Besides all the innocent people that are losing their lives right now in the middle of the war, one of the things that worries me the most is the generation of young people that are fighting it. I am not talking about just the ones that are losing their lives, or the ones that are going to come back without a limb, I am talking about all of them. War changes people. Boot camp changes people.
Boot camp is a process that is designed to strip you of individuality, make you programmable and able to respond not to your conscious though but to either directions or programmed behavior. The worst part is that it takes away your natural aversion of taking another human life and replaces it with the ability to kill others. People become targets and killing without hesitation is the ultimate goal of your training.
Not only do we have one of the deadliest armies in the world, it is growing every single day. I am guessing that, as much research that is being place into creating the best soldiers in the world is not being balance to reprogramming. I have talked to veterans of the first Golf War as well as some from this one, and let me tell you that I feel really bad for them. While I am extremely proud that they defended our country and did their duty I am sadden by the empty look in their face and the horrid images that they are not even able to share.
One of the first things you learn while in basic training is attention to detail. In the age of IEDs (Improvised Explosive Device) your survival depends on your attention to detail and changes to your environment. This is all necessary knowledge that will save our soldier’s life, but what happens when they come back home? Do they shed that thought skin? Are they still paranoid about a car backfiring?
I read an article in Rolling Stone about a soldier that came back from the war and ended up dead after taking the life of a cop. The story is not conclusive and does not really point fingers one way or the other. I also watched True Life: I’m coming home from Iraq. It was really sad to not only see the young people there having changed so much that they are even uncomfortable around their own family, but watching their fear build as the shadow of redeployment was cast over them.
The military offers services to help with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), but I believe that is not enough. I am truly afraid of the amount of soldiers that are coming back to our country and their mental state. Are we losing a generation of our young people to this war?