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From my new column in Taki’s Magazine:

Tribal Counsel
by Steve Sailer
January 25, 2017

Vanity Fair war correspondent Sebastian Junger, codirector of the documentary Restrepo about American soldiers in Afghanistan, points out in his recent book Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging that American soldiers currently suffer from the highest rate of post-traumatic stress disorder in human history.

This short book tries to sum up the political lessons Junger has learned from a quarter century of going to and coming home from dangerous places. It’s a work of swashbuckling anthropological theory that tries to answer the question raised by Restrepo: Why do the guys defending a fort in Afghanistan find living in a tiny bunker to be a blast, while coming home to America is so discombobulating for them? …

Junger’s focus in Tribe, however, lies less with what’s wrong with our ex-soldiers than with what’s wrong with the 21st-century American society they return to.

Read the whole thing there.

 
• Tags: Books, War 
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  1. jon says:

    OT, but very iSteve and very funny. If you do a search on duckduckgo.com for “americas whitest ci” the top suggestion that pops up is “americas best city to live in 2016″

    https://imgflip.com/memegenerator/91213846

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  2. Lot says:

    Good article.

    American soldiers currently suffer from the highest rate of post-traumatic stress disorder in human history

    Big Medicine has discovered there is a lot of money to be made diagnosing people with PTSD, so it would be hard to compare rates over history.

    There were articles about “Shell Shock” in the 1920′s, but they probably did not contain carefully collected modern data sets.

    Read More
    • Agree: NickG
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  3. Trelane says:

    OT: Lee O’Denat, WorldstarHipHop founder, dies at 43. He was an amazing guy. Did fabulous stuff. So sad.

    whorl sta!

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  4. snorlax says:

    OT: Very interesting piece by a Sanders supporter on whether Trump will be successful. I think most of us would agree with everything he says. http://www.ianwelsh.net/does-trump-get-impeached-or-get-two-terms

    Read More
    • Agree: Chrisnonymous
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  5. eah says:

    Why do the guys defending a fort in Afghanistan find living in a tiny bunker to be a blast, while coming home to America is so discombobulating for them?

    It’s an interesting question.

    Read More
    • Replies: @eah
    Maybe many of them start seriously wondering what the hell they were over there fighting for.

    https://twitter.com/JohnRiversX9/status/823230009456390144
    , @Jim Don Bob
    A lot of them are adrenaline junkies. Normal life is too quiet for them. Restropo is quite good.
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  6. 5371 says:

    It isn’t actually true that population always grows, or used to grow, up to the “Malthusian” limits of subsistence. One can lay down such a principle, but will quickly be forced to admit so many qualifications and exceptions as to end up with holes rather than cheese.

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  7. Three of the first four comments are OT. Hmmm…

    American soldiers currently suffer from the highest rate of post-traumatic stress disorder in human history.

    Do these rates approach those of pederast traumatic stress disorder among the local boys?

    No matter what we accomplish there, in the end (often literally), they’re still Afghans.

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  8. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    What are the financial incentives (partial disability?) of a veteran being diagnosed with PTSD? That’s important to consider.

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    What are the financial incentives (partial disability?) of a veteran being diagnosed with PTSD?

    What's the idea behind bringing in irrelevant information?
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  9. Rod1963 says:

    Why do the guys defending a fort in Afghanistan find living in a tiny bunker to be a blast, while coming home to America is so discombobulating for them

    Because American society now is mostly composed of atomized individuals, backstabbing and a lack of community. Most parents don’t even socialize their kids anymore they let the TV/computer and state do it. Look these guys come home from a locale where they had each others back and would die to protect one another to a society where backstabbing is a way of life and no physical or emotional support in most cases. That is a major let down. The closet I think we had for community support was the VFW.

    BTW this lack of tribalism/community is what led to the creation of the motorcycle gangs after WWII which were composed of vets returning from the wars to a society that had no place for camaraderie and community. The MC’s supply this in their own way.

    I don’t think some sort of get together by combat vets to tell folks what they went through will help. They know civies can’t really relate to it, the just don’t know what hell is like. Also the recalling the memories is traumatic to these men even after 40 – 50 years.

    I would urge people to take a gander at Carroll Quigley’s last lecture on the state of the individual as it deals with a lot of things brought up by Junger.

    http://www.carrollquigley.net/Lectures/The-State-of-Individuals-AD-1776-1976.htm

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  10. eah says:
    @eah
    Why do the guys defending a fort in Afghanistan find living in a tiny bunker to be a blast, while coming home to America is so discombobulating for them?

    It's an interesting question.

    https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/824080766288228352

    Maybe many of them start seriously wondering what the hell they were over there fighting for.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jenner Ickham Errican
    That tweet is old and inaccurate. Here’s an update (via another commenter).
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  11. Twinkie says:

    American soldiers currently suffer from the highest rate of post-traumatic stress disorder in human history

    This requires some context. Junger introduces two additional variables that extend his thesis. First, there is a significant disparity between combat and support units. Contrary to what civilians might expect, frontline combat units that see contact and action suffer *less* from PTSD than support units that have seen none. There could be many reasons for this, but at least one of them is the higher degree of physical danger that the combat units face/share together as well as the conquently higher unit cohesion – in other words, a stronger sense of community. And of course over the decades the overall proportion of combat units to support units has declined as our military’s logistics tail get bigger and bigger.

    Second, Junger suggests that the disability benefits that are doled out for the veterans might raise the reported rates of PTSD. Indeed, he finds the current system of welcoming the veterans highly flawed. They are not exactlyl welcomed into the civilian world with jobs – productive endeavors that can re-acclimate them into the civilian life all at the same time incentivizing claiming PTSD and/or disability to gain income.

    Read More
    • Agree: The Z Blog
    • Replies: @The Z Blog
    This is an excellent comment. There's also the strange new thing of enlarging the definition of "combat" to include office duty. When you hear "combat veteran" attached to a public person these days, it most likely means they did a tour in an office where the greatest danger was a paper cut getting infected. That means the number of "combat veterans" suffering from PTSD is also greatly inflated.
    , @Harry Baldwin
    I have a relative who gets various meds from the VA for the PTSD from which he claims to be suffering. He was in the navy, serving on an aircraft carrier that was briefly stationed in the Gulf during the Iraq invasion. Not sure what the trauma was. A few years ago, disappointed with his career, he wanted to reenlist, but when the recruiter looked up his records and saw the number of maladies he had claimed at his discharge he told him he was not a likely candidate.
    , @Seth Largo
    Yes, this is a wrinkle in Steve's thesis, though I broadly agree with it.

    Does Junger anywhere differentiate between the effects of urban, close quarters combat seen by Iraq vets and the more distant hill-to-hill shelling and firing typically experienced by Afghanistan vets? I have two friends, both combat troops, one who fought in Iraqi towns and cities, the other who fought out in the open Afghanistan hills. The former has major PTSD issues, the latter happily will regale you with tales of shelling and taking fire from the enemy a few hundred yards away.
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  12. @eah
    Maybe many of them start seriously wondering what the hell they were over there fighting for.

    https://twitter.com/JohnRiversX9/status/823230009456390144

    That tweet is old and inaccurate. Here’s an update (via another commenter).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Twinkie
    So, the shooter is:

    a supporter of Trump, Yiannopoulos and the National Rifle Association.
     
