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Warbird, Book Review

Tara Copp, author of Warbird, gives a literary rendering to a very non-literary time in her life as an embedded journalist in the Kuwait war zone. https://www.amazon.com/Warbird-Three-Heroes-Wars-Story/dp/0998061417

Tara Copp



The author has little fear, some natural intensity of purpose, a desire to be a team, and a unique opportunity as most of the embedded journalists were male. But later returning home she has a hard time adjusting to what happened to her – the shock of real bullets, the process of working with the soldiers without getting in their way, the close calls, their inexperience, the dust, the heat, the political fracas, and of course the enemy. The men, all of them real heroes, seemed to adjust better than she did. But many of them did not.

Trying to make sense of her experiences she investigated her grandfather’s life in World War II with his brother. It is an interesting story which she doggedly researched in military and other records. Military men will enjoy this lively picture into the past. But even after she makes peace with her grandfather’s reckless but productive life she is still uneasy. Her contacts from the war filter in and out of her life.

PTSD- Lite

She wandered through a series of disappointing boyfriends, a failed marriage, job moves and restlessness. For some of the soldiers she worked with had very much the same pattern of rootlessness and discontents. The full time soldiers fared better, but that did not negate their separation from their past lives. They just dumped them.

Missionaries tell the story of one of their fellows who headed into the African bush country leading a long caravan of supplies, food and personnel. The first day he was overjoyed over their progress: nine miles on day one, and seven miles the second day. But the morning of the third day the whole caravan stopped cold and refused to move. When the distraught missionary asked why, the Native Guide replied, “We are waiting for our souls to catch up.”

“We are waiting for our souls to catch up.”

Theologians think PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) is a crisis of image for those with an underdeveloped or damaged sense of self; they will be more negatively impacted by war. Her’s may be a clearer description of PTSD without the extremes of reaction. The military experience was so dislodging to their personalities that their souls did not catch up.

A level of trauma for everyone

Apparently war slams a trauma so severe it cannot be healed, merely absorbed into one’s personality and embraced as an asset rather than a curse. What you became in the battlefield will change you forever. You must deliberately move forward or not survive at all.

Essayist Cornelia Scott Cree writes on Applied Christianity, Dream Interpretation and Biblical Symbolism. She invites questions at her website https:WouldYouConsider.net.

#warwounds #PTSD #soldiersuicide

Why Soldier Suicide – Culture Clash

As thousands of soldiers waited in New York City in 1943 for the troop transports for Europe they saw the rousingly popular musical Oklahoma! and got one last taste of American life, often to die on D Day the following June.

Those soldiers knew what they were dying for –“wind sweeping down the plain,” for carnivals, and romances and grandma’s apple pies at the state fair. They were dying so a nation enduring two theaters of war would survive, for little churches which preach God and country and faithfulness. They expected to come home – many did not. They had hope in their future and confidence that their service would preserve their homeland. They expected the girl they left behind to be there for them. And so did she.

That soldier no longer exists – but he still goes off to war, and he comes back – and kills himself? Why?

The answer is almost too easy. It is not simply because the family farm has been sold, the state fair is mostly auto shows, the church has been preaching diversity and his parents are divorced. That is bad enough in itself. But the man himself, just a boy really, has no roots in real America. His moral judgment has been tarnished by a wanton and indifferent culture, by teachers who praise marginal students, by gutless courses, and paper mache theologies. The man with roots in the real America is not there any more.

But he goes to Afghanistan and finds a culture that is supremely confident in itself… a male enemy and his religion that not only have open contempt for law and order, but also women and family, an “alpha” male society based on the scruffiest principles of overblown ego and violence. He has a new male model for himself. He is in awe of men who can kill a woman at will, or lock little girls in a school and then burn it down. Violence in the home is common, even applauded. This is power! In the clash of Muslim-American culture, he is co-opted and returns a totally different person.

The sweet little thing he married leaving two children to rear has been running her own show for a year or more. Her authoritarian ways, her final decisions, her paying the bills, discipline, repairing the car – what happened to his male headship – out the window! The romance of being an alpha Muslim male which he picked up in the violence drenched desert takes over. Bang – the kids are dead, or his wife, or in final frustration, he copies the Muslim model of worship of suicide. He is a trained killer, after all, and he kills himself hardly realizing that suicide is a public confession of failure. Like Hitler. He is a now one-more-sacrifice to a foreign god.

In the 1980s a revealing PSTD study of Vietnam Veterans and female rape victims showed their trauma and symptoms to be identical. The study put the two groups together in a successful therapy. The main trauma was betrayal- the woman betrayed by a trusted male and the soldier betrayed by a slothful government. Today’s soldier has no more trust in an appeasement-government than the soldier of the 60s. It is friendly political fire to disarm the soldier in the presence of live ammo and committed foreign foes.

The battered wife in Dayton, Ohio has a better chance of survival in a half-way house with her kids protected by agencies and police than guys in Fallujah once did. No one had their back! But if he takes on the coloring, the morals, the standards of the death-obsessed Muslim, he has a new identity and possibly survival. He regains a sense of self, however false and unworkable.

Attempting to correct this after he returns is a mammoth job when it could be more easily addressed before he ever goes. Despite the sincere efforts of the armed forces bureaucracy to bring “readjustment’” the results are minimal because the effort is at the end, not the beginning of the deterioration process. They must learn that their Western God is not dead – He’s not even sleeping.

This is not complicated. Train the warriors in American values, constitution and morals before they face the enemy as victims, not later. If young soldiers do not know who they are to begin with how can they be restored to a place that never was.

Solders need a moral foundation based on clear-cut historical reality so the man who fights in 2012 is as well prepared to face his enemies as the man of 1944.

Perhaps with a new President who values and encourages the armed forces things will change and soldier will again take pride in what they are doing and why.

{PTSD – post-traumatic stress disorder.}

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