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Iraq, Vietnam and national trauma

The Iraq war is becoming more and more reminiscent of the Vietnam war. Foreign Policy poke some grim fun of that comparison, by altering a brief from the Vietnam war on the repercussions of defeat - merelyreplacing "Vietnam" with Iraq.

But the Washington Post presents a piece of journalism that draws on the vast topical luggage of the Vietnam war, when they paint the situation of a 20-year combat veteran at the psychiatric ward of Walter Reed hospital.

Little Relief on Ward 53 - A chilling read that draws on the tradition of alienated combat veterans in American society. Among other horrors of the clash between bureaucracy and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is when the veteran is approached by an official who tries to make the soldier wear a patch to stop smoking: "The surgeon general is concerned about all the soldiers coming home with smoking habits," as he says.

If nothing else, the US will have gotten a grand, dark hole, from which will crawl magnificent monsters of literature, art and senseless violence in the years to come, as a large number of young men return with death on their mind. One of the veterans frame this, and echoes his colleagues 30-40 years back:

"All the banners said 'Welcome Home Heroes,' " Rearick said. "But the moment we start falling apart it's like, 'Never mind.' For us, it was the beginning of the dark ages. It was the dreams. It was going to the store and buying bottles of Tylenol PM and bottles of Jack."



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Concerning the article on PTSD, I just wanted to write that it may benefit active duty & veteran family?s / friends of veterans to read a recently released book titled, ?Still the Monkey: What Happens to Warriors After War?? "Author Alivia C. Tagliaferri became inspired to write Still the Monkey: What Happens to Warriors After War after she visited the Walter Reed Medical Center in the summer of 2003, and saw first hand the casualties of the War on Terror. Her later interview with a former Marine and Vietnam Veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder helped cement her determination to express the devastating toll of war. Still the Monkey is a historical fiction novel about a Vietnam veteran plagued with pain and sickness, and his fateful meeting with an Iraq veteran who lost both his legs. For ten days inside the walls of Walter Reed's Monologue House, the two of them begin a painful yet ultimately cathartic progression toward healing and learning to live again, one day at a time. A poignant and powerful novel, written out of the deepest respect and admiration for the men and women who put their lives on the line for the sake of their nation.? - Midwest Book Review.

At you can learn more about this book, which is reality-based work of historical fiction that depicts the problems caused by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among returning veterans. I hope this post helps educate people out there that need assistance. Take care and God bless.

20/6/07 22:50


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