Scars of war

I was reading this post on reddit about someone who witnessed a rather severe PTSD-induced (posttraumatic stress disorder) psychotic episode. Just being present while someone else (a Vietnam War veteran) was experiencing an episode was understandably very traumatic for the author.

I found this quote (from Jarhead) in the post’s comments:

A story: A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he’s finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands, love a woman, build a house, change his son’s diaper; his hands remember the rifle.

The impact of war is felt well beyond the term of the war. Not only in the scars left in the minds of former soldiers (and non-combatants), but also in the ongoing impact on family and friends. A broken cog deforms those around it, and these problems propagate throughout the machine of society.

I find it reprehensible that our political leaders are so willing to send others to war – especially when deciding factors more often concern economic gain (cold war, oil, gas) rather than objective safety and security. I feel absolutely sick to my gut hearing hollow justifications for the atrocity of war.

There’s a reason why the VVCS (Vietnam Veterans’ Family Counselling Service) has a free 24-hour Clinical Counsellor telephone service: almost 40 years later, the war casts a dark shadow over former soldiers and those close to them.

When the United Nations was formed after World War II, it was declared that:

WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED NATIONS DETERMINED to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, …

Those words carry a collective understanding of the impact of war on all of society, and yet war continues to this day – serving the interests of corporate greed and economic power. And it deeply disappoints me.

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