    And the man shot is:

    Josh Dukes, 34, a Seattle computer-security engineer and a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) General Defense Committee, which describes itself as an “anti-racist and anti-fascist organization.”
     
    No mention of name or ethnicity of the shooter.
    , @eah
    Thanks for the link/update -- I have not followed the story since the first reports -- still I do not consider the tweet "inaccurate" -- because initially much of the media was going with the 'did he deserve to get shot because he was a racist?' angle -- Mr Sailer did a post about that -- but it is "old" in that more info is now available re shooter (apparently a MAGA guy there to see Milo) and the person who was shot -- apparently a 'BernieBro':

    Several sources have identified the victim as Josh Dukes, 34, a Seattle computer-security engineer and a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) General Defense Committee, which describes itself as an “anti-racist and anti-fascist organization.”...The IWW has created a Crowdwise social-media funding page to raise money for his hospital expenses. So far, it has raised more than $42,000.

    Here is an earlier story (looks like the same one that inspired the tweet -- Mr Sailer did a post about it): Police say the man who fired the gun Friday night at the University of Washington claimed he had been assaulted by the man he shot, and that he believed he was a white supremacist.

    And re interesting questions: 1) Did the shooter really claim he felt threatened by a 'white supremacist'?, and 2) If so, why would a MAGA guy (per latest info) do that? -- could it be because he pays attention and instinctively knew the media would take that and run with it, thereby mitigating his crime?

    Related (probably -- believe it or not):

    Iraqi immigrant gets 26 years-to-life for killing wife in Calif.

    Investigators initially believed the killing was a hate crime because of a note found after the beating near the devout Muslim mother of five who wore a hijab. It read: "This is my country, go back to yours, you terrorist."

    A tidbit from the comments: She was 32 and with an 18-year old and 17-year old? She was possibly pregnant at 13, giving birth at 14? Sad all around.

    The victim and her Shiite Muslim family left Iraq in the early 1990s after a failed Shiite uprising, living in Saudi Arabian refugee camps before coming to the United States.

    They were brought here by the taxpayer-financed refugee industry -- fine additions to America.
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  13. Twinkie says:
    @Jenner Ickham Errican
    That tweet is old and inaccurate. Here’s an update (via another commenter).

    So, the shooter is:

    a supporter of Trump, Yiannopoulos and the National Rifle Association.

    And the man shot is:

    Josh Dukes, 34, a Seattle computer-security engineer and a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) General Defense Committee, which describes itself as an “anti-racist and anti-fascist organization.”

    No mention of name or ethnicity of the shooter.

    Read More
    • Replies: @European-American
    Thanks for that clarifying extra information. Because most of the aggression seemed anti-Trump, I had vaguely assumed it was an anti-Trump shooter. Instead it's a pro-Trump shooter, in apparent self-defense. I just added that clarification in a comment to Steve's "Red Square" post, which is still valid since it's more generally about speech-related violence.
    http://www.unz.com/isteve/a-man-is-shot-during-anti-free-speech-riot-in-red-square/#comment-1739103
    , @Jenner Ickham Errican
    That’s correct. Perhaps I should have been less cryptic. I was responding to the “John Rivers” tweet which mischaracterized the “dying guy” as a “BernieBro” who was shot merely for looking “like a White Supremacist.”

    The tweet makes it seem like an Asian man simply got away with shooting a white man based only on the white man's identity / perceived political affiliation.

    Not in the tweet:

    1) The shooter was released from police custody because they believe the shooter acted in self-defense (pending investigation).

    2) The shot man was no basic Bernie Bro, he was a member of the IWW’s General Defense Committee. The linked article linked to the GDC’s page which promotes “industrial strife” and “class war.”

    3) As you wrote, the shooter is “a supporter of Trump, Yiannopoulos and the National Rifle Association.”

    4) As per my link, the “dying guy” is recovering and in “satisfactory condition.”

    Taken together, a much different picture of motives and police procedure. As to the reported claim that the (Asian) man said he thought the IWW guy was a “white supremacist,” I don’t know. It could be a crafty (premeditated?) defense ‘enhancement’ on the shooter’s part (if he is indeed Asian, as initially reported on local TV).

    Funkier possibility: The cops coached him to say he thought it was a violent hate crime. Makes it easier to close the case, especially if the IWW guy is on camera initiating violence.

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  14. eah says:
    @Jenner Ickham Errican
    That tweet is old and inaccurate. Here’s an update (via another commenter).

    Thanks for the link/update — I have not followed the story since the first reports — still I do not consider the tweet “inaccurate” — because initially much of the media was going with the ‘did he deserve to get shot because he was a racist?’ angle — Mr Sailer did a post about that — but it is “old” in that more info is now available re shooter (apparently a MAGA guy there to see Milo) and the person who was shot — apparently a ‘BernieBro’:

    Several sources have identified the victim as Josh Dukes, 34, a Seattle computer-security engineer and a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) General Defense Committee, which describes itself as an “anti-racist and anti-fascist organization.”…The IWW has created a Crowdwise social-media funding page to raise money for his hospital expenses. So far, it has raised more than $42,000.

    Here is an earlier story (looks like the same one that inspired the tweet — Mr Sailer did a post about it): Police say the man who fired the gun Friday night at the University of Washington claimed he had been assaulted by the man he shot, and that he believed he was a white supremacist.

    And re interesting questions: 1) Did the shooter really claim he felt threatened by a ‘white supremacist’?, and 2) If so, why would a MAGA guy (per latest info) do that? — could it be because he pays attention and instinctively knew the media would take that and run with it, thereby mitigating his crime?

    Related (probably — believe it or not):

    Iraqi immigrant gets 26 years-to-life for killing wife in Calif.

    Investigators initially believed the killing was a hate crime because of a note found after the beating near the devout Muslim mother of five who wore a hijab. It read: “This is my country, go back to yours, you terrorist.”

    A tidbit from the comments: She was 32 and with an 18-year old and 17-year old? She was possibly pregnant at 13, giving birth at 14? Sad all around.

    The victim and her Shiite Muslim family left Iraq in the early 1990s after a failed Shiite uprising, living in Saudi Arabian refugee camps before coming to the United States.

    They were brought here by the taxpayer-financed refugee industry — fine additions to America.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jenner Ickham Errican

    Thanks for the link/update
     
    No problem! I wrote a reply to Twinkie at 2:00 pm GMT (while comments were in mod) with content that overlaps with your comment.
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  15. Pat Casey says:

    There is also one or two scenes in Hurt Locker of the kid who is emotionally grappling to some extent and he’s getting frustrated at the shoot -em up video game he’s playing. A friend of friend has scholarship showng a significant correlation between ptsd and playing those games. The fact that they are played precisely to “unwind” is pretty staggering when you think about it.

