The older I get, the more horrified I am by the grisliness of war. I, like Ray McPadden and many other authors of books about war, suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI), the soul damage brought on by experiencing horrific events. Much of my injury came from seeing men killed by my side during combat. My self-forgiveness for my time on the battlefield is undermined by my knowledge that my actions not only saved lives but led to the killing of enemy troops.
That knowledge reinforces my determination to do everything I can to discourage future wars. The odds are against me in that struggle because our nation has enemies determined to attack us—ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and the Taliban leading the list. Besides, we Americans have no sense of war’s bestiality. No living American has experienced combat in our own land. And the number of veterans who were in combat abroad is small. I believe that Americans are more willing to go to war than our allies because so few of us have observed the brutality of the battlefield firsthand. In our innocence, we cannot possibly comprehend the monstrousness of war.
So in my writing and my public speaking, I will strive to alert my fellow Americans to the unspeakable beastliness of war. If I am even marginally successful, maybe some lives will be saved.