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How exactly does PTSD work?

March 19, 2012

I’ve been thinking about the shootings by the sergeant in Afghanistan.  Though this has not officially be pinned on PTSD, I feel that if it isn’t than sooner or later there will be something similar that will happen that will be a the poster child for the PTSD problem.

People are arguing now about keeping the troops in Afghanistan for as long as necessary “to get the job done”.  I think we need to see that we already have gotten the job done.  Didn’t we go there to disrupt Al-Queda and to find and kill Osama Bin Ladin?  Hasn’t this already been done?  Some are arguing that we need to listen to the Commanders on the ground.  I thought that the President was the Commander in Chief.  Isn’t it his job to gather the information he has gotten from the people on the ground and then make a decision about what he feels is the best course?

I believe the longer we stay involved the more damage we are doing to the minds and the spirits of our young people involved in this conflict.  They have been engaged in a War that has lasted longer than World War II.  It is time to bring them home and start the healing process. 

It isn’t always, and more likely than not, that a single incident causes PTSD.  Rather it is the constancy of the ravages of war that cause it.  This sergeant had been back in the combat zone multiple times.  There is some talk that he had recently witnessed one of his comrades being killed.  This could certainly been the trigger but I would be willing to guess that there had been other incidents that he experienced that could be similar.  The other thing is that the longer we stay the more likely that others will experience the same things or similar things. 

We have now seen in rapid succession how our presence in this non familiar area allows for mistakes or terrible actions to occur.  Good deeds are quickly erased by one bad deed because the bad deeds are magnified and the good deeds are diminished.  Will anyone try and argue that this sergeant had served his fair share without incident and undoubtedly did some or perhaps many good and perhaps heroic deeds?  Will we think of these deeds when we think of him in the future?

We need for the troops to come home.  It is going to be hard enough for the returning troops to adjust to their lives at home with their family and friends.  Lets not risk more PTSD behavior because some General somewhere feels he needs to build his own empire. Generals have chose to spend their lives in war so given the choice it is what they do.