Lao Tzu

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu

Monday, March 25, 2013

Healing from the Wars: Whatever It Takes

Picture this: I'm sitting on a chair this morning in the front office of Advanced Auto & Electric. I'm there to get the final repair and test needed after my first smog test failed. On my head sits my orange baseball cap, the one that reads, "01.20.09 - Bush's Last Day." Behind the chair on the wall hangs a bulletin board with all sorts of notes, pictures, keys, whatever, and placed boldly at center a poster reads, OBAMA YOU ARROGANT KNOW IT ALL/DON'T APOLOGIZE FOR/ THIS GREAT COUNTRY/THOSE OF US WHO SERVED AND DIED/DON'T DESERVE IT.

 As I wait for my car, I am reading Chris Hedges' book The World as It Is, Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress, a compilation of his TruthDig posts; and I'm on the chapter entitled, They Kill Alex. As I read, the ironic concurrency of me, my cap's message and that of the poster occurs to me. I'm thinking, someone should take a picture.

When I first noticed the poster and its message, I affiliated the guy behind the counter with it and felt contempt for his ignorance about that whole "Obama apologized for America" lie Romney told over and over, and I hoped to get a chance to correct him. However, as I sat reading about Carlos Arredondo and his grief-stricken response to his son's death in Iraq, my imagination went to the second half of that poster's message, "...those of us who served and died don't deserve it," and I began to feel compassion for it. The reports about Obama's "apology" had no basis in fact; regardless, can you blame the vets and their families for needing to feel good about what to them was done for all the good reasons their country had given them for their sacrifices? I have compassion for that: denial on behalf of sanity, for to know the truth would mean soul-defeating dishonor. Only the most courageous manage to face the truth, and if some cannot face it, I'm not going to condemn them.

At home, I made a sandwich and sat down to see what C-Span was up to. Fittingly, a Senate Affairs Committee was holding a hearing on "Veterans Mental Health Care." The subject— PTSD and what to do about it.  I'd missed most of the questions and answers by the panel of experts, but I saw enough to know the most important suggestion never came up: If you want to heal American vets of the post-traumatic stress of war, STOP SENDING THEM THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!

PTSD is not a "disorder;" it's a natural reaction to an abnormal situation. It's the WAR, stupid!