Letter to the Monterey Herald by Thomas Lee, 11-14-2018
The tragic outcome for some who fight our wars
Polls showed health care and immigration at the top of Americans’ concern for the fall election. American wars and militarism were hardly mentioned at all. It’s no wonder since the media ignores the on-going scope and cost of American wars abroad. So it came as a shock that an ex-Marine who saw horrendous action in Afghanistan killed 12 people in Thousand Oaks. One theory is that he contracted PTSD.
But Thomas Burke, a chaplain embedded with the killer in the same Marine Corps regiment (quoted by CNN), had a different take. “PTSD doesn’t create homicidal ideation,” Burke said. “We train a generation to be as violent as possible, then we expect them to come home and be OK. It’s not mental illness. It’s that we’re doing something to a generation and we’re not responding to the needs they have.”
Most Americans want to forget the endless wars fought on our behalf. Perhaps we know they’re wrong, but feel powerless to act effectively. But too many of the soldiers sent to fight these wars don’t forget, haunting us for decades to come. The Peace Coalition of Monterey County says enough!
Thomas Lee, Monterey, CA