Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Heal the Warrior Before He Returns Home

Today I read with sadness that a soldier, recently deployed to Iraq, is being charged with the murder of his 3-year-old stepson. The Blade story begins:

FINDLAY - Displaying little emotion, the decorated Iraq war veteran stood before Judge Robert Fry in Findlay Municipal Court yesterday and agreed to be returned to central Ohio's Licking County to face charges that he killed his 3-year-old stepson.

Corey S. Flugga, 22, of Newark, Ohio, and formerly of Findlay, is charged with murder in the death Saturday of Carson Hanson at the apartment Mr. Flugga shared with his stepson; his wife, Heather, and the couple's 1-year-old son, Hunter. An autopsy concluded Carson died from blunt-force trauma to the abdomen.

I suspect that this man is one of many thousands of soldiers suffering from PTDS. I think I saw the number of estimated numbers suspected of that to be 250,000. Colateral damage from war trauma.

Joseph Campbell, writer and mythology professor, often wrote about The Warrior. In the book and TV series with Bill Moyers, The Power of Myth, Campbell often referred to the 'wounded warrior' that resides within men. He spoke of rituals in past times that were performed on returning warriors, fresh from the battles. He cautioned that these rituals were necessary for these men to make a healthy return to society. Sadly, the United States does not perform such healing rituals; that is why we see such distress and violence in many returning Iraq and Afghansistan warriors.

Heal the Warrior, Heal the Country is an article by Edward Tick in Yes! Magazine. Here is a paragraph which speaks to the theme:

Our troops do not enlist because they want to destroy or kill. No matter the political climate, most troops seek to serve traditional warrior values: to protect the country they love, its ideals, and especially their families, communities, and each other. If they must kill or be killed, they need transcendent reasons to do so. Throughout history, the only reason for fighting that has survived moral scrutiny is a direct attack with real, immediate threat to one’s people. PTSD is, in part, the tortured conscience of good people who did their best under conditions that would dehumanize anyone.

So many war hawks speak of victory, winning in Iraq. That matters little in the scheme of things. It was a war of choice, not necessity. Perhaps that realization adds to the PTSD of these returning soldiers. Whatever, the problem is severe and needs to be addressed and not swept under the carpet. Our society is greatly impacted by our returning warriors.

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