Jan 8, 2009

[US] Quantifying Bravery

Purple Heart medalImage via WikipediaThe Purple Heart has has always been a symbol of sacrifice for country in the US military, a medal given to those who were killed or injured in enemy action. When you get involved the military and put your life at risk, a medal seems a small consolation for your losses should you survive the conflict. The injuries one gets in a conflict, global or otherwise, are bound to affect your ability to perform in normal society or even function as a working citizen in your life outside the military.

The New York Times reports that the Purple Heart will not be given to soldiers suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) since the disorder itself is hard to define, difficult to diagnose and not necessarily directly caused by the enemy.

The validity of PSTD has always been rather controversial over the years and whether or not it is a truly valid disorder caused by participation in military action has been debated for years. In the eyes of some, it's more along the lines of cowardice and not necessarily a medical condition and policies like this silently support that premise without deliberately saying so.

It's bad enough that whether or not the war they're waging is valid or not, getting ridiculed for PSTD, being unable to hold a decent job after military service and all that is not even being recognized by a small medal just makes the entire situation all the more frustrating. I can't wait until the US comes to its senses and stops this sham situation with the "global war on terror".

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