    I absolutely think an institution where our warriors get to tell us their war stories is a good idea and maybe the best idea. In fact, I would encourage it to be done right here.

    But speaking of tribalism, when I was fourteen, I took a metal shamrock paperweight and put it on the frying pan, then had two friends brace me while another branded my right shoulder. I tried to join the military twice, but for reasons that are probably connected to that shamrock one way or another, I was not eligible. One time when I was in jail my cellmate was a marine who had some hella war stories, and also one about the time he was in a bar in Boston, and was told by a member of the IRA to cover his Fighting Irish tattoo up because the symbol ain’t a logo where he goes around. One day, who should join our pod but one of his platoon mates, who had covered his body up to his chin in Celtic tattoos. One of my earliest memories of being drunk was wtih a kid named Sean Flynn, who just up and started screaming out of the blue: We Got It Back! We Got It Back! Do You Ever Just Think, After 800 Years, We Got It Back! We Got It Back!

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  16. Speaking of tribe and nation, here’s Natalie Portman on Trump, shortly before his inauguration, unusually inarticulate in trying to express how she feels about him (starts at 3:50):

    Q: Are you not a fan particularly?
    A: Of?
    Q: Trump.
    A: Um, I did not vote for Trump, um, I do not know him … personally, and um, I um, really pray for, for the best for our country and not just pray but I, you know, I’m energized to do whatever I can to make my own community and my own country, um, um, and, and, you know, and the world, I think, you know, country, patriotism, nationalism, is, is, not, not our way to go…

    Read More
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  17. @Twinkie
    So, the shooter is:

    a supporter of Trump, Yiannopoulos and the National Rifle Association.
     
    And the man shot is:

    Josh Dukes, 34, a Seattle computer-security engineer and a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) General Defense Committee, which describes itself as an “anti-racist and anti-fascist organization.”
     
    No mention of name or ethnicity of the shooter.

    Thanks for that clarifying extra information. Because most of the aggression seemed anti-Trump, I had vaguely assumed it was an anti-Trump shooter. Instead it’s a pro-Trump shooter, in apparent self-defense. I just added that clarification in a comment to Steve’s “Red Square” post, which is still valid since it’s more generally about speech-related violence.

    http://www.unz.com/isteve/a-man-is-shot-during-anti-free-speech-riot-in-red-square/#comment-1739103

    Read More
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  18. Frank Herbert’s “Dune” series had a similar overarching theme. The protagonist with the gift of prescience sees that the human race, in the face of stagnation and lack of conflict, is doomed to extinction unless he can set it on the correct path.

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  19. The Z Blog says: • Website
    @Twinkie

    American soldiers currently suffer from the highest rate of post-traumatic stress disorder in human history
     
    This requires some context. Junger introduces two additional variables that extend his thesis. First, there is a significant disparity between combat and support units. Contrary to what civilians might expect, frontline combat units that see contact and action suffer *less* from PTSD than support units that have seen none. There could be many reasons for this, but at least one of them is the higher degree of physical danger that the combat units face/share together as well as the conquently higher unit cohesion - in other words, a stronger sense of community. And of course over the decades the overall proportion of combat units to support units has declined as our military's logistics tail get bigger and bigger.

    Second, Junger suggests that the disability benefits that are doled out for the veterans might raise the reported rates of PTSD. Indeed, he finds the current system of welcoming the veterans highly flawed. They are not exactlyl welcomed into the civilian world with jobs - productive endeavors that can re-acclimate them into the civilian life all at the same time incentivizing claiming PTSD and/or disability to gain income.

    This is an excellent comment. There’s also the strange new thing of enlarging the definition of “combat” to include office duty. When you hear “combat veteran” attached to a public person these days, it most likely means they did a tour in an office where the greatest danger was a paper cut getting infected. That means the number of “combat veterans” suffering from PTSD is also greatly inflated.

    Read More
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  20. “American soldiers currently suffer from the highest rate of post-traumatic stress disorder in human history.”

    If true, that may be because American soldiers suffer the highest rate of psychiatrists in history.

    “I am sure it would be sensible to restrict as much as possible the work of these gentlemen, who are capable of doing an immense amount of harm with what may very easily degenerate into charlatanry. The tightest hand should be kept over them, and they should not be allowed to quarter themselves in large numbers among Fighting Services at the public expense.”

    –Winston Churchill on psychiatrists, in a letter to John Anderson, Lord President of the Council (December 19, 1942)

    Read More
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  21. @Twinkie
    So, the shooter is:

    a supporter of Trump, Yiannopoulos and the National Rifle Association.
     
    And the man shot is:

    Josh Dukes, 34, a Seattle computer-security engineer and a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) General Defense Committee, which describes itself as an “anti-racist and anti-fascist organization.”
     
    No mention of name or ethnicity of the shooter.

    That’s correct. Perhaps I should have been less cryptic. I was responding to the “John Rivers” tweet which mischaracterized the “dying guy” as a “BernieBro” who was shot merely for looking “like a White Supremacist.”

    The tweet makes it seem like an Asian man simply got away with shooting a white man based only on the white man’s identity / perceived political affiliation.

    Not in the tweet:

    1) The shooter was released from police custody because they believe the shooter acted in self-defense (pending investigation).

    2) The shot man was no basic Bernie Bro, he was a member of the IWW’s General Defense Committee. The linked article linked to the GDC’s page which promotes “industrial strife” and “class war.”

    3) As you wrote, the shooter is “a supporter of Trump, Yiannopoulos and the National Rifle Association.”

    4) As per my link, the “dying guy” is recovering and in “satisfactory condition.”

    Taken together, a much different picture of motives and police procedure. As to the reported claim that the (Asian) man said he thought the IWW guy was a “white supremacist,” I don’t know. It could be a crafty (premeditated?) defense ‘enhancement’ on the shooter’s part (if he is indeed Asian, as initially reported on local TV).

    Funkier possibility: The cops coached him to say he thought it was a violent hate crime. Makes it easier to close the case, especially if the IWW guy is on camera initiating violence.

    Read More
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  22. “Junger offers one original suggestion for how America should help veterans psychologically adjust. Drawing upon the traditions of tribal cultures where old warriors tell their stories around the fire, Junger suggests that everybody gather in their town hall on Veteran’s Day and listen to vets vent about their war experiences.”

    I’m not sure it’s really that original. Karl Marlantes offered more or less the same advice in What It Is Like to Go to War, except perhaps for the word “everybody”, about which I agree with Marlantes. Also, he included a big dose of assorted mythology, in the Joseph Campbell style. (Campbell was a friend of his.) FWIW, Marlantes was an actual combat infantryman who had killed in battle. What It Is Like to Go to War was published about six years ago, but judging by the language and cultural references, he’s been semi-publicly kicking the ideas around since the 1970s.

