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Sunday, March 9, 2003

"Society will not tell you what war is really all about before you go. You can hear a war story from an uncle or a friend's dad, but those accounts are glamorized, distant, sanitized. So you go to combat without knowing, and then you learn in a rush, and by then it is too late."

"It doesn't mean anything." This is what one soldier had to tell himself every day as he saw death up close.

Another speaks of her experience of close personal contact with death as a "ticking time bomb." It took 30 years and then it exploded.

This article from the Washington Post reminds us that though society doesn't talk much about it, we've always known about the psychological aftermath of combat. It has been called by different names: Soldier's Heart (as long ago as the Civil War). Combat Fatigue. Shell Shock.

It wasn't given the official nod by the American Psychiatric Association, though, until 1980. That brings up an interesting question. If the APA hadn't yet recognized the reality of "Soldier's Heart", does that mean it wouldn't really exist?

"So you go to combat without knowing, and then you learn in a rush, and by then it is too late."

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