Outliving your usefulness

The Independent (21/7/2007) prints an article about a wounded soldier whose life has been blighted by his experience and feeling of abandonment now he has served. He has feelings of guilt because a much valued comrade died beside him.
We are brought up to respect life, by family, school, religion. Entry into the army teaches a different ethos. Clearly that ethos does not last beyond the requirements of the institution which requires such behaviour. Blair had gone but now Gordon Brown is presiding over the same situation without a foreseeable solution. Little pretence is given about the fate of Iraqis, but when British soldiers die crocodile tears are shed as their names are read out in parliament. If you don’t die but are just hurt you have years ahead to face. Alone it seems.

“He has nothing but praise for his regiment, which kept in constant touch. He speaks with equal admiration of the nurses and doctors at Basra’s military field hospital, as well as the ‘overworked and underpaid’ NHS staff at Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham.
“But the moment he left hospital things went horribly wrong. He was forgotten, left at home to sink into despair, as his mother Elizabeth, a 58-year-old factory worker, gave up her job to care for him 24 hours a day. His wicked sense of humour is still evident but he has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – mood swings, paranoia, flashbacks and nightmares in which he can still ‘taste the burning ‘ “.Source The Independent 21/7/2007.
Postscript. At least in the US they’re thinking about it.
This week, the Ministry of Defence opened a new ward at the military rehabilitation centre, Headley Court, praising its “world-class care”. L/Cpl Dryden has a very different opinion. “Headley Court left me for eight months. It seems someone had lost my paperwork,” he said. “How could they not find us when my regimental sergeant major was phoning me from Iraq every two weeks? I was really, really bitter.”

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