What’s the point of enlisting nowadays? Everyone has a reason for joining the army whether it be following one’s family’s footsteps, lacking guidance, having a sense of purpose to protect their nation and those they love, etc. As I see it, the main problem with enlisting is that regardless of what nation one is a part of, if one is sent to war, one is being deployed to a slaughterhouse. Something important to take into consideration is the fact that soldiers don’t regret enlisting or going to war; they objectively criticize their own purpose and job in the war. They start believing that fighting is unnecessary because nothing is changing and nothing is being solved in the long run. “Where Soldiers Come From” explores the reasons why some young men decided to enlist in the army, what they did during their deployment, and the different effects that war had on these men. The consequences that war had on these soldiers are what I consider the “personal cost of war”.
A soldier’s “army life” is divided in three parts:
- Enlistment into the army
- Interpretation of the war while being deployed
- Resentment towards those they fought against, and those who sent them to be part of what they begin to consider a useless fight
The olden perception of glory and heroism is decaying; even soldiers who believe they were born to protect their nation return from their deployment thinking differently about the concept of “service”. The sense of defending those who they love is not lost, but the perception they used to have of the honor involved in battle becomes completely meaningless to them. Soldiers know that there is an implied risk when joining the army, but none of them want to arrive to their home country after their deployment with some sort of physical injury –most of them don’t take into consideration the fact that they will have psychological problems regardless–. In many countries around the world –taking the USA as an example right now–, soldiers are treated like popular icons when they come back from war because society believes it understands the sacrifice that they made for their country.
There is a prevailing idea that many people have about soldiers coming back from the army: “if they come back in one piece, they’re very lucky.” I would dare say that no one who is deployed as part of the army can be called fortunate because even though people may not be able to see the internal scars that are left from taking part in a war, that doesn’t mean that these are not there. There are multifarious soldiers who arrive to their home country with psychological issues such as PTSD and TBI (traumatic brain injury); these problems cause them to change the way in which they act socially and the manner in which people who have surrounded them their whole lives treat them. People who join the army have a lot of trouble adapting to a new environment in which there is no such thing as an enemy that they have to be aware of and eliminate. This is the humanistic perspective of life that they hadn’t taken into account before, but are now more aware of. What’s the point of joining the army if you know that regardless of whether you come back physically safe or not, you will live a life with an injury that your mind cannot escape from? Many soldiers would reconsider enlisting if they knew that being a part of the army could lead to countless years of dependency towards drugs to help them cope with their problems. For many, sleep becomes a thing of the past…
Julian Geoffrey Lopez
Sunday, October 27th at 5pm: “Where Soldiers Come From” a film screening at Merrill’s Roxy Theater in Burlington. Part of our Cost of War Speaker and Film Series this film follows the four-year journey of childhood friends, forever changed by a faraway war from a snowy small town in Northern Michigan to the mountains of Afghanistan and back. This event is FREE but we are expecting a crowd so we encourage people to pick up a ticket at the Peace & Justice Store to reserve your seat. We hope to see you there!