Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
You've changed your point - I was objecting to your emphasis on the smiling:

Tonight I saw on TV smiling faces of Israeli solders making "victory" signs...
I never was able to understand that...and during Balkan wars of 90s when ever I saw smiling face of a solder coming from " battle" I felt sorry for him...

I was saying that in fact it is NOT hard to understand such smiling - it's relief at being out of it and being alive - and not in itself a sign that they are not "normal" - whatever that is.

Of course war can damage people - to varying degrees, but it's important to remember that not all people in the military are in the front line and not even all of those kill others. Of course, for those who do, or witness it, it can be traumatic:

A nationwide, long-term study of Vietnam veterans -- now entering its third phase -- concluded that one-third of combat soldiers returned emotionally wounded. After the 1991 Persian Gulf War, about 10 percent of the troops suffered distress from a conflict that was much briefer and less intense.

Given the confusing, urban ambush-style fighting in this Iraq campaign, experts predict trauma levels closer to Vietnam's.


Fifteen years after being discharged, the post-Vietnam study shows, 15 percent of veterans still suffered from PTSD, the most serious of trauma reactions.


It doesn't advance understanding merely to assert that all soldiers return not "normal" - especially when merely based on seeing some of them smile.  

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Tue Jan 20th, 2009 at 05:17:39 PM EST
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During NATO bombardment of Belgrade in 1999 a lot of people actually refused to go to shelters or basements after few days and they started to "have parties". Not being able to work much they visited each other constantly, drunk heavily, and pretended that nothing is happening. But it's not healthy behavior. It's not normal reaction.
I couldn't get my brother to send his three sons ( 10, 8 and 6 at the time) out of the country till bomb exploded at the next city block...When I argued that children will  be psychologically damaged he would say " No, they sleep during bombardment time"...He was in denial...
What is normal? Hard question. Having to shoot  another man or be afraid that he will shoot you doesn't sound like normal part of one's life.
Then again, it is complex...Not everyone can be surgeon/operator , and stay normal...I am not saying they who kill in war are all insane...but they are not their "old" selves any more...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Jan 22nd, 2009 at 12:15:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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