Real Troop Support


Purchased Bewilderment
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Many of you know that I'm a twelve stepper and attend meetings from time to time. The other night I was attending a meeting at our local homeless shelter to support that groups work. A young soldier came in and sat next to me at the table, not bothering to remove his field jacket, knit cap or gloves. As the meeting progressed he sat wringing his hands together fidgeting his fingers against the material of the gloves, staring at his hands, his jaw muscles flexing.
The Chairperson at one point asked if he would like to share and after a moments hesitation he said:

"yeah, I guess so... my name is specialist xxxxxxxx, and I have 37 confirmed kills to my name... most of them children. I've been dropping pills to stop the nightmares and I can't think straight anymore."

This young spec 4 went on to describe his Iraq experiences and why he has been doping something fierce to kill the pain and dull the memories of what he was called to do over there.
I gave him my phone number and explained that I was once a grunt too and that he should call me if he wanted to talk. I hugged him extra hard after the meeting and silently prayed that all our troops suffering in this way recieve the love and support they will desperatly need.
Hopefully we have learned the lesson of vietnam and realize that turning away from the horror that war really is doesn't help the war effort at all.
Our mayor in this town rejected a community project designed to promote awareness of PTSD and how we as a community can send our love and support to the troops, all because he said that there was no evidence that PTSD was a problem and it only hurt the war effort to talk about it.

I was and am still not a supporter of the war, but these young people deserve our love and respect, many of my friends, vocal in their disdain for violence and war feel as I do. And when I see a young man barely 22yrs old shaking with fear and repressed horror I can only respond with as much compassion as I am capable.
Please send your prayers to these people coming home who have so much healing to do.

Wow Mark, that's powerful.

Please give that young man an extra strong hug from me next time you might see him.

Ignoring PTSD is not going to make it go away, and when you town is filled with the walking wounded maybe then the mayor will change his mind.
Continuing to lift up our troops caught in this situation, as well as all those who suffer from this type of syndrome. And those who extend themselves on their behalf.

Oh man...

I pray for the day when all suffering will stop.

No words are enough...
The real tragedies happen 20-30 years later when burned out from drugs, alchohol, or worse you see "Nam" vets limping down traffic islands holding signs and asking for money. It all just makes me so damn angry !

Gee, we spent so much money on this war we're gonna have to make cuts somewhere. Like...anything that helps ordinary citizens. But they're just a bunch of free loaders anyway. God forbid our government should take an interest in the general welfare of its citizens. That would be socialism (gasp).

Of course I am sorry for anyone suffering because of the conflict in Iraq, including all the ordinary Iraqis who did not choose to be a part of the ongoing hell.

However, can I ask: Are the soldiers conscripts? When they join the army do they not know what the defining characteristic of a soldier’s role is? When they are sent to Iraq do they not know what they may be required to do? Do they think they will only kill “insurgents”?

What is going to be learnt from Iraq? The next invasion is already being planned.


There's a mighty truth in your words here........

Can it be said anything has ever been learnt from war, while the wars continue.

If only we could take up the real challenge to learn from peace and consolidation.

- c -
Snoopy, I'm sure that when most people enlist they are not doing so to kill innocents, even if they know it's a (hopefully remote) possibility. And when cirmcumstances do result in a soldier's killing of innocents (or anyone!), there're going to be mental issues to be dealt with in many cases. If we are willing to accept that others will take on the risks of war for us, we need to be willing to support them throughout and afterwards.

Sure, people sign up for all kinds of reasons, but who are we to judge whether they enlist out of a desire to protect and serve, or out of a hope for education in the future, or to escape a dim reality or future?

It is what it is, and the best response here as always is empathy, compassion and support.
A little strange....... you appear already to be a man of empathy and compassion in understanding both sides as a non supporter of the war.

peace - c -

and perhaps a little too passionate sometimes...

I just meant...It may start with me. I will not be part of the problem. I will stand here, by myself if necessary, to make it happen.

Much Love,
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These guys need our support. I may not be a supporter of the war, but I support our troops who risk life and limb serving in our military. If ever anyone needed our Love and compassion, our support, and our mercy, it is those serving in the war effort. These guys go through more than many of us could imagine. The damage is done, and all we can do is lend them our hearts.

Support our troops!!! I'm posting a tribute I found on youtube. It says more than I ever could with a thousand words.

