by Douglas Laipple, M.D.
American Reporter Correspondent
November 20, 2007
SOLDIERS HATE WAR MOST
CARTERSVILLE, Ga. -- A patient, who has been directly and indirectly affected by the deaths of servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan, recently chastised me for having been in the Army, saying that she was against war and that I and my fellow veterans should be ashamed of ourselves for perpetuating the deaths of other human beings. My answer to her was along these lines:
You must keep in mind that the person who hates war the most is the soldier. I assure you there is no pleasure being in a war zone, having to kill or be killed. So to chastise a soldier for fighting is to kill the messenger for the message. However, to the spurious question, "What if they gave a war and nobody came?", the answer is that our country would fall rapidly to the enemy, and we would all be under the control of a new regime with loss of democracy, loss of personal freedom, and certainly loss of life, with ethnic cleansing creating the worst bloodbath anyone can imagine.
That is why our country sends soldiers into battle: to protect our way of life. People can question whether a certain battle, or even a certain war, is in fact necessary, but what if they are wrong - and it is in fact necessary? There may not be a chance to reflect on the decision.
Getting back to the original question, the soldier does not derive any pleasure in fighting, but (s)he derives a great deal of satisfaction in knowing that his or her efforts may be saving our freedoms and keeping the people safe at home.
If the lives of my family were threatened by an intruder, and I could stop him or her with a weapon (after all dialogue and pleas had failed), I would reluctantly use the weapon. Afterwards, I would be emotionally scarred by that trauma, and I would question what I could or should have done to keep the intruder out in the first place or wonder what I could have done or said which would have made my use of the weapon unnecessary, and I may have flashbacks to that horrifying moment when I pulled the trigger in fear and anger.
Such is the plight of the veterans and one of the reasons why they need psychiatric help.
There is also the lingering question of "Why did I survive when my friend, Chris, and others died?", as well as problems created by long separations from family and the difficulties of helping children know why daddy or mommy has not been there for them.
A veteran is similar to a senator who has been elected by his or her constituents. When it comes time to vote, (s)he needs to put aside his or her own personal opinions and vote the way the constituents want their senator to vote. A veteran feels an overwhelming, sometimes burdensome, sense of duty that (s)he has been elected by God or fate to live his or her life, not only for himself or herself, but also for all of the comrades who have given theirs.
Every day you should thank veterans for their unselfish service. They are the wind beneath our country's wings.
Douglas Laipple, M.D., is a psychiatrist in private practice in Cartersville, Ga. He's been in the field for more than 30 years. Dr. Laipple can be contacted at email@example.com.