Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Our Soldiers Are NOT Victims

 

Were you shocked by the combat scenes in “American Sniper?” Do you find yourself worrying about the price our soldiers pay–about how many must suffer post-traumatic stress disorder?

A recently retired four-star general in the United States Marine Corps has a suggestion for you: Knock it off. Our soldiers aren’t victims, and there’s such a thing as post-traumatic growth.

Below, an excerpt from my Uncommon Knowledge interview with Gen. James Mattis–a couple of minutes that will compel and move you.

There are 23 comments.

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  1. Scott Wilmot Member

    Peter: I wasn’t shocked by the combat scenes but I was awed by the valor, loyalty, and pride portrayed in the movie. I never served in the military and don’t know if I could hold up to those values in the face of that horror and have no idea how I would react to killing someone in battle. God bless the men and women of this country who feel called to serve in the military.

    FYI, Jay Nordlinger and Jim Geraghty interviewed Jason Beardsley of The Underground Movement and Jay Redman of Wounded Wear, both distinguished combat veterans, working with Concerned Veterans for America, on this issue. The podcast is available on Ricochet.

    Thanks for sharing the interview with General Mattis.

    • #1
    • March 11, 2015, at 5:26 PM PDT
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  2. The Great Adventure! Inactive
    The Great Adventure! Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    My daughter recently started dating a young man she met at college. He was a Marine Recon soldier in Afghanistan, wounded twice. From what I’ve seen so far, I’m very impressed. Studies hard, holds down a part time job, and most importantly treats my daughter with the respect and kindness I do. HooRah!

    • #2
    • March 11, 2015, at 5:45 PM PDT
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  3. Old Bathos Moderator

    The left instinctively recoils at the essential nature of military service– duty, honor, country. But they also recognize that open contempt for the military is political poison. The meme of soldiers as victims of the political establishment is mostly a function of the psychological and political needs of those who loathe the military, not the empirical reality of veterans.

    I served in a distinctly non-combat role stateside in the Army during the Vietnam War but (a) was called “baby-killer” by morons in my own home city on more than one occasion while in uniform and (b) was occasionally afforded victim group status (presumptively crazed Vietnam vet) in college when I returned to civilian life.

    The overwhelming narcissism of lefties requires everyone to play whatever roles makes the Narrative seem real for them. If we didn’t learn that during the Vietnam War, the Clinton and Obama sagas have made the lesson inescapable.

    • #3
    • March 11, 2015, at 6:57 PM PDT
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  4. doulalady Member
    doulalady Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I cancelled my subscription to our local newspaper because they never, not once, did an article about the military that was not about PTSD.

    • #4
    • March 11, 2015, at 7:35 PM PDT
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  5. Kermit Hoffpauir Inactive

    I never served and never been in combat. HOWEVER, I do know that industry, at least the refining and petrochemical sectors, prefers to hire veterans, for their abilities not just because they served. They tend to work better with others, follow procedures and think outside the box on the fly as the need arises.

    • #5
    • March 11, 2015, at 8:04 PM PDT
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  6. Profile Photo Member

    Amen! Thanks, Peter…

    • #6
    • March 11, 2015, at 10:44 PM PDT
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  7. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor

    “War is stressful, I admit.”

    What has happened to America. Enough of this.

    Be seated.

    Men, all this stuff you hear about America not wanting to fight, wanting to stay out of the war, is a lot of [redacted]. Americans love to fight. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle. When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, the big-league ball players and the toughest boxers. Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. That’s why Americans have never lost and will never lose a war. The very thought of losing is hateful to Americans. Battle is the most significant competition in which a man can indulge. It brings out all that is best and it removes all that is base.You are not all going to die. Only two percent of you right here today would be killed in a major battle. Every man is scared in his first action. If he says he’s not, he’s a goddamn liar. But the real hero is the man who fights even though he’s scared. Some men will get over their fright in a minute under fire, some take an hour, and for some it takes days. But the real man never lets his fear of death overpower his honor, his sense of duty to his country, and his innate manhood.

