I watched a very disturbing documentary tonight about soldiers returning from the Iraq war and dealing with post traumatic stress syndrome. There are many reasons that I don’t agree with war, but the mental and emotional harm experienced by soldiers is one that I haven’t thought much about. There is a stigma within the military about seeking mental health treatment- many soldiers that come home from war are haunted by the sights, sounds, smells and fear that they faced in combat. Many families suffer as their soldier comes home and children and spouses are left to deal with the depression and anxiety that comes from post traumatic stress syndrome.
One crazy fact that the documentary points out is that soldiers dealing with PTSS are often enrolled in a 10 week group therapy session and then reassigned to another tour. One specialist talks about how if a woman was raped and had mental and emotional damage, even after receiving treatment, if she was raped a second time, the damage done to her would certainly be cumulative and it’s unlikely that she would be more resilient because of her first rape.
War is a horrible thing- innocent lives are lost. Even those who come home, as this documentary candidly points out, have in a sense, lost their lives.
One shocking story told in the documentary is of a soldier who was on a mission patrolling a city in Iraq and saw a fully covered woman, wearing a burka, walking slowly towards the hum-vees where the American soldiers were. She was carrying a plastic bag and the troops began to scream at her ordering her to stop walking towards them, thinking she was a suicide bomber. So, thinking that he had to shoot the woman, or risk his troops, the man opened fire on her. Other troops following suit, opened their weapons and the woman was torn to pieces. As she fell to the ground the contents of her plastic bag tumbled to the ground….she was carrying a white flag…no bomb, just a white flag. No wonder the soldier who initiated fire on her started to lose it a bit. War forces soldiers to objectify the ‘enemy’ so it makes it possible to kill and not feel as though you are killing a human. But this woman’s death reminded the soldier that was IS about killing.
It’s a powerful documentary and you can watch the entire thing here.
Support our troops…bring them home.