Everything old is new again, Part the Eleventy-Billionth.
A friend of mine once said, “PTSD is the realization that you will never be this cool again.” He was referring to being on deployment, toting guns, and generally being a hard-ass. He was kind of correct. Once you wash the dirt and grit off and put on a clean shirt, you’re out of place in the civilian world. No one gets your jokes. Everyone wonders why you’re so insensitive to the plights of celebrities and pro-ball players. People view you as a victim, someone that somehow got duped into joining the military and marching off to fight, only to come home with less friends and more nightmares. You go to work at your job thinking that whatever you do today will never matter as much as what you did over there. You will never work as hard in this cubicle, office, ambulance, bank, or courthouse, as you did in the killing fields. You have this little voice in the back of your head whispering, “You will never feel more alive. It doesn’t get any better than those days.” Sadly enough, a lot of veterans are heeding this voice and going home and killing themselves, either with a gun or with heroin and Hennessy. The suicide rate is an epidemic and the VA is a joke. Personally, in my non-solicited and ultimately meaningless opinion, I think this is largely due to the fact that a guy went over and put in work, to come home to a government that doesn’t support him, and a public that doesn’t appreciate him. We live in a society that puts more effort and emphasis on Justin-fucking-Bieber than their neighbor who lost his legs in Ramadi. It doesn’t feel good when the media is more ablaze in memoriam for a celebrity that OD’d on the shitter than Chris Kyle or more recently, Aaron Torian. It stings a little when the Commander in Chief makes more phone calls to his travel agent and “brave” basketball players than to the widows of the fallen. Bottom line: empty thanks and the obvious look of pity don’t do much for a guy that feels lost at home without his brothers or people that REALLY care. But, I digress.
The last troops in Iraq left with little fanfare. Under the guidance of an apologetic administration, they left that country with their ears back and their tails tucked. To the guys at home at the time, they could no longer point at the TV and say, “I was there.” Afghanistan seems to be heading the same direction. One big-ass circle. The Taliban are seizing ground again, poised to take power, and the troops (from MY vantage point) are just hanging out in the FOB’s eating Burger King and biding their time, and why shouldn’t they? Our strategy in this country has been telescoped so far that the enemy knows when we’re going home! Why go out and put foot to ass when the shot-clock is down to the final second? No one is truly invested in the war. Again, my opinion.
Perhaps so. But an all-too-accurate one. Just one of many, many reasons why FUSA is finished. And, frankly, deserves to be.