The New Violent Veteran Victim Class
There are two kinds of war veterans: The poor dumb saps who only wanted money for college, and the violently transformed raging infernos who just can't transition from 'Bush's War' to Bellevue, Washington. So sayeth our print and broadcast media. LTC Steve Russell, US Army, (Ret.), had no earthly idea how imbalanced and prone to homicidal violence he was. He was instructed of precisely how 'on the edge' he and his brothers really are.
"On the Edge?" he asks.
IN THE LAST several weeks I have learned a great deal about myself, thanks to all the wonderful media reports about serving and returning war veterans. For example, I have learned that I might want to kill my wife because of the trauma of war. Or, if I have no beef with my family, that I might go after my neighbors instead. Or if there are no other handy targets for my aggression, I might go after myself.
While waiting to appear on a talk show, I learned that combat veterans are "all a little bit on the edge." One brilliant commentator even suggested that combat soldiers and private security contractors tend to be the types of individuals that have a propensity to harm others and commit acts of violence.As if I was not sufficiently depressed after absorbing these diatribes (perhaps it was just those suicidal tendencies), I also learned that the term "hero" no longer applies to hundreds of thousands of veterans who have served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead, according to a Men's Health magazine I read while getting a haircut, only miscreants who jeopardize fellow soldiers by deserting their units in wartime exhibit true courage. Although I don't feel the term is fitting for myself, I never imagined the term "hero" could be used interchangeably with the word "AWOL" in a mainstream magazine.
Note the transition of the Victim Class message since the beginning of the conflict. Its central theme was originally that members of the US military did not sign up for war and that they simply wanted college tuition. Recall Jessica Lynch, portrayed as a barefoot girl from a hillbilly family too poor and unsophisticated for gainful civilian employment. Recall how those of her unit were also portrayed from Ft. Bliss in El Paso, Texas. College tuition was the centrally pounced upon theme as the primary motivator for enlistment. This was a commonly trumpeted meme. But mass re-enlistments inside Iraq made this an embarrassingly silly leg to stand on.
Now, the transition - after a brief stop at Walter Reid and Bethesda in vain attempts at gathering amputee critics - shifts to the same tripe that plagued public media portrayals of Vietnam veterans: Crazy, violent, and unable to adjust.
War veterans from Iraq to Vietnam are just about sick of it all. Most of those doing the 'reporting' and commentating have about as much a clue about the 'military experience' as Wile E. Coyote has about the life and times of Charlie Tuna and his oceanic home.
Called as seen: Tripe.