|Karl Marlantes, courtesy of tatteredcoverbookstoreblogspot.com.|
Watching the video of Bill Moyers’ interview with Karl Marlantes, titled What it’s like to go to war, was not a pleasant interlude this Saturday afternoon. But since he and other young men and women are sent into combat in my name, I felt obligated to tune in.
Marlantes' description of his experiences in a kill or be killed environment reminded me of an incident at my apartment building a few years ago. Walking across the parking lot one afternoon, I stopped to chat with a young man wearing an Army camouflage uniform. He was sent home from Iraq to recuperate from an illness and, he expected to be deployed again soon. When I asked him about his combat experiences, he turned pale, and the expression in his eyes was one of pure terror.
The incident confirmed my long ago conclusion that war is insane, and the expectation that you could send young men and women into combat and expect them to return home mentally and emotionally unscarred is part of the overall insanity. All the more reason, we should be required to watch the video posted below or read the full transcript. It’s the least we can do to honor the youth we send to war.
Coincidentally, I’m re-reading along with my meditation group, Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, Calming the Fearful Mind: a Zen approach to terrorism, which should be required reading for all Americans as well.
Here’s the video: What It’s Like to Go to War