Explaining war is always hard.
When we are young war seems pretty black and white. It is not long before the difficult topics of violence, revenge, safety, danger, injury and death become frequent questions in a young humans mind. Whether you are a young adult, parent, educator, or any human being questioned on the topic you find yourself silent in answer. It is a topic you don’t prepare yourself to have had already answered, and when trying to explain this topic it seems so simple yet so complex. Simple in its context: War is a situation or a period of fighting between countries or groups of people. A war generally involves the use of weapons, a military organization and soldiers. War is a situation in which a nation enforces its rights by using force.
Although war seems so simple yet so unnecessary by definition, it is quite different from this. It is your children dying before they’re even fully adults, or being mentally scarred for their lives. It is your brothers and sisters being taught to kill other people, to hate people who are just like themselves, who don’t want to kill anyone either. War is genocide, torture, cruelty, propaganda, suffering, and survival.Soldiers. Veterans. Human beings. People fighting for our freedom have suffered and are suffering from PTSD.
Combat-Related Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is not just something that happens to a soldier when they have to kill someone. It is about what happens, physically and psychologically, inside of a soldier’s brain when they are faced with weeks, months, and years of constant fear, death, adrenaline, and danger. This enormous, prolonged stress literally changes the way their brain looks and functions. As of September 2014, millions of American veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars reported victims of this disorder. This is not a sign of weakness.
A number of factors can increase the chance that someone will develop PTSD, many of which are not under that person’s control. It is our duty to understand and empathize with these hidden wounds. Hopefully, learning more about the “mechanics” behind PTSD will help us to talk about it and understand the real impact it can have on the life of a veteran and on those who love and care for them. Equally important, children are also affected by this disorder. “Eighteen million children are being raised in the chaos of war.
In the past ten years, as a result of armed conflict, over 2 million children have been killed, 6 million have been disabled, 20 million are homeless, and more than 1 million have become separated from their caregivers” (Muller). War affects children in the same way that it affects adults, but also in many different ways. Children are dependent on the care, love, and attention of adult family members who take care of them. “Their attachments are frequently disrupted in times of war, due to the loss of parents, extreme preoccupation of parents in protecting and finding subsistence for the family, and emotional unavailability of depressed or distracted parents” (Barbara). Impacts in childhood may negatively affect the life course of children far more than adults. Consider children who lose the opportunity for education during war, children who are forced to move into refugee or displaced person camps, where they wait for years in miserable circumstances for normal life to resume. Consider a child disabled in war; loss of a limb, sight, or cognitive capacity.
Long after war has ended, these lives will never reach the potential they had before the horrible impact of war. Listing a few of the obvious impacts of war on children seems to be a sadly effortless task. For one, Death. Hundreds of thousands of children die of direct violence in war each year. Two, Injury.
Children suffer a range of war injuries. Certain weapons affect them particularly. “A landmine explosion is more likely to kill or seriously injure a child than an adult. Thousands of children suffer landmine injuries each year” (UNICEF). Three, Illness. Nutrition, water safety, sanitation, housing, and access to health services are not easily accessible during war. Refugee children are particularly vulnerable to the deadly combination of malnutrition and infectious illness. Lastly, Psychological suffering.
Children are exposed to situations of terror and horror during war – experiences that may leave enduring impacts in posttraumatic stress disorder. Severe losses and disruptions in their lives lead to high rates of depression and anxiety in. In Central Africa, one of the most neglected crisis in the world, there is a fifteen year old boy that shares his story. He states “I used to have a good life, but since the conflict started, things changed. I’ve seen people beheaded. I’ve seen people have their hands and noses cut off.
I’ve seen their bodies cut into pieces. My parents were killed. Some other family and friends too. There are lots of things that I’ll miss but what really hurts me is the conflict.
I wish for there to be peace here and that people can continue with their daily lives.” Since war, Andrew is faced with day-to-day uncertainty. His priority is to learn and be safe.Some people do not believe in PTSD, they claim the symptoms to be common and easily faked. According to veteran Scott Faith “PTSD has become a “get out of jail free” card, or at least a “feel sorry for me and excuse my behavior card,” a very powerful one with no expiration date.
This has become increasingly — and distressingly — true in the veteran community (Faith).” Faith states that those of the military are getting let off too easily when it comes to the law: “the individual charged or one of the lawyers involved will explicitly or implicitly claim “the PTSD made me do it.” These days, in the veteran community no offense is too big, or too small, to use PTSD as an excuse (Faith).” I disagree with Faith because PTSD has profound psychobiological correlates, which can impair the person’s daily life and their actions.
I also do not believe a person of our military would fake a diagnoses to get them out of a lawful situations. There is no doubt that war is an evil one. It is the greatest catastrophe that can overtake human beings. A particularly disturbing side war is that it has the potential of becoming global in which it may engulf the entire world. It brings death and destruction, though there are people who consider war as grand and regard it as something that brings out the best man. This does not in any way alter the fact that war is a terrible dreadful disaster.
We must recognize the fact that war is inescapable evil, it has become part of the normal life of nations. The past history of the world will show war has been a recurrent phenomenon. No period in world history has been free from the devastating effects of war. We have had a broad spectrum of wars- wars lasting for a year and wars lasting for hundreds of years. In view of this it seems foolish to talk of everlasting peace but, like most things in this life, there is some good that comes out of it.