Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Marine with Spartan blood

I love small media outlets because they do the best reporting on our troops and veterans. The national media, not so much and frankly, AWOL on the one issue we can all agree deserve our attention. I was reading this story about a young Greek-American U.S. Marine talking about his faith in God, the Greek Church and Spartan blood. That got me thinking about the "moral injury" a lot of reports want to pretend is some kind of new phenomenon that is behind Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in combat veterans.

What choice do they have since most reporters given the task of reporting on PTSD and military suicides were in grade school or not even born when real research on PTSD began? To them, this is all new even though they must have had at least one combat veteran as a relative. They just didn't pay attention to their WWII granddads and Vietnam veterans any more than they paid attention to Gulf War veterans. Just because they didn't pay attention that didn't mean it was not happening as it was going back to the beginning of "civilization" when nation sent men to fight against other nations.

This is my favorite book on combat and PTSD because it is honest, thoughtful and written by a real expert on PTSD before reporters knew about it.
Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character
October 1, 1995
In this strikingly original and groundbreaking book, Dr. Shay examines the psychological devastation of war by comparing the soldiers of Homer's Iliad with Vietnam veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Although the Iliad was written twenty-seven centuries ago it has much to teach about combat trauma, as do the more recent, compelling voices and experiences of Vietnam vets.

In this new year we can have a new beginning in defeating PTSD but only if we go back to when real research was being done and stop pretending PTSD is new.
Dr. Jonathan Shay "Indeed Moral Injury is one of the primary if not the primary personal theme for the soldiers described in his books "Achilles in Vietnam" and "Odysseus in America" leading to lifelong psychological dysfunction from PTSD and other treatment-resistant deficiencies in prior or basic functioning."