    I read Junger’s heavily hyped debut, The Perfect Storm, shortly after it came out. I thought it was okay but overrated. He’s improved somewhat since then, but still enjoys the dubious blessing of excessive publicity.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Harry Baldwin
    Thank you for bringing up Marlantes' What It Is Like to Go to War. It is an excellent book with many striking insights.
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  23. “a fish-eye lens shot shows the valiant warrior lost in a supermarket aisle seemingly a mile long”

    Sorry to nitpick, but the supermarket scene wasn’t really shot with a fish-eye lens, just a wide angle lens. But “fish-eye” is more fun to say.

    If I recall, they used a Canadian supermarket as a stand-in for the American supermarket. I guess the American ones weren’t sufficiently sterile and alienating.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Stan Adams

    I guess the American ones weren’t sufficiently sterile and alienating.
     
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwFWxTr-_Kw

    Many American grocery stores are less than sterile - and hygienic - these days.

    One of the more-disgusting supermarkets in my area, a decrepit Winn-Dixie, shut down recently. An older woman I know who had been shopping there since the 1960s quit a few months before it closed after a) her friend, who also shopped there, got food poisoning from eating some eggs and b) a longtime employee, upon being told about this, said, "Yeah, we lost power for a couple of hours overnight. I wouldn't eat these eggs if you paid me. But you didn't hear that from me."

    On my last visit to a Publix that I used to frequent, I was less than impressed by the store's overall cleanliness. The terrazo floor was stained and dirty. (The service was nothing to write home about, either.) Publix has such a monopoly here these days - many stores are less than a ten-minute walk from each other - that maybe they're getting lazy. I don't know.

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  24. @Twinkie

    American soldiers currently suffer from the highest rate of post-traumatic stress disorder in human history
     
    This requires some context. Junger introduces two additional variables that extend his thesis. First, there is a significant disparity between combat and support units. Contrary to what civilians might expect, frontline combat units that see contact and action suffer *less* from PTSD than support units that have seen none. There could be many reasons for this, but at least one of them is the higher degree of physical danger that the combat units face/share together as well as the conquently higher unit cohesion - in other words, a stronger sense of community. And of course over the decades the overall proportion of combat units to support units has declined as our military's logistics tail get bigger and bigger.

    Second, Junger suggests that the disability benefits that are doled out for the veterans might raise the reported rates of PTSD. Indeed, he finds the current system of welcoming the veterans highly flawed. They are not exactlyl welcomed into the civilian world with jobs - productive endeavors that can re-acclimate them into the civilian life all at the same time incentivizing claiming PTSD and/or disability to gain income.

    I have a relative who gets various meds from the VA for the PTSD from which he claims to be suffering. He was in the navy, serving on an aircraft carrier that was briefly stationed in the Gulf during the Iraq invasion. Not sure what the trauma was. A few years ago, disappointed with his career, he wanted to reenlist, but when the recruiter looked up his records and saw the number of maladies he had claimed at his discharge he told him he was not a likely candidate.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    "I have a relative who gets various meds from the VA for the PTSD from which he claims to be suffering. He was in the navy, serving on an aircraft carrier that was briefly stationed in the Gulf during the Iraq invasion."

    I suspect there a lot of such cases, which leads one to believe that a lot of claims about PTSD are just a scam. While I don't doubt that there are many soldiers who come back from actual combat who have psychological problems, the numbers of actual PTSD cases are probably inflated.

    A lot of military veterans now take up employment in the ever-expanding "law enforcement" sector, which our diverse, low-trust society has made more necessary: police, security guards, etc. They can then bring those skills and instincts they honed from guarding foreign prisoners and defending green-zones to domestic policing.

    One thing we definitely need to make clear to military personnel today is this: You are not fighting to defend our freedom. We are becoming less free. If you are fighting to defend our freedom, you are doing a crappy job. You are being used as cannon-fodder by bureaucratic functionaries, their political masters, and their oligarch masters to further the policies of an empire that really doesn't give a f**k about you or the country you purport to defend.

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  25. @Almost Missouri

    "Junger offers one original suggestion for how America should help veterans psychologically adjust. Drawing upon the traditions of tribal cultures where old warriors tell their stories around the fire, Junger suggests that everybody gather in their town hall on Veteran’s Day and listen to vets vent about their war experiences."
     
    I'm not sure it's really that original. Karl Marlantes offered more or less the same advice in What It Is Like to Go to War, except perhaps for the word "everybody", about which I agree with Marlantes. Also, he included a big dose of assorted mythology, in the Joseph Campbell style. (Campbell was a friend of his.) FWIW, Marlantes was an actual combat infantryman who had killed in battle. What It Is Like to Go to War was published about six years ago, but judging by the language and cultural references, he's been semi-publicly kicking the ideas around since the 1970s.

    I read Junger's heavily hyped debut, The Perfect Storm, shortly after it came out. I thought it was okay but overrated. He's improved somewhat since then, but still enjoys the dubious blessing of excessive publicity.

    Thank you for bringing up Marlantes’ What It Is Like to Go to War. It is an excellent book with many striking insights.

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  26. @Twinkie

    American soldiers currently suffer from the highest rate of post-traumatic stress disorder in human history
     
    This requires some context. Junger introduces two additional variables that extend his thesis. First, there is a significant disparity between combat and support units. Contrary to what civilians might expect, frontline combat units that see contact and action suffer *less* from PTSD than support units that have seen none. There could be many reasons for this, but at least one of them is the higher degree of physical danger that the combat units face/share together as well as the conquently higher unit cohesion - in other words, a stronger sense of community. And of course over the decades the overall proportion of combat units to support units has declined as our military's logistics tail get bigger and bigger.

    Second, Junger suggests that the disability benefits that are doled out for the veterans might raise the reported rates of PTSD. Indeed, he finds the current system of welcoming the veterans highly flawed. They are not exactlyl welcomed into the civilian world with jobs - productive endeavors that can re-acclimate them into the civilian life all at the same time incentivizing claiming PTSD and/or disability to gain income.

    Yes, this is a wrinkle in Steve’s thesis, though I broadly agree with it.

    Does Junger anywhere differentiate between the effects of urban, close quarters combat seen by Iraq vets and the more distant hill-to-hill shelling and firing typically experienced by Afghanistan vets? I have two friends, both combat troops, one who fought in Iraqi towns and cities, the other who fought out in the open Afghanistan hills. The former has major PTSD issues, the latter happily will regale you with tales of shelling and taking fire from the enemy a few hundred yards away.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Junger's Restrepo documentary involves blasting away into the distance from a hilltop fort. It looks stressful, but not in The Hurt Locker range.
    , @Twinkie

    Does Junger anywhere differentiate between the effects of urban, close quarters combat seen by Iraq vets and the more distant hill-to-hill shelling and firing typically experienced by Afghanistan vets?
     
    No. But he offers an explanation into PTSD that may fit the disparity. Junger seems to think (based on some data and psych studies) that PTSD originates from seeing the deaths and suffering of *others, including your enemies*, not your own or that of your comrades.

    In the case of your friends, holding other factors constant, the one in urban combat in Iraq is far more likely to see dead enemies and civilians than in hill fighting in Afghanistan.

