May 7, 2014  — Categorized in:

Veterans Aren’t Victims—But They Still Need Our Support

photo credit: Alex Brandon, AP

photo credit: Alex Brandon, AP

In an article in USA Today, General James Mattis shared an important viewpoint in the ongoing conversation about veterans and PTSD.  He has taken the stance that our society all too often pathologize soldiers and the consequences and impact that war has upon them. 

In a speech at the Marines’ Memorial Club in San Francisco he stated, “There is one misperception of our veterans and that is they are somehow damaged goods.”

We understand that Veterans and their families face complex transition issues as they reintegrate into civilian life.  We believe it is now our duty to serve them by providing services that support their wellness.

While General Mattis’ viewpoint  is vital in the conversation it is simplistic to heroize or pathologize the experience of war.

Military service and war shapes a view of the world that is neither black nor white.  It is more like a thousand shades.  Are we curious enough to know what shape their world view is now?  It is simplistic to heroize or pathologize these experiences.  More important would be gathering both veterans and civilians into community to unearth the impact that war has had on both veterans and civilians as we are doing with Stories We Carry.

We should be careful about how we talk about the wounds of war. Veterans are not damaged goods, but they still deserve our compassion and support.

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