“Military Says Mental Wounds of the War Run Deep” (Dick Whyte)

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………………..camellias
………………..turning brown
………………..still
………………..he has nightmares
………………..of the war

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Headlines:

“Sedatives May Slow Recovery From Trauma” (New Scientist)

“Military Says Mental Wounds of War Run Deep” (Associated Press)

“Iraq Troops PTSD Rate as High as 35%” (Science Daily)

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Poem by Dick Whyte (see editor biographies). Read more by this poet.

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^ 4 Comments...

  1. Terry

    This article reminds me of so many of those movies like Platoon, Full Metal Jacket and 4th of July.

    The effects on the soldiers. Umm, I am a cras and insensitive man and I have too little empathy to share it with the soldiers who signed up to fight.
    I feel more for those innocent lives that have been completely destroyed.
    The acceptable losses, the collateral damage, the civilians, who, once the clinical military terms are cut away are mothers, fathers, sons, daughters on there way to school or work, to pray or play.
    Just families that have found that because there home is now a political, economic global pawn that they have become insignificant when balanced against the greater good.

    I am for finding any other way, anything apart from war. But I cannot feel sorry for those who make the decision to go and take lives.

    Nice one Dick, I like that your tanka is open and can be read from both perspectives.

  2. Dick Whyte

    Hey Terry-

    I guess for me, the soldiers lives are a part of those that have been destroyed. I mean, what conditions led to the position where you feel as though you want to sign up for the war? What kinds of ideologies were pushed on you from birth? It seems to be no accident that a large number of soldiers seem like total redknecks. So for me, it is not the soldiers who are at fault but the culture they come from, their parents, their schools (and so on, and so on).

    I too am for finding any way other than war, but I think one of the first steps is having compassion for everyone – including the soldiers and warmongers. Only when we unconditionally love them (the way their fathers never did) will we change the world. I know I am being a little on the extreme side, but I do kinda believe it. Compassion starts at home and I really believe that every person deserves compassion for their experiences.

    But I am really glad you like the poem, and I am glad that we get to have this discourse around it.

    All the best,
    Dick

  3. Terry

    Sounds like we’re on the same page. I totally agree with what you’ve said there.

    I read that 12,000 more U.S troops are heading over to Afghanistan. I hope this will speed up the withdrawal so everyone can return to rebuilding their lives.

    A pleasure indeed, thanks for posting this.

  4. Dick Whyte

    Cool-

    Yeah, I hope so too (in terms of speeding up getting people out of there). Even a lot of right-wing (self-described, I don’t place too much faith in binary terms, but it will have to do for now) thinkers agree now: it is time to get out before it is too late. War fucks it up for everyone at the end of the day. Although – I am curious how sending *more* troops is going to help the movement out (I am not critiqueing your point here – but more the policy of the American government). But then there is the complexity of what it means to go to another country, force a way of life on them (for instance, democracy) and then leaving without cleaning up the mess. Oh god – the more I think about it the more fucked it becomes (not to mention that the American government seems to support democracy only when it serves their ends – and when it doesn’t they support totalitarian regimes).

    Indeed – it has been a pleasure to open this discussion. I hope we (by which I mean not only us, but also other readers of Haiku News) can start to have more discourses around the poems and the issues which they raise. I think the joy of haiku/tanka is that they are very “open” as a mode of expression which helps us to have honest discourse (rather than dogmatic discourse in which polarized views are the only ones that are heard).

    I look forward to chatting more.

    All the best,
    Dick

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