    And to add my own observations, fighting in the open country or even rugged nature is far cleaner, both physically and psychologically. There are even moments when you have transcendental thoughts. Third world cities are extremely dirty and unpleasant. The combat in built-up areas is constantly three dimensional and more close quarters, so is orders of magnitude more stressful. Of course it also doesn't help that there are more IUDs used in BUAs, which adds an immense amount of anger and frustration.
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  27. dearieme says:

    When I was growing up I was frustrated by my father’s reluctance to discuss the bits of war that interest a boy: killing Germans, being shot at, and so on. I can’t imagine his generation chattering about it once a year at a public meeting. “Least said, soonest mended” might have been their motto.

    I guess that ex-soldiers might have talked frankly together at reunions and so on. My father didn’t go to reunions nor join the British Legion. I think he just wanted to put it all behind him. Before the war he’d been a keen wild-fowler; after the war he didn’t go shooting.

    But he did at least teach us to shoot – with a rifle, not a shotgun – with the immortal justification “next time the Germans might be Russians”.

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  28. DWright says:

    Just sat next to a young man getting my hair cut yesterday.
    Picked up the conversation between him and the barber. Apparently another diagnosed PSTD victim from recently military deployment.

    Just waiting to see if the meds will control his panic attacks. The barber’s response was they just need to get the meds right and the brain is a strange thing indeed.

    Yes indeed. Nothing else, just some wiring needs fixing right?

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  29. Mr. Anon says:
    @Harry Baldwin
    I have a relative who gets various meds from the VA for the PTSD from which he claims to be suffering. He was in the navy, serving on an aircraft carrier that was briefly stationed in the Gulf during the Iraq invasion. Not sure what the trauma was. A few years ago, disappointed with his career, he wanted to reenlist, but when the recruiter looked up his records and saw the number of maladies he had claimed at his discharge he told him he was not a likely candidate.

    “I have a relative who gets various meds from the VA for the PTSD from which he claims to be suffering. He was in the navy, serving on an aircraft carrier that was briefly stationed in the Gulf during the Iraq invasion.”

    I suspect there a lot of such cases, which leads one to believe that a lot of claims about PTSD are just a scam. While I don’t doubt that there are many soldiers who come back from actual combat who have psychological problems, the numbers of actual PTSD cases are probably inflated.

    A lot of military veterans now take up employment in the ever-expanding “law enforcement” sector, which our diverse, low-trust society has made more necessary: police, security guards, etc. They can then bring those skills and instincts they honed from guarding foreign prisoners and defending green-zones to domestic policing.

    One thing we definitely need to make clear to military personnel today is this: You are not fighting to defend our freedom. We are becoming less free. If you are fighting to defend our freedom, you are doing a crappy job. You are being used as cannon-fodder by bureaucratic functionaries, their political masters, and their oligarch masters to further the policies of an empire that really doesn’t give a f**k about you or the country you purport to defend.

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    • Agree: Harry Baldwin
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  30. “He’s irritated by welfare fraud and appalled that virtually no financial titans went to jail for 2008.”

    Of course no one went to jail, Obama was their guy. But don’t expect anyone in the big media, such as Junger’s publishers, to point it out.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-10-14/most-important-wikileak-how-wall-street-built-obama-cabinet

    “A self-respecting hunter-gatherer tribe, he thunders, wouldn’t put up with that kind of corruption.”

    Um, self-respecting anti-Obamunist hunter-gatherers haven’t been putting up with it for years, thank you very much Mr. Sebastian-Come-Lately.

    “The previous administration’s refusal to prosecute any zillionaires ‘shows how completely de-tribalized the country has become,’ Junger complains”

    Well, the Obamunists and unprosecuted zillionaires seem plenty tribal, so maybe “de-tribalization” isn’t really the problem.

    Or maybe the problem is what happens when a sufficiently powerful and cohesive tribe comes among the atomized and decadent modern Western “society”. If so, then the solution may indeed be re-tribalization of West’s traditional power people, say, the Anglo-Saxons for instance. Something tells me that the publishing establishment might not really welcome this, however.

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  31. “Most of Junger’s descriptions of the merits of tribal life are drawn from American Indian lore rather than from Muslim Afghanistan, even though he has spent much time there embedded with the U.S. Army. In Restrepo, local tribal life looks small-minded and deadening.”

    I’ve always thought the classic work on primitive tribal life was Napoleon Chagnon’s Yąnomamö: the Fierce People. (Hint: endless rounds of violence, rape and hallucinogens.) Naturally, the cultural Left couldn’t allow such acute noticing to stand, so they have tried to downplay it, or contradictorily, to blame it on the white man.

    To be fair, not all tribes are created equal. Life among the Pathans or Yanomamo is probably gorier than among the Navajo or Lapps, for example.

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  32. @Seth Largo
    Yes, this is a wrinkle in Steve's thesis, though I broadly agree with it.

    Does Junger anywhere differentiate between the effects of urban, close quarters combat seen by Iraq vets and the more distant hill-to-hill shelling and firing typically experienced by Afghanistan vets? I have two friends, both combat troops, one who fought in Iraqi towns and cities, the other who fought out in the open Afghanistan hills. The former has major PTSD issues, the latter happily will regale you with tales of shelling and taking fire from the enemy a few hundred yards away.

    Junger’s Restrepo documentary involves blasting away into the distance from a hilltop fort. It looks stressful, but not in The Hurt Locker range.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Twinkie

    Junger’s Restrepo documentary involves blasting away into the distance from a hilltop fort.
     
    Much of the documentary is about the communal/fraternal bond of the men in combat/under stress. It captures very well the boredom and constant digging/entrenching/fortification/bullshitting and the anticipation of combat that take up much of a soldier's time interspersed with the exhilaration and terror of intense combat when it finally occurs.

    And it wasn't just "blasting away into the distance." OP Restrepo was named after a platoon medic who was killed in the first place, and the documentary does show combat in Operation Rock Avalanche.

    Also, in my view, the film make more sense if viewed along with Junger's other documentary "Korengal."
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  33. “As Junger laments, Americans today seem more interested in reviling one another than in cooperating. Perhaps that’s not surprising: America is a huge country and, luckily, hasn’t had to come together much to win wars in recent generations.”

    Or maybe it’s because America is not really all that American anymore. Even among the dwindling numbers of those who consider themselves ethnically “American”, a feeling of shared political interest is increasingly absent. Perhaps because the major American war of the last 70 years, unluckily, hasn’t been foreign but domestic: the overthrow of traditional America by the Left.

    “Fortunately, we already have a system, bequeathed to us by the Founders, for how we can get along without getting in each other’s faces: federalism. It’s long been out of fashion, but we can live and let live as long as we don’t insist upon micromanaging the daily lives of other Americans in distant parts of the country.”

    How true. Unfortunately, the Left (correctly) thinks they are winning their domestic war against America, because they have a system for doing it: micromanaging daily lives in distant parts of the country. They won’t desist because their victory depends on it.

    “The other requirement is that we have to forswear trying to defeat our fellow citizens by importing foreigners to vote for our party. That kind of election rigging is lethal to camaraderie.”

