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I am not a veteran. I have never served in the military forces. I have never seen combat.
Everything I know about war I have learned from veterans.
I find the study of war fascinating – the tactics, the history, the details of the American Civil War, the World Wars, all that.
We will not succeed as a country until we put an end to war. That sounds naive, childish. We should at least start in that direction.
-Being in combat f___s people up terribly. Permanently. Ask a Veteran today. There are two kinds of veterans – combat veterans, and peacetime veterans. I have no problem with having people in the armed services, but we should not go to war so easily.
-Anyone who does not “believe in PTSD” is naive, unkind and childish. Traumatic stress, sometimes the civilian and always combat, embeds itself in the mind. It cannot be shaken out. It cannot be foresworn. It lives in the Permanent Eternity of Now. I have talked with men who lived in the now of 1944, of 1976, of 2004. One of the give-aways to PTSD is that the stories are fresh – just like it happened after last Hallowe’en. Fresh, even the Battle of the Bulge. I asked him a question. He burst into tears. It was not from the years past, it was from the Eternal Now, die Erinnerungenlied.
-A general is a well-paid, cossetted bureaucrat in a pretty suit, who has been trained to not give a damn if you, and all your friends, die horribly.
-I have never met a Veteran who was gung-ho for war. Proud of their service, all of them. Proud of their country, generally. But few thought their wars were even excusable – and none thought they were well managed.
-The biggest threat to you in combat is an idiot with scrambled eggs on his hat. Quote, stands on its own pretty well.
-When I was growing up, after the WWII generation got home and raised families, it was an ubiquitous secret. Everybody’s dad woke up screaming in the middle of the night. For most of them, not so much. For lots of them, all the time.
-PTSD gives people a short fuse. They can go off really bad for a few minutes, and then regret what they have done for the rest of their lives. That’s why.
-People who say they have combat PTSD and don’t drink for at least three years, are full of sh_t. Everyone I’ve met comes back and drinks and drinks, waiting for the memories to go away. Surprise! The only part of the VA that successfully treats PTSD is the National Cemetery Administration. Doesn’t go away until you’re down under.
That’s the testimony I have to give this Veteran’s Day. If you know a combat veteran, thank them for their service. They died for their country, even if it was only a little piece of them that died.