Soldiers who are fighting after the fight
The soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan recall horrifying experiences that they encountered during the war where they witnessed hellish bloodshed. Returning home after these experiences has not been easy for the war veterans, majority of who think they had not been adequately prepared for what they witnessed and experienced. Having to readapt to normal life has not been an easy transition and some veterans are struggling with post-war dilemmas in their lives. The war veterans are experiencing problems ranging from unemployment and family issues to post-traumatic stress. In 2008, over one hundred and fifty soldiers committed suicide on return from war majority of who are below thirty years of age (Glantz, 2009).
This is an indication that the soldiers are experiencing far worse problems than the American public imagines. It is my opinion that the soldiers are not adequately helped on how to deal with their nightmares and they had not been adequately prepared for what they were to witness. As much as I would argue that these soldiers have been neglected by the government and society, it is also to note that some are the cause of their problems. Majority of these soldiers are those deciding not to seek help, because of their egos. The emotional fights fought by these war veterans are both self and externally inflicted.
A study by the army revealed that one out every eight post-war soldiers was suffering from post-traumatic stress. Majority of these soldiers do not seek help for fear of losing their careers or more importantly been alienated and stigmatized by the society. The government is at fault for not assuring these soldiers have job securities after they admit of their problems to cope with the nightmares and flashbacks of the traumatic experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan. The government is also to blame for not showing discretion in handling with the cases of soldiers turning themselves in for treatment and counseling. Irritability and insomnia are two common symptoms sending the soldiers to insanity and some to suicide. Some soldiers having witnessed their colleagues die in the battlefield saving their lives blame the government for putting them in that position in the first place.
The war in Iraq has been met by opposition largely from the public and to some extent, the military. The soldiers do not understand why they have to put their lives in danger for a cause that seems vague. Some soldiers do not want to be home resting and watching the war on television while their crews are languishing in the Iraqi desert; their only request is to be sent back to the battlefield. It is traumatizing to learn the death of a colleague when you could have been there to help them. Another problem the soldiers are fighting is drug addiction. To help alleviate the flashbacks, soldiers result to alcohol and other hard drugs, this ultimately results to addiction. Some soldiers have died of drug excesses (Kegley & Raymond, 2007).
Soldiers returning from Iraq have also been forced to contend with joblessness. To augment their meager pensions, war veterans have sought to enter the job market but the ailing economy, which is recovering from an economic crisis, has no place for them. Joblessness ultimately results to poverty and the frustration resigns them to drugs. The government would have been helpful to these war heroes by ensuring they are adequately reabsorbed to the American culture.
Wounded soldiers are also experiencing problems dealing with their new disabilities. The plight of a blind soldier who once had vision is devastating but it is the fact that he or she blames the government for his or her problem that is alarming. Another problem is how to readapt to family. Soldiers have shown extreme problems trying to relate with their spouses and reconnect with their kids. After a long period in combat, some soldiers lose feelings and become hostile. It is even more disturbing when newborn kids do not recognize nor respect the war veterans as their parents and the resulting humiliation is unbearable. This, they risk relaying on their families who expect the same character they knew before Iraq, for example.
Other soldiers return home to find out that their spouses remarried. This makes them question their priorities in life and the sense of betrayal sends them to early death. While the government urges the soldiers to defend their nation, it would be prudent to set up strategies to ensure that their spouses fight the war with them. The families of these soldiers are also to blame for not making life easy for these soldiers, who have experienced some unfathomable and horrifying events.
Some female soldiers who were raped by fellow soldiers while in the war find it hard to live with the nightmare. The biggest problem is that they see the perpetrators of their adversity walk freely. The government is reluctant to punish its war heroes, which raises questions on its capacity to help the one out of six soldiers raped in battle. It is sad that most female soldiers account for rape as their biggest threat even over enemy assault. After the ordeal, some soldiers result to seeking revenge and the government punishes them for breaking the law. The feeling of betrayal by the same government the soldiers sought to serve and risk their lives is sufficient to make them join terrorist groups (Wiederhold, 2008).
As much as I blame the government and society for driving the soldiers to the edge, critics will argue that the soldiers also orchestrate their own problems. Why for example, would a soldier suffering from anxiety fail to seek counseling and instead result to suicide? Some of these soldiers are haunted by memories of how they brutally murdered and tortured innocent citizens consequently bringing the current predicaments on themselves. It is also not morally correct for these soldiers to expect fidelity of their spouses while they were raping innocent citizens in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those that blame the government for prosecuting them should understand that the United States is founded on doctrines of justice where law and order prevails. On a lighter tone however, the government should put in place programs to help the soldiers readapt to society and encourage their admission for counseling.
Glantz, Aaron. The War Comes Home: Washington’s Battle Against America’s Veterans. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 2009. Print.
Kegley, Charles & Raymond, Gregory. After Iraq: The Imperiled American Imperium. Oxford, OX: Oxford University Press, 2007. Print.
Wiederhold, B. Lowering Suicide Risk in Returning Troops: Wounds of War. Marina Del Rey, CA: IOS Press, 2008. Print.