    Exactly. That’s why they do it.

    Steve, you’re talking about this as if it were inadvertent. But it’s not. It’s their strategy.

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  34. @Almost Missouri

    "a fish-eye lens shot shows the valiant warrior lost in a supermarket aisle seemingly a mile long"
     
    Sorry to nitpick, but the supermarket scene wasn't really shot with a fish-eye lens, just a wide angle lens. But "fish-eye" is more fun to say.

    If I recall, they used a Canadian supermarket as a stand-in for the American supermarket. I guess the American ones weren't sufficiently sterile and alienating.

    I guess the American ones weren’t sufficiently sterile and alienating.

    Many American grocery stores are less than sterile – and hygienic – these days.

    One of the more-disgusting supermarkets in my area, a decrepit Winn-Dixie, shut down recently. An older woman I know who had been shopping there since the 1960s quit a few months before it closed after a) her friend, who also shopped there, got food poisoning from eating some eggs and b) a longtime employee, upon being told about this, said, “Yeah, we lost power for a couple of hours overnight. I wouldn’t eat these eggs if you paid me. But you didn’t hear that from me.”

    On my last visit to a Publix that I used to frequent, I was less than impressed by the store’s overall cleanliness. The terrazo floor was stained and dirty. (The service was nothing to write home about, either.) Publix has such a monopoly here these days – many stores are less than a ten-minute walk from each other – that maybe they’re getting lazy. I don’t know.

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  35. iffen says:
    @Dave Pinsen
    What are the financial incentives (partial disability?) of a veteran being diagnosed with PTSD? That’s important to consider.

    What are the financial incentives (partial disability?) of a veteran being diagnosed with PTSD?

    What’s the idea behind bringing in irrelevant information?

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Junger talks about the financial incentives to get a 100% disability rating: it's $3k per month, tax free. He says it's not uncommon for people wanting a 100% rating to show up ever more frequently at VA facilities for therapy services until they get the 100% rating and then they stop coming. He says this kind of welfare fraud behavior outrages the vets who have real problems.
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  36. @eah
    Thanks for the link/update -- I have not followed the story since the first reports -- still I do not consider the tweet "inaccurate" -- because initially much of the media was going with the 'did he deserve to get shot because he was a racist?' angle -- Mr Sailer did a post about that -- but it is "old" in that more info is now available re shooter (apparently a MAGA guy there to see Milo) and the person who was shot -- apparently a 'BernieBro':

    Several sources have identified the victim as Josh Dukes, 34, a Seattle computer-security engineer and a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) General Defense Committee, which describes itself as an “anti-racist and anti-fascist organization.”...The IWW has created a Crowdwise social-media funding page to raise money for his hospital expenses. So far, it has raised more than $42,000.

    Here is an earlier story (looks like the same one that inspired the tweet -- Mr Sailer did a post about it): Police say the man who fired the gun Friday night at the University of Washington claimed he had been assaulted by the man he shot, and that he believed he was a white supremacist.

    And re interesting questions: 1) Did the shooter really claim he felt threatened by a 'white supremacist'?, and 2) If so, why would a MAGA guy (per latest info) do that? -- could it be because he pays attention and instinctively knew the media would take that and run with it, thereby mitigating his crime?

    Related (probably -- believe it or not):

    Iraqi immigrant gets 26 years-to-life for killing wife in Calif.

    Investigators initially believed the killing was a hate crime because of a note found after the beating near the devout Muslim mother of five who wore a hijab. It read: "This is my country, go back to yours, you terrorist."

    A tidbit from the comments: She was 32 and with an 18-year old and 17-year old? She was possibly pregnant at 13, giving birth at 14? Sad all around.

    The victim and her Shiite Muslim family left Iraq in the early 1990s after a failed Shiite uprising, living in Saudi Arabian refugee camps before coming to the United States.

    They were brought here by the taxpayer-financed refugee industry -- fine additions to America.

    Thanks for the link/update

    No problem! I wrote a reply to Twinkie at 2:00 pm GMT (while comments were in mod) with content that overlaps with your comment.

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  37. Anonynous says:

    For what it’s worth, I’m a member of a couple “tribes” in a sense, veteran and cop. I also consider myself pretty articulate. I wrote three different posts trying to explain what I’ve experienced being part of those “tribes”, then deleted all of them. It’s extraordinarily hard to articulate, which is obviously part of the problem. But to another veteran or cop, it would be incredibly easy. I guess that’s why they’re tribes.

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    • Agree: Whoever
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Thanks for making the effort.
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  38. @Anonynous
    For what it's worth, I'm a member of a couple "tribes" in a sense, veteran and cop. I also consider myself pretty articulate. I wrote three different posts trying to explain what I've experienced being part of those "tribes", then deleted all of them. It's extraordinarily hard to articulate, which is obviously part of the problem. But to another veteran or cop, it would be incredibly easy. I guess that's why they're tribes.

    Thanks for making the effort.

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  39. @iffen
    What are the financial incentives (partial disability?) of a veteran being diagnosed with PTSD?

    What's the idea behind bringing in irrelevant information?

    Junger talks about the financial incentives to get a 100% disability rating: it’s $3k per month, tax free. He says it’s not uncommon for people wanting a 100% rating to show up ever more frequently at VA facilities for therapy services until they get the 100% rating and then they stop coming. He says this kind of welfare fraud behavior outrages the vets who have real problems.

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    • Replies: @iffen
    He says this kind of welfare fraud

    Problem # 1001 not being addressed. Why is the SS disability rate going up even though the physical requirements for work have trended down forever? Why does the disability rate go up when the unemployment rate goes up? Most of the younger disability recipients work in the cash economy because the disability payments do not provide an income that allows one to survive. Given that fact, what does that mean for the truly fully disabled that are unable to supplement their payments in the cash economy?

    , @iffen
    He says this kind of welfare fraud behavior

    I know of a "chaplain" who got 10% because he heard the bomb blast at Ramstein in 1981.
    , @ATX Hipster
    My old boss had occasional blackouts after having survived 9 IEDs. When he was getting medically retired, he came back livid from a medical appointment where they were trying to stiff him on some of his injuries but gladly offered a support guy that was there at the same time a partial rating for having had a nasty spider bite in the field.
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  40. iffen says:
    @Steve Sailer
    Junger talks about the financial incentives to get a 100% disability rating: it's $3k per month, tax free. He says it's not uncommon for people wanting a 100% rating to show up ever more frequently at VA facilities for therapy services until they get the 100% rating and then they stop coming. He says this kind of welfare fraud behavior outrages the vets who have real problems.

    He says this kind of welfare fraud

    Problem # 1001 not being addressed. Why is the SS disability rate going up even though the physical requirements for work have trended down forever? Why does the disability rate go up when the unemployment rate goes up? Most of the younger disability recipients work in the cash economy because the disability payments do not provide an income that allows one to survive. Given that fact, what does that mean for the truly fully disabled that are unable to supplement their payments in the cash economy?

