Killing people is a bad idea. It causes pain and destruction to those killed or injured and it leaves permanent scars on many of the people who killed or injured others.
I can not say that war is never justified but I do believe that it damages many of those young men and women who are involved in the prosecution of any war.
I was a young man in the Army many years ago and I carry the effects of those events and actions with me now. For many years it was a terrible burden and I did not know whether I would survive the emotional angst.
I am past the place in my life where it seems unsurvivable to remember. I have taken these experiences and become a better person as a result of my life long ago. I think killing people is a bad idea and hope never to wish for another's death or be the instrument of another persons death.
I have two much younger brothers. One of my brothers returned with severe injuries over a year ago. He is now having his next of many operations. If the operation is a success he will live longer but be sterile and on a colostomy bag perhaps for the rest of his life. If it is not a success he has been informed he would not survive more than two or three months. He has nightmares, flashbacks, and a tremendous amount of survivor guilt. His twin brother is in the Marine Corps and is deploying to Iraq this month. I hope he comes home physically healthy and psychologically intact.
The counseling the returning troops receive is inadequate. The Veterans Administration and the Military hospitals are over burdened and unprepared to deal with proper psychological counseling.
I have lived through several wars and their aftermaths. I see the same self destructive behavior in those trying to forget their experiences. Substance abuse both alcohol and drugs, extreme anger and violent eruptions and severe depression all of which are destructive to the person and his/her family. I see many returned veterans die of their pain.
I also see some people who overcome and are better for their experiences. I hope I am one of those people. Today I feel and believe it is so that I am a better man for the path I have walked. I know many other people who are better people as a result of those war time experiences.
I will now step down from my soap box and thank you all for listening.