Saturday, March 17, 2012

Veterans Like No Other

Our current veterans are like no other veterans in the history of the U.S.  You’d have to go back to Roman times or those ever continuing wars of the Dark Ages to find the kind of veterans we are producing today.

The impact of this has not really hit home to head shrinks or the MSM, so there are no dissertations or position papers or 60-Minutes tick...tick...tick.  It hasn’t gone viral, yet -- but it will.

WWI, WWII, and the Korean War were comparatively short.  A soldier did his tour within a couple of three years and went home.  Vietnam was longer, but it was fought by draftees.  That’s one big difference between today’s wars and Vietnam.  Although a draftee is committed for six years, their active service is only for two years.  After they did their year in ‘Nam, they went home.

Joining the Reserves or the National Guard was away to avoid service in Vietnam.  Just the opposite is true today.  No matter which army you join, there a good chance you will be in a combat zone sometime during your service.

There was post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in previous wars to be sure.  Every war experience will produce some walking wounded.  Both veterans of combat and those unable to get over the experience have been with us since this country began.

There have always been a few of the really gung-ho lifer types who thrived on the being in-country but they were few and far between.  Wars four years or less is not enough time for large number of professional warriors to develop.  A true professional must have combat experience.  This also means the number that strives to be the professional and don’t make it is smaller too.

It’s the large number of combatants with multiple, repeated tours that is new.  Such a large number of veterans who had three or four or even more tours in combat is something this country has never experience.  And just as we have never had this kind of veteran, we are about to experience a whole new type of PTSD.

This recent slaughter of civilians in Afghanistan may be the first lighting strikes of an approaching storm the likes of which we have never seen before.