The Washington Post (4/3/2007)http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/03/AR2007030301263.html?referrer=email reports on a hero decorated for galantry in Iraq. Problem is his decoration means nothing to him.
“When the narrator finished reading the story of Workman’s “extraordinary heroism” in Iraq, Brig. Gen. Richard T. Tryon pinned the Navy Cross to Workman’s chest and the crowd in the grandstand stood and cheered. It was a moment of well-deserved triumph, but it didn’t make Workman feel any better.
‘When they put that medal on me, from that point on, I sunk deeper into depression,’ he recalls. ‘Everybody says it must be awesome to win the Navy Cross. Well, as a matter of fact, it’s not. I lost three guys that day, so for the longest time, I didn’t even want to wear it. I’d look down at it and see three dead Marines.’ “ Source Washington Post 4/3/2007.
The cost of war is nor easy to count: the number of corpses, well if they are American. No one knows exactly how many Iraqis are dead. It doesn’t begin to look at what happens to those who survive. Are they the lucky ones?
A few days ago there was another story of a returning soldier. His family had never stopped longing for his return. He had been a loving husband and father. In the event he turned violent on his wife adn ignored his children, including the daughter with whom he had had a very close relationship. Finally he said “goodbye”, went to the garage and switched on the engine. The story goes that he had given an eight year old Iraqi girl sweets. He came back to find the girl hanging, punished for speaking with U.S. soldiers.
Not that the effects of trauma are unknown and have become understood. Those branded as traitors and cowards in World War 1 and executed have been pardoned. What does it take for idiotic leaders to resist the urge to go into battle? In the case of Iraq people demonstrated saying “not in our name”. The United Nations was bypassed, in the U.K. members of cabinet were mislead.
1. The Independent 11/3/2007
2. The Observer 11/3/2007