YouTube - "Damage is Done" U.S. Soldier Video Collage

I have to go with snoopy here- while I have some compassion for the ex-soldiers, suffering, as individuals, they have chosen to sign up and run round with guns, and living that way, killing ppl for money, even if they're supposedly ur enemies, will damage u, in some way... maybe u will become a nervous wreck, maybe u will become ashamed and try to escape what u have done, and maybe u will be damaged worse- in such a way as to be happy to kill, and revel in it... I would prefer they all came out and needed psychological help than came out happy, becuase that would at least prove to me that their humanity was still intact...

most soldiers when they sign up are too young to vote, and so, to my mind, are not technically adults, and yet we allow then to join up... military society favours this, for several reasons- these young soldiers are too young to view their own death as anything but remote, they are not psychologically strong enough to challenge authority, and will do what they're told by superiors, and they are too self absorbed to envisage the reality of war... then they make them sign forms so that they have to stay enlisted for a number of years, usually there's basic training, where nobody dies and there's no blood, and then u sign up for a fixed number of years... if u get stuck in the middle of basra and want to go home, there is nothing u can do... you can buy urself out of the army, before ur time is up, but there are not many young soldiers able to do this, as generally they come from poor families and they are not fans of saving money- they spend it on posh watches and training shoes, and alcohol... as Luna says, most ppl who join the army don't do it cos they wanna go and kill ppl, they do it becuase they are poor and being a soldier pays slightly better than MacDonalds, or they think they will get a great free education, or they do it becuase they think they will learn a trade...

unfortunately I have also met a young man like urs, Paladin, screwed up after participating in conflict, and there isn't really much u can do for them, except tell them that you understand that the mistakes they have made as young ppl are not just their responsibility, and let them know that although the general population of their peers might find their actions reprehensible, intelligent ppl can appreciate the situations and circumstances of their lives when they make the decision to kill, and that anyone with half a brain knows that "war" has different rules to normal "society", and so different rules apply...

I don't support the troops... I think that, on the whole, if u are foolish enough to enlist in the army and u come back all upset with a leg missing, it's tough on u, and u should have thought about all this before u joined up... what did u think it was gonna be like, after all? dont tell me u dont have a TV..?

I also think that all advertising for the armed forces should be banned- I was reading a cheap womens magazine one day, and the cetre feature was- mums! get ur sons to join! telling mums of the benefits of their sons being in the army... another time, I'm looking in a teen mag, and I find- hey- join the army- get a free mountain bike... currently where I live there are adverts for joinging the army, telling you how good a life u'll have if u sign up, but noone mentions the blood, the missing limbs, the guilty consciences...

if u have kids or friends or even passing acquaintances who are talking about joining, its ur responsibility to let them know what they are getting themselves into... tell them, show them the pictures in the papers of the dead bodies, tell them about PTSD, let them know that once they make the decision they will in some way be damaged by it... persuade them not to join... one day they might thank u for it...
Then, if few joined they would end up reinstating the draft and all our kids would be screwed! (At least in the U.S.) These kids who sign up do it for love of country, or because it seems to be the best option for them. What would we do w/o a military? How would we defend ourselves. It might not be pretty what they do, but what they do serves to protect US!

I'll always support the troops no matter what; they do as they're told and many suffer deeply for it. We need them more than you know, and I'm a little set off by your "Thay asked for it attitude" :cool:

Easy there James, Francis is a good person, and I can see her perspective though I cannot completely share it. Yes, as human beings we all make choices and have to live with it. We are somewhat easily fooled by ourselves. The trick of spiritual growth is to find compassion for the victim and the criminal. In a poem called "Call Me By My True Names" Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us of this as he watched villiages razed and bombed, innocents killed while he and his fellow monks tried to comfort and give aid to the civilian populace during the vietnam war.
To understand that both the wounded and the persons doing the wounding both suffer is to find true compassion, the vision of Christ as it were.
I realize the great difficulty in this task, especially as an ex-soldier myself.

Right you are, but it doesn't change my view about that type of attitude. I've seen Francis around the boards, and respect her person. It's the attitude that set me off a little. I shouldn't be so quick to 'react' but I was/did and now I can't take it back. I hope she's not sore at me, I have no ill feeling towards her...not in the least.

To be fair, there are soldiers who set me off as well, those who abuse their position. My cousin told me about one inparticular who raped and killed an entire family in Iraq. These kind of people I can do w/o, and have no respect, nor compassion for them. Is this a flaw on my part? Does this mean I'm not spiritualy mature? I don't know, and frankly don't care at the moment. War is ugly enough w/o such crimes to fuel the flame.

I long for the day when mankind can live in peace, and find unity amongt each other. It's just difficult to accept things that people do sometimes.

Much love Francis, and thank you Mark,

Sorry for the Christian bent in the Politics section but I recall that Jesus had said the greatest example of Faith seen in all of Israel was in a centurion of the Roman army. (Matthew 8). While I personally see a problem in the philosophy of the chain_of_command in delegating orders but not responsibility... something that I saw by having joined and been in a military for a bit... I recognize that Jesus healed someone in the Roman military while being clearly opposed to the rule of Herod, the Roman client-king. Therefore I suggest it is right to console and aid not only the military of your own nation, but of the military of whoever you consider to be your enemy. Its hard to know the shoes they've walked in.