    You all go back to being stressed and traumatized or victimized or whatever you are back in the rump of the Empire. I’ll hold down the rest of it while you get over the vapors.

    • #7
    • March 12, 2015, at 1:58 AM PDT
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  8. Titus Techera Contributor

    Old Bathos:The left instinctively recoils at the essential nature of military service– duty, honor, country. But they also recognize that open contempt for the military is political poison. The meme of soldiers as victims of the political establishment is mostly a function of the psychological and political needs of those who loathe the military, not the empirical reality of veterans.

    I served in a distinctly non-combat role stateside in the Army during the Vietnam War but (a) was called “baby-killer” by morons in my own home city on more than one occasion while in uniform and (b) was occasionally afforded victim group status (presumptively crazed Vietnam vet) in college when I returned to civilian life.

    The overwhelming narcissism of lefties requires everyone to play whatever roles makes the Narrative seem real for them. If we didn’t learn that during the Vietnam War, the Clinton and Obama sagas have made the lesson inescapable.

    I do not wish to detract from the scorn heaped on the people who got hysterical about Vietnam & Iraq, I guess almost always on the left, but the notion that war is what old men do & young men suffer is, indeed, old. When once the Great War turned out not to be so great, it was not democracy that was blamed for it–that’s a young man’s game–but the career politicians & men in power–the old men.

    But if you go back far enough, the Lysistrata of Aristophanes pits old women–who want young women to win the fight & have sex, although they are themselves too old–against old men–whose last passion is, of course, anger, & who are for the war. The young men are caught between their manly need to fight for the city, which is run by old men, & their love of their wives, who are now denying them marital bliss… Another famous case is the Wasps, where the old men condemn everyone brought up before the courts of justice, & the younger men try to persuade them domestic contentedness is preferable to wrath. So that’s comedy for you, old men are angry & scared of death!

    I’m sure he was wrong & that things have changed, but in my experience men are angrier & more war-like than women. As men go, the young are naturally apt to fight, but not to rule in the Senate. Hence the notion that old men send the young to war. What legislature without important veterans would have the authority to send young men to hell?

    • #8
    • March 12, 2015, at 4:18 AM PDT
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  9. Ward Inactive

    Cowards die many times before their death. The valiant never taste of death but once. Alas, Hollywood focuses on the former since that is what they best understand.

    • #9
    • March 12, 2015, at 4:48 AM PDT
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  10. Spin Coolidge
    Spin Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Claire Berlinski:“War is stressful, I admit.”

    What has happened to America. Enough of this.

    Be seated.

    You all go back to being stressed and traumatized or victimized or whatever you are back in the rump of the Empire. I’ll hold down the rest of it while you get over the vapors.

    We’re gonna grab him by the nose, and we’re gonna kick him in the ass. We’re gonna kick the hell out of him all the time, and we’re gonna go through him like crap through a goose!

    • #10
    • March 12, 2015, at 6:14 AM PDT
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  11. jetstream Inactive

    Claire Berlinski: .. Battle is the most significant competition in which a man can indulge. It brings out all that is best and it removes all that is base. ..

    Combat is the ultimate experience. Most of those I know who have been there would do it again if they could -especially as you get older. After combat, other experiences are pale and colorless.

    • #11
    • March 12, 2015, at 6:33 AM PDT
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  12. Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    Last time I was in DC, we visited the Vietnam Memorial, which I’d hadn’t seen in a long time. Once again, I was confounded by just how moving and beautiful I found it, but also how morally misled the choices behind it were. It acknowledges only those who died, not those who fought.

    • #12
    • March 12, 2015, at 7:43 AM PDT
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  13. Ross C Member
    Ross C Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I understand that there is more PTSD but that many of the soldiers who are diagnosed are by no means combat soldiers. Someone who flies a Orion P3 is much more likely to have PTSD now that before and they have not been in combat at all.

