RANGER AGAINST WAR: Rethinking Resrepo, II <

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Rethinking Resrepo, II

We say "We'll never forget" our soldiers,
but we will forget their needs 
--Ranger observation

 The tough part is, uh...
Not knowing if you're doing any good.
That's the hard part
--The Thin Red Line (1998)
 
_____________________
Returning veterans from the recent wars suffer a 20-30% incidence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), according to recent pieces in the Purple Heart and Disabled American Veterans publications. What does this signify?

It is hard to imagine that an Army which fought in Corregidor, Bataan, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Guadalcanal, Anzio, Normandy, The Bulge, Huertgen Forest or the Imjin had a PTSD rate roughly equivalent to today's (with a PTSD evacuation rate of 10%, according to most histories.) This casualty rate seems appropriate for the intense level of combat sustained by those troops.

But have troops in the Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©) experience those levels of sustained violence? All of the battles in the PWOT were small unit actions, not sustained significant battles. So why the high PTSD rate?

The questions arises not from malice, but concern. The answer seems to devolve to the questions of legitimacy and truthfulness. Regardless of the propaganda, the troops know the Truth. They see the poverty of the people, the meaninglessness of their mission, the corruption of the host nation's government for which they and their fellows die and sacrifice.

Our soldiers are sacrificial lambs on an altar of deception. They know they are not fighting for liberty and freedom, and it is this tension which causes the long-term stress. In the documentary Restrepo it was evident in the eyes of many of the soldiers interviewed.

They know that their service will change nothing in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that is the rub -- so how do they deal with this understanding?

Our society must recognize the dire loss of fitness suffered by these soldiers and citizens. Forget compassion, but on a pragmatic level alone, we should recognize that some missions are not worth the effort, and that our soldiers are not unfeeling G. I. Joe's; while they may escape physical harm, they will not escape the mental effects of warfare.

Soldiers should not live or die in vain, and when we place them in a position of futility, we are imposing that nullity upon them. Moreso than the violence it is rather the meaninglessness of the entire effort that damages their psyche. The soldiers know that their lives means less than the mission; that's what they signed up for.

But when the mission means zilch, you enter the realm of the surreal. When the rational mind meets with that, you end up with a crash-up.

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5 Comments:

Anonymous Deryle said...


:crashup indeed.
Go Here. Ya'll..watchit:

http://vimeo.com/68704406
password: HoCHiMinh

crashup described.
Indeed.

D

Saturday, November 30, 2013 at 4:41:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Peter of Lone Tree said...

"...while they may escape physical harm, they will not escape the mental effects of warfare." -- Ranger Jim

"It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped its shells, were destroyed by the war." -- Erich Maria Remarque

Saturday, November 30, 2013 at 10:09:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Underground Carpenter said...

Jim,

"We say 'We'll never forget' our soldiers,
but we will forget their needs"


About 30 years ago, a rafter broke and I fell to the ground. My back still hurts at times. The contractors I've worked for have almost certainly forgotten me, and no one much cares about my needs. I've never heard anyone say, "If you have a roof over your head, thank a carpenter." And no one ever gives me a discount for my "service."

When humans figure out that the military they worship fights for a government, not them, I'll have hope for the future. On that shining day when a soldier can look his officer in the eye and say, “Gee Sarge, I just don’t feel like killing anyone today," then humans will have evolved.

Dave

Sunday, December 1, 2013 at 6:35:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

My son, a PWOT combat vet, gets this glazed look every time someone repeats the, "Thank you for your service" mantra. He says, "why is this person thanking me? I didn't do anything for him. I'm not a hero. I didn't fight to preserve anything righteous. I was just fighting because some politician decided I could help him out with some backroom deals".

So, agreed.

Some additional points: PWOT soldiers kill a lot of civilians - not from 20,000 feet like in WW2, but right up close. Nobody wants to that and it sits badly with all who do it. Then there's multiple deployments in a war without end.

It's a bleak nihilistic mind set to realize that your government will keep deploying you, on meaningless missions, to be a killer, until you are, yourself, killed or maimed beyond repair.



Tuesday, December 3, 2013 at 4:25:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

No one,
I reckon it goes beyond saying but in all the battles that i mention we were fighting organized armies of a high threat level.
In the PWOT we are fighting individuals who we are supposedly there to help.
It's a twisted mess.
My best to your son.
jim

Tuesday, December 3, 2013 at 11:31:00 AM GMT-5  

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