-necessary- War related PTSD, Moral Injury, and Anger
It’s a strange term, necessary. I think about how people like to say, “necessary evil,” but evil is never necessary. It is beyond the category of necessity. Evil and good simply are. This is to say that both evil and good exist. Thus, peace and war exist. Along with all that is related to them.
War related PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress), Moral Injury, and anger are not necessary. They just are. War isn’t necessary. It simply is and it always will be. PTSD, Moral Injury and anger will also always be part of a war Veteran’s life.
Not every war Veteran will experience PTSD, Moral Injury and anger but they will always know someone who does. And thus, it becomes part of their life through that association. By association many things are experienced.
War for most Americans is experienced through association with the movies, stories, and news. Most Americans will only learn about war and hopefully the indirect experience is all they will ever know. This creates both a “void” and a “culture of pity.”
The “void” can be clearly seen in the idea that all Americans who pay taxes support war. Political party affiliation has nothing to do with war. As America is coming close to having spent twenty years of war in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. We clearly see that all political parties have contributed. The created “void” is that most Americans support something (war), they know nothing about. It is an important “void.” It is a “void” that will remain as long as peace prevails.
The “culture of pity” is absurd but very real. Look at the way major organizations have profited from exploiting veterans who have experienced PTSD, Moral Injury and anger. Millions of dollars have been raised and spent in the name of controlling symptoms of PTSD, Moral Injury and anger. Donations are extracted based on “pity” rather than respect.
The majority of Veterans appreciate the fact that there is a “void” and that most Americans have not and hopefully never will experience war. I have never met a Veteran who appreciates the “culture of pity.” I doubt any Veteran appreciates pity. PTSD, Moral Injury and anger are simply part of the price paid for other peoples’ freedom.
So why all the focus on war related PTSD, Moral Injury and anger? The focus hasn’t made it go away. The focus hasn’t created peace. The focus has bolstered respect to the point of significant change.
Focusing on PTSD, Moral Injury and anger doesn’t seem to be working. In fact, it almost seems like it is about as useful and powerful as trusting a complete stranger with your hard-earned money. So what can be done about war and the ensuing PTSD, Moral Injury and anger which so many veteran’s experience?
Maybe the thing to do is to focus less on the symptoms of war related PTSD, Moral Injury and anger. Maybe focus less on war. Maybe a complete change of focus is necessary.
I suggest we focus on love, the kind of love that provides accountability and empowerment. Accountability and empowerment are always necessary to real love. War related PTSD, Moral Injury and anger may not be completely erased by love but love will diminish it.
What if war related PTSD, Moral Injury and anger are linked directly to love? What if the journey to becoming a Veteran is about the type of love where a complete stranger sacrifices life? War related PTSD, Moral Injury and anger exist because of the sacrifice of love.
America should look at war related PTSD, Moral Injury and anger as part of the truth that evil does exist. And a few people, known as veterans, stood one day. We raised our hands and took an oath to fight against evil, even to the point of engaging in war. And some of us veterans are still fighting. We are fighting with war related PTSD, Moral Injury and anger. And that is the type of love that is necessary.
I am The Rev. Dr. Matthew Owen Williams, US Army Chaplain Retired and I support this message.