    Claire are you quoting the movie Patton? That is funny, but I believe it to be true that one of men’s primary responsibilities is warfare with other groups. If anything I would guess that war is about as stressful as it was in the days of Agincourt or perhaps less. I could be wrong about this of course not knowing modern battle or medieval warfare personally.

    For this reason I think it is unlikely that there is something about modern warfare that is unique perhaps other than the lack of clarity in winning and losing.

    • #13
    • March 12, 2015, at 7:55 AM PDT
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  14. MLH Inactive
    MLH

    Ross C:I understand that there is more PTSD but that many of the soldiers who are diagnosed are by no means combat soldiers. Someone who flies a Orion P3 is much more likely to have PTSD now that before and they have not been in combat at all.

    Claire are you quoting the movie Patton? That is funny, but I believe it to be true that one of men’s primary responsibilities is warfare with other groups. If anything I would guess that war is about as stressful as it was in the days of Agincourt or perhaps less. I could be wrong about this of course not knowing modern battle or medieval warfare personally.

    For this reason I think it is unlikely that there is something about modern warfare that is unique perhaps other than the lack of clarity in winning and losing.

    Are you baiting Devereaux and Simon?

    • #14
    • March 12, 2015, at 7:58 AM PDT
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  15. GrannyDude Member

    When my son was being recruited to join the Marine Corps, I felt contradictory things:

    Like GWB and Dick Cheney, my father was a Yale grad. Unlike George and Dick, my father volunteered to fight in a war he could have gotten out of. Dad felt strongly that those to whom society has given much owe the most.(Semper Fi, Dad)

    He was badly wounded and yes, in retrospect, I think Dad came home with PTSD. I was and remain very proud of my him. His ideal of service is the standard by which other men are judged. To this day, I have a hard time regarding GWB and his VP without a deep, residual disdain.

    My first husband served his state and country as a State Trooper, and he died doing so.

    I did not want my boy to die, kill or be maimed in body or mind in Iraq or Afghanistan. I did not want to be handed another folded flag on behalf of a grateful nation. I was tired, frankly, of having skin in the game.

    I did not prevent my son from enlisting. Indeed, because he was still seventeen, I had to sign his paperwork. He served eight years, and I was afraid the whole time. And I’m very, very proud of him.

    Incidentally, my father was a democrat, my husband was a democrat and my son is a democrat. Just saying.

    • #15
    • March 12, 2015, at 8:44 AM PDT
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  16. Solon Inactive

    Old Bathos:The left instinctively recoils at the essential nature of military service– duty, honor, country. But they also recognize that open contempt for the military is political poison. The meme of soldiers as victims of the political establishment is mostly a function of the psychological and political needs of those who loathe the military, not the empirical reality of veterans.

    I served in a distinctly non-combat role stateside in the Army during the Vietnam War but (a) was called “baby-killer” by morons in my own home city on more than one occasion while in uniform and (b) was occasionally afforded victim group status (presumptively crazed Vietnam vet) in college when I returned to civilian life.

    People on the left I’ve known admit openly that they think duty, honor, and country are silly things to value, that nationalism is a problem because naive people actually believe in it.

    Once a guy got mad at me and even stormed out of a party we were at because I said I thought it was good for some kids to join the armed forces, and that I thought overall the US military did good for the world.

    When I was a kid, and the song “Give Peace a Chance” came on the radio, my dad (who was in the army but never went to Viet Nam) said sarcastically, “Oh, give peace a chance, I never thought about that!” I understood exactly what he meant, these people who talk about peace and world peace are actually SO arrogant because they think they have some idea that no one else ever considered.

