a heavenly destiny --and Iraqi people have expressed appreciation to them individually. After all, who wants their country ruled by those who would shred human beings, behead strangers, hide behind women's skirts, and blow up their own children's schools and public places? Who wouldn't welcome peace, order, and democracy --as these people did with their votes.

It's not surprising, however, that there are different perspectives and propaganda among soldiers as everywhere else. Surely, a great many of them come from democratic party homes --and surely some would be malcontents in any setting. And a certain percentage of the young vets would certainly be depressed because there was no job or career awaiting them at home.

And sadly, our colleges can't guarantee that anything they are teaching will result in a job. That's depressing, too.

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible


steve said...

I have to take a break from reading this blog for a bit.. it's too depressing.

Barb said...

If you go to Muck raker's I'll know you were being insincere!!!

Keith Andrew said...

Just stopping by to say hello Barb! Hope everything is going well. I check back from time to time and read your thoughts. God Bless!

Barb said...

Welcome --and same to you, Keith.

I'll stop in and see what you're up to.