The contemporary soldier question

VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,180
Brassicaland
#31
Some people are more susceptible to PTSD than others. The more one is "innocent", untested, inexperienced to horrors, stress, or trauma, the more they are burdened by it when it finally happens. Sometimes is simply not having the imagination to understand the horrors of life, so when they present themselves in high stress situations the mind simply is overloaded. Many, especially these days, don't have the upbringing to prepare them adequately for the many horrors of life, even those that don't happen in war. That's why some people are actually getting legitimate PTSD just from watching the news following a traumatic event. They aren't lying about it, they're just so soft they break down from only seeing a few clips about it, not even personally experiencing it. Then you have others who are simply crazy to start with. Screws loose, chemical imbalance, really messed up childhoods, etc. By the time they are adults they are already walking psychological time bombs ready to explode, just waiting for the right spark.

Veterans are people too, they are a subsection of society. In the US military, contrary to popular believe, they are mostly middle class. They're going to have smart people, well adjusted people, educated people, but also dumb ones, ignorant ones, those who before they even go to basic or boot camp will be exhibiting all the symptoms of psychological disorders that the rest of the population present. Crazy people exist and some crazy people join the military and manage to bluff their way through the limited screening. A lot of these don't do well when it comes to traumatic experiences.

Then there are those who participate in things that at the time seemed like a good idea but in reflection they simply can't deal with. They live with that guilt and it destroys them. For others, stimuli occurs, they get overloaded, chemical reactions happen in the brain and cause damage of a sort that cannot truly ever be repaired. Like explosions triggering looking for cover. But with practice they can overcome the fight or flight mechanism and learn to live with it. For others, its the dreams. Lots of the population don't dream much, which suprises me because from the moment my head hits the pillow to the time I wake up its just very descriptive and honest dreams, often lucid. But for the others who don't normally dream, unpleasant ones are traumatizing, so they do what they can to make themselves not dream. Alcohol helps, but ultimately makes things worse.

Most people who volunteer as professional Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, most of them leave much stronger than they were before they came in. Many have been traumatized to some extent, especially the combat veterans (which doesn't automatically include everyone whose been to Iraq or Afghanistan). But they also learn about esoteric concepts like honor, loyalty, integrity, camaraderie. They develop intensive problem solving abilities. They are tougher men and women because they have been tested in adverse environments numerous times and worked through it. They can operate on little sleep, high stress, intense deadlines, life and death. They are trained to not quit, not make excuses, to always try their hardest. They are taught the value of self discipline, to be punctual, to groom themselves. To respect and obey leadership appointed over them, even when they don't like them personally or don't agree with their decisions.

By and large the emphasis on PTSD has turned into a disaster. The road to hell is paved in good intentions, now the military is medically retiring people for PTSD who have never even deployed, let alone to a combat theater, let alone ever seen anyone fight or die. They wont refuse as long as the person claiming to have it says the right key words, the malingerers are teaching each other what to say. VA hospitals are full of malingerers trying to scam an extra 10-20% disability by claiming whatever they can. "I have nightmares! Pay me!" Something like 75% of every military servicemen (including women, who are closer to 100%) are claiming benefits. PTSD is one of the easiest to claim (sexual assault is the easiest to get, and its 100%). PTSD is a hot button topic and few in the system are willing to risk the career destroying repercussions for denying someone, so they will ALWAYS pay out if you claim it. The media loves it too, it gives them a medical reason to be anti-war for the conflicts they don't like. Politicians like it, they can use it to slam opponents, etc. Civilians like to talk about it, it confirms to them they made the right decision in not signing up.

The reality is much different. Its more pseudoscience than actual science. Like climate change, people think they are smarter for "understanding" it, but the reality is they don't, and are easily tricked. I've met quite a few people who were legitimately traumatized by war. A sad but large part of my platoon ended up killing themselves later on. I've met far more that I knew for a fact were milking an event that I was there with them when it happened and I knew for a fact they didn't react the way they told the doctors they did. Not all people are mentally stable, but really, most aren't honest especially when it comes to the possibility of free money for the rest of your life.
Certainly tested people are more reliable than untested ones; university students with zero history of employment may find themselves unready for the world of work.
Do you mean that the majority of veterans are stronger, more disciplined people than previously, both mentally and physically?
PTSD is indeed a complicated thing!
 

VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,180
Brassicaland
#32
Some people are more susceptible to PTSD than others. The more one is "innocent", untested, inexperienced to horrors, stress, or trauma, the more they are burdened by it when it finally happens. Sometimes is simply not having the imagination to understand the horrors of life, so when they present themselves in high stress situations the mind simply is overloaded. Many, especially these days, don't have the upbringing to prepare them adequately for the many horrors of life, even those that don't happen in war. That's why some people are actually getting legitimate PTSD just from watching the news following a traumatic event. They aren't lying about it, they're just so soft they break down from only seeing a few clips about it, not even personally experiencing it. Then you have others who are simply crazy to start with. Screws loose, chemical imbalance, really messed up childhoods, etc. By the time they are adults they are already walking psychological time bombs ready to explode, just waiting for the right spark.

Veterans are people too, they are a subsection of society. In the US military, contrary to popular believe, they are mostly middle class. They're going to have smart people, well adjusted people, educated people, but also dumb ones, ignorant ones, those who before they even go to basic or boot camp will be exhibiting all the symptoms of psychological disorders that the rest of the population present. Crazy people exist and some crazy people join the military and manage to bluff their way through the limited screening. A lot of these don't do well when it comes to traumatic experiences.

Then there are those who participate in things that at the time seemed like a good idea but in reflection they simply can't deal with. They live with that guilt and it destroys them. For others, stimuli occurs, they get overloaded, chemical reactions happen in the brain and cause damage of a sort that cannot truly ever be repaired. Like explosions triggering looking for cover. But with practice they can overcome the fight or flight mechanism and learn to live with it. For others, its the dreams. Lots of the population don't dream much, which suprises me because from the moment my head hits the pillow to the time I wake up its just very descriptive and honest dreams, often lucid. But for the others who don't normally dream, unpleasant ones are traumatizing, so they do what they can to make themselves not dream. Alcohol helps, but ultimately makes things worse.

Most people who volunteer as professional Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, most of them leave much stronger than they were before they came in. Many have been traumatized to some extent, especially the combat veterans (which doesn't automatically include everyone whose been to Iraq or Afghanistan). But they also learn about esoteric concepts like honor, loyalty, integrity, camaraderie. They develop intensive problem solving abilities. They are tougher men and women because they have been tested in adverse environments numerous times and worked through it. They can operate on little sleep, high stress, intense deadlines, life and death. They are trained to not quit, not make excuses, to always try their hardest. They are taught the value of self discipline, to be punctual, to groom themselves. To respect and obey leadership appointed over them, even when they don't like them personally or don't agree with their decisions.

By and large the emphasis on PTSD has turned into a disaster. The road to hell is paved in good intentions, now the military is medically retiring people for PTSD who have never even deployed, let alone to a combat theater, let alone ever seen anyone fight or die. They wont refuse as long as the person claiming to have it says the right key words, the malingerers are teaching each other what to say. VA hospitals are full of malingerers trying to scam an extra 10-20% disability by claiming whatever they can. "I have nightmares! Pay me!" Something like 75% of every military servicemen (including women, who are closer to 100%) are claiming benefits. PTSD is one of the easiest to claim (sexual assault is the easiest to get, and its 100%). PTSD is a hot button topic and few in the system are willing to risk the career destroying repercussions for denying someone, so they will ALWAYS pay out if you claim it. The media loves it too, it gives them a medical reason to be anti-war for the conflicts they don't like. Politicians like it, they can use it to slam opponents, etc. Civilians like to talk about it, it confirms to them they made the right decision in not signing up.

The reality is much different. Its more pseudoscience than actual science. Like climate change, people think they are smarter for "understanding" it, but the reality is they don't, and are easily tricked. I've met quite a few people who were legitimately traumatized by war. A sad but large part of my platoon ended up killing themselves later on. I've met far more that I knew for a fact were milking an event that I was there with them when it happened and I knew for a fact they didn't react the way they told the doctors they did. Not all people are mentally stable, but really, most aren't honest especially when it comes to the possibility of free money for the rest of your life.
Initially, military may prefer people with clean family backgrounds.
Mao Zedong was known to state "没有文化的军队是愚蠢的军队,而愚蠢的军队不可能战胜敌人的” (an uncultured army is a stupid army, and a stupid army cannot overcome its enemies.)
Today, quite a few people enter the military for education, and how fruitful is such education?
The military sounds like a microcosm of the society; it includes some of the best and some of the worst.