I have written before in this blog about the horrors of war. Because of my expertise at supporting troops on the battlefield with signals intelligence, I spent a good many years working with U.S. and friendly forces during combat. I know up close and personal the unspeakable ghastliness of war.
I know what it’s like to see the man fighting next me to killed in ways so grisly that I can’t think about it. I know what it’s like to be splashed with his blood, to see that there’s not enough left of him to put in a body bag. I’ve talked here before about the bond between men who fight side by side, the strongest love I’ve ever felt, and the anguish of losing a buddy on the battlefield. I’m a veteran, but my time in combat came as a civilian operating under cover as a soldier or Marine to support fighting troops. I was so good at it that I spent the better part of my career helping men fight our wars.
One result is that I suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI). That’s a condition that never diminishes or goes away. It’s caused by observing or participating in events that inflict permanent wounds to the psyche. Because it’s incurable, one has to learn to cope by bringing the memories into the conscious mind and training oneself to face them without hysteria.
As time passes, the number of American men and women who have faced combat are growing fewer. We are now a fraction of a percent of the population. I am acquainted with only two men who are combat veterans. And both suffer from PTSI.
We Americans have no memory of a war on our own land. The last internal conflict we faced was the civil war that ended long before any Americans now living were born. Unlike our allies in Europe and Asia, no Americans, with the exception of combat veterans, have experienced war. So we as a nation are much more willing to consider going to war.
Let us Americans who have avoided war in our home country be resolved once again to do all we can to avoid the horror of war. We, the fortunate ones, owe that to the rest of humanity.