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  41. iffen says:
    @Steve Sailer
    Junger talks about the financial incentives to get a 100% disability rating: it's $3k per month, tax free. He says it's not uncommon for people wanting a 100% rating to show up ever more frequently at VA facilities for therapy services until they get the 100% rating and then they stop coming. He says this kind of welfare fraud behavior outrages the vets who have real problems.

    He says this kind of welfare fraud behavior

    I know of a “chaplain” who got 10% because he heard the bomb blast at Ramstein in 1981.

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  42. @Steve Sailer
    Junger talks about the financial incentives to get a 100% disability rating: it's $3k per month, tax free. He says it's not uncommon for people wanting a 100% rating to show up ever more frequently at VA facilities for therapy services until they get the 100% rating and then they stop coming. He says this kind of welfare fraud behavior outrages the vets who have real problems.

    My old boss had occasional blackouts after having survived 9 IEDs. When he was getting medically retired, he came back livid from a medical appointment where they were trying to stiff him on some of his injuries but gladly offered a support guy that was there at the same time a partial rating for having had a nasty spider bite in the field.

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  43. @eah
    Why do the guys defending a fort in Afghanistan find living in a tiny bunker to be a blast, while coming home to America is so discombobulating for them?

    It's an interesting question.

    https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/824080766288228352

    A lot of them are adrenaline junkies. Normal life is too quiet for them. Restropo is quite good.

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  44. Yngvar says:

    Humans living under seemingly catastrophic conditions seem to enjoy better overall mental health than peacetime Americans.

    If this is true the ‘carnage’ in the ghettos can’t be fixed.

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    • Replies: @Twinkie

    If this is true the ‘carnage’ in the ghettos can’t be fixed.
     
    We used to construct "seemingly catastrophic conditions" as rites of passage for young men, so society could channel this need for danger and the consequent social cohesion for useful purposes.

    But now...

    This is why I have taught all my children - daughters included - how to survive in the wildnerness, how to hunt and fish, how to ride a horse, how to swim in the ocean miles from the shore, how to shoot, how to fight with a knife, and so on. And to enjoy the camaraderie of good people, preferably outdoors.

    We are not meant to spend all our days locked up inside. We go crazy otherwise.
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  45. Twinkie says:
    @Seth Largo
    Yes, this is a wrinkle in Steve's thesis, though I broadly agree with it.

    Does Junger anywhere differentiate between the effects of urban, close quarters combat seen by Iraq vets and the more distant hill-to-hill shelling and firing typically experienced by Afghanistan vets? I have two friends, both combat troops, one who fought in Iraqi towns and cities, the other who fought out in the open Afghanistan hills. The former has major PTSD issues, the latter happily will regale you with tales of shelling and taking fire from the enemy a few hundred yards away.

    Does Junger anywhere differentiate between the effects of urban, close quarters combat seen by Iraq vets and the more distant hill-to-hill shelling and firing typically experienced by Afghanistan vets?

    No. But he offers an explanation into PTSD that may fit the disparity. Junger seems to think (based on some data and psych studies) that PTSD originates from seeing the deaths and suffering of *others, including your enemies*, not your own or that of your comrades.

    In the case of your friends, holding other factors constant, the one in urban combat in Iraq is far more likely to see dead enemies and civilians than in hill fighting in Afghanistan.

    And to add my own observations, fighting in the open country or even rugged nature is far cleaner, both physically and psychologically. There are even moments when you have transcendental thoughts. Third world cities are extremely dirty and unpleasant. The combat in built-up areas is constantly three dimensional and more close quarters, so is orders of magnitude more stressful. Of course it also doesn’t help that there are more IUDs used in BUAs, which adds an immense amount of anger and frustration.

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  46. Twinkie says:
    @Steve Sailer
    Junger's Restrepo documentary involves blasting away into the distance from a hilltop fort. It looks stressful, but not in The Hurt Locker range.

    Junger’s Restrepo documentary involves blasting away into the distance from a hilltop fort.

    Much of the documentary is about the communal/fraternal bond of the men in combat/under stress. It captures very well the boredom and constant digging/entrenching/fortification/bullshitting and the anticipation of combat that take up much of a soldier’s time interspersed with the exhilaration and terror of intense combat when it finally occurs.

    And it wasn’t just “blasting away into the distance.” OP Restrepo was named after a platoon medic who was killed in the first place, and the documentary does show combat in Operation Rock Avalanche.

    Also, in my view, the film make more sense if viewed along with Junger’s other documentary “Korengal.”

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  47. Twinkie says:
    @Yngvar

    Humans living under seemingly catastrophic conditions seem to enjoy better overall mental health than peacetime Americans.
     
    If this is true the 'carnage' in the ghettos can't be fixed.

    If this is true the ‘carnage’ in the ghettos can’t be fixed.

    We used to construct “seemingly catastrophic conditions” as rites of passage for young men, so society could channel this need for danger and the consequent social cohesion for useful purposes.

    But now…

    This is why I have taught all my children – daughters included – how to survive in the wildnerness, how to hunt and fish, how to ride a horse, how to swim in the ocean miles from the shore, how to shoot, how to fight with a knife, and so on. And to enjoy the camaraderie of good people, preferably outdoors.

    We are not meant to spend all our days locked up inside. We go crazy otherwise.

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  48. Whoever says:

    The idea of having a town hall meeting where vets tell their stories might work for some, but a lot of people would find the idea of being the focus of dozens of pairs of eyes while they try to express their innermost thoughts about the most stressful incidents of their lives horrifying. This whole “share your feelings so we can feel your pain” concept is just…no…no.
    Guys like Junger are verbal. They have no problem putting their thoughts into words. It’s important to them to do so, and they like doing it. But lots of people, maybe even most people, are not that way and consider verbalizing their emotions an ordeal. They really embrace the mantra “suck it up, shut up and drive on.”
    That may be one reason why the most interesting war memoirs are often written by men who had some kind of intellectual profession after their war service. I’m thinking of writers like Eugene Sledge, Alvin Kernan, even Richard McKenna, and especially Farley Mowat, whose And No Bird Sang snaps off with a sudden ending at the point where he broke emotionally and just couldn’t take it any more and was overwhelmed.
    Another thing after looking at comments: Lots and lots vets of our recent wars served both in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they served in the earlier years and the later years. And also, re AFG, conditions and circumstances where the Army was were different from where the Marines were.
    But in any case, what matters is what happened to you specifically, what you witnessed, what you endured, and how you dealt with it based on your personality and life experiences. The rest is just hand waving.
    One survey of returning combat veterans from AFG found that 16.8 percent met the criteria for major depression, generalized anxiety or PTSD. Of those, only 78 percent acknowledged that they had a problem. Of those 78 percent who accepted that they had a problem, only 43 percent wanted any kind of help dealing with their issues. And of those 43 percent who wanted help, only 27 percent actually got it.
    So, setting aside all those anecdotes about legions of pogues gaming the system, most combat veterans with emotional difficulties receive no help at all. And that may be because they not only can’t bring themselves to express their emotional turmoil, but they also just can’t deal with all the paper work and waiting rooms and assorted jackasses they would have to deal with to finally get that help.
    About the Indian thing, I notice in the comments a tendency to conflate all non-western tribal peoples into one. But they are not fungible. How many sailors jumped ship in Melanesia compared to Polynesia? How many white men ran away to join the Papua New Guineans or the Australian aborigines compared to how many joined the Piegans and Nez Perce?
    Some who fled civilization to live among the Indians have told us why, writing memoirs of a life they loved so much it caused them profound grief to realize it was no more and would never be again. Read Andrew Garcia’s Tough Trip Through Paradise or James Schultz’s poignantly titled Why Gone Those Times? for a sense of what so enamored them.

