Friday, July 23, 2004

I have just finished reading a very interesting article in last weeks 'New Yorker' entitled - 'The Price of Valor'. It was very interesting, it was about battle stress, trauma and how to cope with it.

One of the arguments is that soldiers are taight to kill instinctively, without thinking and this is wrong. You may blank it out that moment but it comes back, basically because the act of killing goes against the natural will of a person. If soldiers were taught to accept the idea that killing in war was morally justifiable then perhaps they could deal with the experience better.

I find it very interesting that soldiers could be studying philosophy, even religion. The author seems to feel the best approach is to introduce more religion. This is certainly a possibility. The USA does seem to have quite a large problem because they have veterans coming home from Iraq where the fighting was in close range and these people are having all sorts of mental health problems. It is probably the same in the UK. In some wars the action may all be at long range but in others such as Vietnam or Iraq, the action is a close range, and apparently the hardest, most traumatic thing is to look someone in the eyes and kill them. It is this moment that haunts veterans and causes trauma. One veteran from Vietnam said he still saw the faces of the people he killed 'almost every ten minutes'.

I find this quite shocking.

No comments: