Reasons Why America’s Greed Will Constantly Lead Us to War

“God bless America, land that I love. Stand beside Her, and guide Her, through the night with a light from above. From the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans white with foam, God bless America, my home sweet home.” — Irving Berlin.

This is the most difficult of all articles I have written to date. Today, 22 Navy SEALS were among the 25 U.W. special operations forces and other service members shot down in their CH-47 Chinook Helicopter as it was arriving to provide reinforcement for our other troops in Kabul, Afghanistan. Apparently, the Taliban is claiming to have shot down the helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade.

Every single day, our U.S. soldiers put their uniforms on or wake up wearing them, go out into battle, and never have the peace of mind knowing if they will return to their quarters that night. Sounds gruesome, doesn’t it? This is war and war is reality. Ask the families who did not lose their soldiers today if they know for certain they will hear from their loved one next week.I mean no disrespect to anyone. I have family members who are serving or who have served in the military. I am proud of them for doing their job, because I believe this to be honorable. I love our soldiers—all of them.

This day marked the single most deadliest loss of American lives in battle in Afghanistan. When will we say, “Enough is enough? When will we, as a Country, stop being so covetous in thinking it is our job to fix the world?” I was so upset when I read about the news on CNN that I cried for an hour. I spoke with my son shortly afterward and he inquired what was wrong with me. He could hear it in my voice. I told him about the CH-47 being shot down. Although my own son or daughter was not on that helicopter, you would have to know me personally to understand my feelings. First, I was heartbroken and sad for the brave soldiers and their families. Then, I became angry. I say now, again, “Enough is enough. We are at war because of greed. In my opinion, this is why we are fighting and what America is doing–because of our own greed.”

These are three of my reasons for believing why greed leads us to war:

1). The U.S. sticks its nose in where it should not. It is actually quite simple and although I am terrible with math and algorithms, this formula is easy. If someone attacks us, we should go to war, get in there, bomb the hell out of them, and get it over with. Then we should bring our soldiers back home. Period.

2). We were attacked on 9/11/2001—a day most of us will never forget. Innocent lives were snatched right out from those twin towers, as others watched in horror. Flashbulb memories are implanted in some of our minds forever, as a result of this. Greed has kept us in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, not the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, if you really think about it. The U.S. is greedy, has a necessity to improve Western access to Iraqi oil, and has spent trillions of dollars on this war. Look at the financial crisis our Country is in now, all due to fighting a war filled with greed.

3). The U.S. has some belief it is our duty to save the world. Each time there is a crisis, we run to the aid of another country, whether that be with troops to fight their war-as we did 45 years ago in Vietnam, send supplies when a natural disaster hits, such as a tsunami, or the earthquake in Haiti. We sent our American troops to help there also. We have become filled with greed in thinking we can save the world. The fact of the matter, it that we cannot do that. A realist would tell you this is not possible.

I hope these three reasons listed above help you understand why I believe greed leads us to war. For those who do not know me, you may be thinking, “What a terrible person she is, to be so cold, to be so filled with hate and vile for others.” Nothing could be further from the truth. I love people. I love the people of all countries. I do not love people who are haters, bigots, stereotype others, and who are prejudice. War is about killing; however, this is for protection, not for righteousness.

In the United States, we have people who are starving—babies and children who are lucky if they get one meal a day at a shelter for the homeless. In the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, entire families are turned away if there is not enough room for them. They are forced to stay out in this 100 degree heat. Battered women and their children may have no place to stay and no food to eat. The isolated elderly in their own homes, can sometimes not pay their electricity payments, get their utilities shut off, and are victimized by their own family members who steal their social security checks from their online accounts.

As the saying goes, “Freedom is not free.” It never has been and it never will be free. Remove the “G” from the word “greed” and replace it with the letter “F”. The new word becomes, “Freed.” I just made that up as I was writing this. How about if we turn our greed into freed and make this a better society so fewer of our United States soldiers will have to die in war, as they did today? Every single day, a war is happening right here in America, the land of the free.

©Copyright — Gayle Joplin Hall, PhD. All rights reserved worldwide. None of this material may be downloaded or reproduced without written permission from the author.

U.S. Navy Seals and Special Forces

Reasons Why Soldiers Have Difficulty Adjusting to a Civilian Lifestyle After Serving Their Country

          “The hardest part, by far, is to make the bad pictures go away.  In war time, the world is one big long horror movie, image after image.  If this is anything like Vietnam, I’m in for a lifetime of wee-hour creeps.” — Tim O’Brien, Vietnam Veteran.

Assimilating back into an everyday routine is difficult for anyone who has been absent for a period of time.  Have your ever gone on a long vacation and not driven a car for three weeks, then upon arriving back at the airport, gotten into your car, and noticed how strange it felt to put your car into reverse and pull out of the parking lot?  Think for just a moment about how awkward it must be for soldiers returning from a combat zone to come back to the United States after being at war.

Soldiers returning from active duty in the military serving in the combat arms, especially if they have been in the Infantry or a “Grunt” (meaning someone other than a POG—Personnel other than Grunts), are more likely to experience difficulty regulating back into normal, resident existence than a Fobbit (soldiers who never leave the gates).  Once these men and women are ready to leave the military and enter a civilian lifestyle, there are many adjustments to be made.  I will list three of the Psychological and Social dilemmas faced by Veterans returning to society.

Psychologically, these Veterans are faced with numerous issues.  Three of these issues include:

(1).  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects many of the soldiers returning from war.  This is the number one psychological problem.  There are specific ways to assess and diagnose PTSD symptomology for combat Veterans.  Treatment methodology may vary, according to individual needs of the Veteran, as there is no “one cure fits all.”  Cognitive behavioral intervention has proven to be effective over a prolonged period of time, as has psychotherapy.

(2).  Panic attacks can be set off by any reminder of the trauma the soldier endured during their line of duty.  Firework displays may be beautiful to the general public, but to a soldier, this sounds like gunfire and Javelin tank missile.

(3).  Flashbacks are the “trademark” of PTSD.   The terror of war can return months, years, or decades later at the drop of a dime.   A stressful experience can bring back the flashback.

Socially, our Veterans who are returning to civilian life have a challenging time adjusting, as well.  Three of the issues they face are:

(1).  Veterans cannot talk with the normal civilian when they are troubled.  Let’s face it.  You, nor I, have seen, heard, or experienced what a combat soldier has done.  Only those who have “been there, done that” truly understand with empathetic hearts what that soldier has been through.  Do not ask a soldier or Veteran what he or she did or what he or she saw while they were at war.  This would be insulting and one of the most stupid things you can say to a Veteran.  If they want to talk about it, they will.  And if they do, just listen.  You don’t have to say a word, except perhaps suggest they seek professional help if they need it (and trust me, most do).

(2).  Hypervigilance is both psychological (a pattern under PTSD) and a social problem for the warrior upon returning home.  The Veteran is constantly  hypervigilant to the point of noticing all smells, scoping out a crowd for the one who appears to dressed differently  (we may think someone dressed to the nine in a jacket is handsome, whereas the soldier is thinking, “What is underneath that heavy jacket?”), when they do close their eyes, a soldier’s ears begin working overtime because this is what they have been trained to do, and a soldier is always searching for the nearest door and exit route in every room.  A soldier has been trained to be “on guard” at all times, so letting down his or her guard, just because they are back in society, does not mean this will come easy for them.

(3).  Acceptance and integrating, in general, will be difficult for the Veteran upon returning home.  During the Vietnam era, the returning soldiers were hated and loathed because of the war.  Now, with the return of our soldiers, they are welcomed with open arms.  This attitude surely helps, but please remember, the soldier must train himself or herself to go from warrior mode to civilian mode.  What we, as civilians, take for granted and as normal, everyday routine, will not be normal to the Veteran for a long time.  When we are stopped in our car, not moving on six lanes of traffic during rush hour, we know this is because of a wreck up ahead or due to a traffic jam.  The returning soldier is instantly thinking, “How can I get out of here—where is my escape route?”  If you live in a large city and are stopped on an extended bridge due to traffic, you accept the fact you could be in your car for three hours and shut it off while waiting.  The Veteran is wondering where the IED (roadside bomb) is.

Hopefully, those three bullet points each for psychological and social aspects of blending back into society helped you understand what it is like for a soldier to return home and why they may struggle.  As one who cares for Veterans, try to remember that assimilating back into normal, run-of-the-mill routines is not going to be easy for the soldiers who are returning to civilian lives.  We must be sensitive to their needs.  When Veterans say they do not feel like going out into a large crowd or party, please understand they may be having a stint of hypervigilance that day and just do not feel like being in a crowd.

Above all, patience is the key in helping Veterans cope with returning to civilian ways of life.

©Copyright – Gayle Joplin Hall, PhD.  All rights reserved worldwide.  None of this material may be downloaded or reproduced without written permission from the author.