    • #16
    • March 12, 2015, at 12:32 PM PDT
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  17. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor

    Kate Braestrup:When my son was being recruited to join the Marine Corps, I felt contradictory things:

    Like GWB and Dick Cheney, my father was a Yale grad. Unlike George and Dick, my father volunteered to fight in a war he could have gotten out of. Dad felt strongly that those to whom society has given much owe the most.(Semper Fi, Dad)

    He was badly wounded and yes, in retrospect, I think Dad came home with PTSD. I was and remain very proud of my him. His ideal of service is the standard by which other men are judged. To this day, I have a hard time regarding GWB and his VP without a deep, residual disdain.

    My first husband served his state and country as a State Trooper, and he died doing so.

    I did not want my boy to die, kill or be maimed in body or mind in Iraq or Afghanistan. I did not want to be handed another folded flag on behalf of a grateful nation. I was tired, frankly, of having skin in the game.

    I did not prevent my son from enlisting. Indeed, because he was still seventeen, I had to sign his paperwork. He served eight years, and I was afraid the whole time. And I’m very, very proud of him.

    Incidentally, my father was a democrat, my husband was a democrat and my son is a democrat. Just saying.

    This is why you’ll find me rather obsessed with foreign policy. I want your son and others like him to be one hell of a decoration that we never have to use. Because if we were to use a lot of other tools–far better than we seem to be capable of or even to conceive of using them now–I believe we’d have a much better chance of keeping problems from getting so out of hand that your son and others like him will be killed.

    For what it’s worth, “a folded flag on behalf of a grateful nation” is not good enough. A truly grateful nation would be thinking long, hard, and deep about how to make sure a lot fewer women you receive folded flags on behalf of our grateful nation, which is in fact so ungrateful that it doesn’t even want to think about questions such as “How might we achieve our foreign policy aims short of war?”

    • #17
    • March 12, 2015, at 1:11 PM PDT
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  18. GrannyDude Member

    Claire Berlinski:

    Kate Braestrup:When my son was being recruited to join the Marine Corps, I felt contradictory things:

    Like GWB and Dick Cheney, my father was a Yale grad. Unlike George and Dick, my father volunteered to fight in a war he could have gotten out of. Dad felt strongly that those to whom society has given much owe the most.(Semper Fi, Dad)

    He was badly wounded and yes, in retrospect, I think Dad came home with PTSD. I was and remain very proud of my him. His ideal of service is the standard by which other men are judged. To this day, I have a hard time regarding GWB and his VP without a deep, residual disdain.

    My first husband served his state and country as a State Trooper, and he died doing so.

    I did not want my boy to die, kill or be maimed in body or mind in Iraq or Afghanistan. I did not want to be handed another folded flag on behalf of a grateful nation. I was tired, frankly, of having skin in the game.

    I did not prevent my son from enlisting. Indeed, because he was still seventeen, I had to sign his paperwork. He served eight years, and I was afraid the whole time. And I’m very, very proud of him.

    Incidentally, my father was a democrat, my husband was a democrat and my son is a democrat. Just saying.

    This is why you’ll find me rather obsessed with foreign policy. I want your son and others like him to be one hell of a decoration that we never have to use. Because if we were to use a lot of other tools–far better than we seem to be capable of or even to conceive of using them now–I believe we’d have a much better chance of keeping problems from getting so out of hand that your son and others like him will be killed.

    For what it’s worth, “a folded flag on behalf of a grateful nation” is not good enough. A truly grateful nation would be thinking long, hard, and deep about how to make sure a lot fewer women you receive folded flags on behalf of our grateful nation, which is in fact so ungrateful that it doesn’t even want to think about questions such as “How might we achieve our foreign policy aims short of war?”

    Thank you, Claire—and I’m glad there are minds like yours working on the project.

    • #18
    • March 12, 2015, at 1:21 PM PDT
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  19. jetstream Inactive

    Kate Braestrup: Like GWB and Dick Cheney, my father was a Yale grad. Unlike George and Dick, my father volunteered to fight in a war he could have gotten out of. Dad felt strongly that those to whom society has given much owe the most.(Semper Fi, Dad)

    You obviously are very proud of your father, he must have been a remarkable man.