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    • Replies: @iffen
    may be because they not only can’t bring themselves to express their emotional turmoil

    Where is the scientific proof of the efficacy of "talking it out," and I am not just talking about PTSD.
    , @Whoever
    Okay, I got Tribe and have started reading it. Looks interesting, and Junger may be on to something -- it's not the soldiers who are messed up, it's the civilians and their whole stupid world. Imagine if civilian society were based on the Navy motto, "Ship, shipmate, self."
    This will be the only other book of Junger's I have read besides War, which I gave a harsh three-star rating to in Goodreads. It must have seriously p'd me off at the time, though I can't recall much about it now.
    Oh, and thanks, Mr. S, for the gold box. Unexpected and appreciated! ( ◠‿◠ )
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  49. iffen says:
    @Whoever
    The idea of having a town hall meeting where vets tell their stories might work for some, but a lot of people would find the idea of being the focus of dozens of pairs of eyes while they try to express their innermost thoughts about the most stressful incidents of their lives horrifying. This whole "share your feelings so we can feel your pain" concept is just...no...no.
    Guys like Junger are verbal. They have no problem putting their thoughts into words. It's important to them to do so, and they like doing it. But lots of people, maybe even most people, are not that way and consider verbalizing their emotions an ordeal. They really embrace the mantra "suck it up, shut up and drive on."
    That may be one reason why the most interesting war memoirs are often written by men who had some kind of intellectual profession after their war service. I'm thinking of writers like Eugene Sledge, Alvin Kernan, even Richard McKenna, and especially Farley Mowat, whose And No Bird Sang snaps off with a sudden ending at the point where he broke emotionally and just couldn't take it any more and was overwhelmed.
    Another thing after looking at comments: Lots and lots vets of our recent wars served both in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they served in the earlier years and the later years. And also, re AFG, conditions and circumstances where the Army was were different from where the Marines were.
    But in any case, what matters is what happened to you specifically, what you witnessed, what you endured, and how you dealt with it based on your personality and life experiences. The rest is just hand waving.
    One survey of returning combat veterans from AFG found that 16.8 percent met the criteria for major depression, generalized anxiety or PTSD. Of those, only 78 percent acknowledged that they had a problem. Of those 78 percent who accepted that they had a problem, only 43 percent wanted any kind of help dealing with their issues. And of those 43 percent who wanted help, only 27 percent actually got it.
    So, setting aside all those anecdotes about legions of pogues gaming the system, most combat veterans with emotional difficulties receive no help at all. And that may be because they not only can't bring themselves to express their emotional turmoil, but they also just can't deal with all the paper work and waiting rooms and assorted jackasses they would have to deal with to finally get that help.
    About the Indian thing, I notice in the comments a tendency to conflate all non-western tribal peoples into one. But they are not fungible. How many sailors jumped ship in Melanesia compared to Polynesia? How many white men ran away to join the Papua New Guineans or the Australian aborigines compared to how many joined the Piegans and Nez Perce?
    Some who fled civilization to live among the Indians have told us why, writing memoirs of a life they loved so much it caused them profound grief to realize it was no more and would never be again. Read Andrew Garcia's Tough Trip Through Paradise or James Schultz's poignantly titled Why Gone Those Times? for a sense of what so enamored them.

    may be because they not only can’t bring themselves to express their emotional turmoil

    Where is the scientific proof of the efficacy of “talking it out,” and I am not just talking about PTSD.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  50. Whoever says:
    @Whoever
    The idea of having a town hall meeting where vets tell their stories might work for some, but a lot of people would find the idea of being the focus of dozens of pairs of eyes while they try to express their innermost thoughts about the most stressful incidents of their lives horrifying. This whole "share your feelings so we can feel your pain" concept is just...no...no.
    Guys like Junger are verbal. They have no problem putting their thoughts into words. It's important to them to do so, and they like doing it. But lots of people, maybe even most people, are not that way and consider verbalizing their emotions an ordeal. They really embrace the mantra "suck it up, shut up and drive on."
    That may be one reason why the most interesting war memoirs are often written by men who had some kind of intellectual profession after their war service. I'm thinking of writers like Eugene Sledge, Alvin Kernan, even Richard McKenna, and especially Farley Mowat, whose And No Bird Sang snaps off with a sudden ending at the point where he broke emotionally and just couldn't take it any more and was overwhelmed.
    Another thing after looking at comments: Lots and lots vets of our recent wars served both in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they served in the earlier years and the later years. And also, re AFG, conditions and circumstances where the Army was were different from where the Marines were.
    But in any case, what matters is what happened to you specifically, what you witnessed, what you endured, and how you dealt with it based on your personality and life experiences. The rest is just hand waving.
    One survey of returning combat veterans from AFG found that 16.8 percent met the criteria for major depression, generalized anxiety or PTSD. Of those, only 78 percent acknowledged that they had a problem. Of those 78 percent who accepted that they had a problem, only 43 percent wanted any kind of help dealing with their issues. And of those 43 percent who wanted help, only 27 percent actually got it.
    So, setting aside all those anecdotes about legions of pogues gaming the system, most combat veterans with emotional difficulties receive no help at all. And that may be because they not only can't bring themselves to express their emotional turmoil, but they also just can't deal with all the paper work and waiting rooms and assorted jackasses they would have to deal with to finally get that help.
    About the Indian thing, I notice in the comments a tendency to conflate all non-western tribal peoples into one. But they are not fungible. How many sailors jumped ship in Melanesia compared to Polynesia? How many white men ran away to join the Papua New Guineans or the Australian aborigines compared to how many joined the Piegans and Nez Perce?
    Some who fled civilization to live among the Indians have told us why, writing memoirs of a life they loved so much it caused them profound grief to realize it was no more and would never be again. Read Andrew Garcia's Tough Trip Through Paradise or James Schultz's poignantly titled Why Gone Those Times? for a sense of what so enamored them.

    Okay, I got Tribe and have started reading it. Looks interesting, and Junger may be on to something — it’s not the soldiers who are messed up, it’s the civilians and their whole stupid world. Imagine if civilian society were based on the Navy motto, “Ship, shipmate, self.”
    This will be the only other book of Junger’s I have read besides War, which I gave a harsh three-star rating to in Goodreads. It must have seriously p’d me off at the time, though I can’t recall much about it now.
    Oh, and thanks, Mr. S, for the gold box. Unexpected and appreciated! ( ◠‿◠ )

    Read More
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