Monday, April 13, 2009

Is It Possible to Overcome the Tragic Legacy of War?

W. Eugene Smith's "Wounded, dying infant found by American soldier in Saipan Mountains" 1944 © [1944], 2008 The Heirs of W. Eugene Smith
Past traumatic experiences can invade an individual's present with the same psychological level of destructive force that occurred at the time of the actual incident.

The loss of feeling safe, or the absence of safe haven amidst an environment of chaos and violence, and the lack of a support structure after the traumatic event, are key causal factors involved in producing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

PTSD is very high among our coalition forces, not to mention, Iraqi civilians - including a great number of children - mainly because of the aforementioned factors. The lack of boundaries - for example, IEDs on the roadside and undetectable suicide bombers, etc. meaning the enemy could literally be anywhere - and the lack of a firm foundation and easy to manage infrastructure ready to handle the profound consequences of our soldier's brutal experiences has been strongly linked with greatly increased divorce rates, increased incidence of alcohol and drug abuse, and an increased rate of suicide amongst our soldiers once they come home.

This haunting legacy of war leaves soldiers with, not only the traumatic, unrelenting, brutal images of bloody battlefields, mutilated civilians and soldiers, but, in addition, they are left with the "blood guilt", the psychologically costly endeavor of having to kill.

The high level of death and destruction experienced during war can undermine the individual's brain's ability to verbalize what he's been through, however this Vietnam veteran was able to articulate the terror he had to relive on a daily or nightly basis:

Links:

A Soldier's Legacy "Don’t ask, don’t tell, but Alan Rogers was a hero to everyone who knew him."

Jumbo jet will carry fallen soldier's legacy to Iraq - More than a year after 2nd Lt. Peter Burks was killed by a roadside bomb blast in Iraq, his father continues to send care packages to soldiers and Iraqi children — so many that American Airlines is donating a plane to fill from top to bottom. It's a partnership with Operation Iraqi Children, a charity founded by actor Gary Sinise.

U.S. Soldier's Legacy Lives On. - The "Christopher Van Der Horn Military Survivors Mental Health Access Act," which doubles the number of mental-health visits without pre-authorization to 16.

In Remembrance

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