    I’d like to offer a different view about GWB’s service during the Vietnam War.The Democrats and the MSM have successfully assassinated Bush’s character and maligned his military service. Bush was a fighter pilot in the Air National Guard and flew F-102’s. The F-102 was an interceptor, it’s role was air defense -to intercept Russian bombers. The F-102 had no mission in Vietnam.

    Volunteering to fly fighters would be a bad choice for the purpose of avoiding combat. GWB was a fighter pilot, I think that says it all.

    • #19
    • March 12, 2015, at 5:55 PM PDT
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  20. GrannyDude Member

    I don’t know whether George W. Bush’s military service was or was not relevant to his service as the President of the United States thirty years later.

    However, prompted by your post, Jetstream, I went back and looked through some of the material on Bush’s time in the Air National Guard. Even by the most generous reading, it cannot be called a profile in courage.

    As you say, my father was a remarkable man. The standard he set was very high. In 2004, my son met that standard. His Commander In Chief did not.

    • #20
    • March 12, 2015, at 6:52 PM PDT
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  21. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor

    Kate Braestrup:Thank you, Claire—and I’m glad there are minds like yours working on the project.

    I’m often–very often–tempted to say, “Claire, you are succumbing to narcissism and grandiosity. You have no real power over any of this. Study, think it out, try to figure out what you can do, try to write and persuade people to take it as seriously as I do and obsess about it until I dream about it at night and wonder if I’ve gone mad–or maybe go for a walk, tune out the news, and figure, “I can’t do a thing about it, may as well live.”

    Then I come across a comment like this, and I think, “This woman seems to think ‘a mind like mine’ could be useful to that project.” Obviously, mine alone is not, but maybe it could help

    So I think, “Back to work. I may let her down. She may be wrong. I may be kidding myself. But I have to try. She’s real. So are far too many people I know. If by some weird luck I have any chance of having any idea or insight that could save a human life, or the influence to persuade people it might be a good idea, or plant the seed of an idea that someone else can use to do come up with a better one? Well, I can stop and smell the roses every now and again, because everyone needs R&R every now and again to do their best work. But it’s clear: I’ve got to try. Smell the Roses once a week, maybe, but not more.

    • #21
    • March 14, 2015, at 6:58 AM PDT
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  22. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor

    Ross C:Claire are you quoting the movie Patton?

    I’m not quoting a movie. I’m quoting Patton himself.

    There are a number of versions of it because it wasn’t recorded, but they don’t differ greatly. I have no doubt that it was basically that speech. It really happened.

    • #22
    • March 14, 2015, at 7:05 AM PDT
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  23. GrannyDude Member

    Claire Berlinski:

    Kate Braestrup:Thank you, Claire—and I’m glad there are minds like yours working on the project.

    I’m often–very often–tempted to say, “Claire, you are succumbing to narcissism and grandiosity. You have no real power over any of this. Study, think it out, try to figure out what you can do, try to write and persuade people to take it as seriously as I do and obsess about it until I dream about it at night and wonder if I’ve gone mad–or maybe go for a walk, tune out the news, and figure, “I can’t do a thing about it, may as well live.”

    Then I come across a comment like this, and I think, “This woman seems to think ‘a mind like mine’ could be useful to that project.” Obviously, mine alone is not, but maybe it could help

    So I think, “Back to work. I may let her down. She may be wrong. I may be kidding myself. But I have to try. She’s real. So are far too many people I know. If by some weird luck I have any chance of having any idea or insight that could save a human life, or the influence to persuade people it might be a good idea, or plant the seed of an idea that someone else can use to do come up with a better one? Well, I can stop and smell the roses every now and again, because everyone needs R&R every now and again to do their best work. But it’s clear: I’ve got to try. Smell the Roses once a week, maybe, but not more.

    :-)

    • #23
    • March 14, 2015, at 7:26 PM PDT
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