Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Thursday, 28 May 2015

"The Israelis Are Far More Like The Sioux, Cheyenne, & Arapaho At Little Bighorn Than They Are Like Us"

In the current issue of Vanity Fair magazine, there's a long and searching article by Sebastian Junger on the high incidence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among returned American servicemen.  It's entitled "How PTSD became a problem far beyond the battlefield".

Writes Junger:
"The majority of traumatized vets are not faking their symptoms...  They return from wars that are safer than those their fathers and grandfathers fought, and yet far greater numbers of them wind up alienated and depressed. This is true even for people who didn’t experience combat. In other words, the problem doesn’t seem to be trauma on the battlefield so much as re-entry into society....
 If we weed out the malingerers on the one hand and the deeply traumatized on the other, we are still left with enormous numbers of veterans who had utterly ordinary wartime experiences and yet feel dangerously alienated back home. Clinically speaking, such alienation is not the same thing as PTSD, but both seem to result from military service abroad, so it’s understandable that vets and even clinicians are prone to conflating them. Either way, it makes one wonder exactly what it is about modern society that is so mortally dispiriting to come home to."
By contrast,
"Even the Israeli military – with mandatory national service and two generations of intermittent warfare as by some measures a PTSD rate as low as 1 percent....
Israel is arguably the only modern country that retains a sufficient sense of community to mitigate the effects of combat on a mass scale. Despite decades of intermittent war, the Israel Defense Forces have a PTSD rate as low as 1 percent. Two of the foremost reasons have to do with national military service and the proximity of the combat – the war is virtually on their doorstep. “Being in the military is something that most people have done,” I was told by Dr. Arieh Shalev, who has devoted the last 20 years to studying PTSD. “Those who come back from combat are re-integrated into a society where those experiences are very well understood. We did a study of 17-year-olds who had lost their father in the military, compared to those who had lost their fathers to accidents. The ones whose fathers died in combat did much better than those whose fathers hadn’t.”
According to Shalev, the closer the public is to the actual combat, the better the war will be understood and the less difficulty soldiers will have when they come home. The Israelis are benefiting from what could be called the shared public meaning of a war. Such public meaning—which would often occur in more communal, tribal societies—seems to help soldiers even in a fully modern society such as Israel. It is probably not generated by empty, reflexive phrases—such as “Thank you for your service”—that many Americans feel compelled to offer soldiers and vets. If anything, those comments only serve to underline the enormous chasm between military and civilian society in this country.
Another Israeli researcher, Reuven Gal, found that the perceived legitimacy of a war was more important to soldiers’ general morale than was the combat readiness of the unit they were in. And that legitimacy, in turn, was a function of the war’s physical distance from the homeland: “The Israeli soldiers who were abruptly mobilized and thrown into dreadful battles in the middle of Yom Kippur Day in 1973 had no doubts about the legitimacy of the war,” Gal wrote in the Journal of Applied Psychology in 1986. “Many of those soldiers who were fighting in the Golan Heights against the flood of Syrian tanks needed only to look behind their shoulders to see their homes and remind themselves that they were fighting for their very survival.”
In that sense, the Israelis are far more like the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho at Little Bighorn than they are like us. America’s distance from her enemies means that her wars have generally been fought far away from her population centers, and as a result those wars have been harder to explain and justify than Israel’s have been. The people who will bear the psychic cost of that ambiguity will, of course, be the soldiers....'
.Read the entire article here

1 comment:

  1. It comes down to how you fight wars. In Afghanistan one of the most dangerous jobs in the US Marines was truck driver. Truck drivers were specifically targeted and all sorts of people who did not opt (strangely for Marines) to be a rifle toting grunt found themselves in roles that were impressively violent. Including a lot of women. They thought they would be safer and the reverse occurred. So it's in those roles you see PTSD.

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