From Mike Hastie, a combat medic in the United States War against Vietnam:
Three weeks ago, I had a personal friend commit suicide by jumping off a bridge. She was not a veteran, nor is she someone identifiable by any of my activist friends. She did, however, suffer from severe moral injuries. Yesterday, I had a conversation with an Iraq veteran who was in Iraq in 2007. No one in his military unit were killed, but after they came home, six of his friends eventually committed suicide. The Iraq veteran I talked with attempted suicide, but eventually got help, and is doing quite well now. Before I had the conversation with that veteran yesterday, I was working on a piece that I had titled, ” Moral Injury 24 X 7.” This is that completed writing:
Moral Injury 24 X 7
“You” are walking around in circles,
morbidly depressed and withdrawn.
Nothing makes any sense anymore.
But, it never made any sense long before
“You” ever went to war.
It was simply “your” turn to find out the
absolute truth, and finally realize why
countless veterans throughout history
wound up in suicide cemeteries.
“You” never knew about betrayal,
because those who went before
“you” were never allowed to speak.
The public just wants heroes.
They do not want to know the
The magnitude of “your” illness is equal
to the depth of “your” silence.
Army Medic Viet Nam
June 20, 2018
One thought on “Moral Injury 24 x 7”
I watch with continuing dread at the militarism that is consuming the American way of life. Always a reason to salute the troops and talk about defending freedom, never a question of why there are so many enemies and the possibility that all these wars could be a mistake. Every empire falls, either through military exhaustion and defeat or bankruptcy, or both. I am having a hard time seeing a happy ending as long as the vast majority of Americans worship the military. And ignore the serious damage done to the young people it sends to project power around the globe. If we are all lucky, a bankruptcy brings the troops home. But I suspect we won’t have that kind of luck.
best of luck, keep up the fight, although the odds are long, the consequences of failure are too great.
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