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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Movie Review - Ken Burns The War

A very interesting look at World War II and the lives of those who lived it on the front lines and on the home front.
I was very pleased with the work that Ken Burns did in making his documentary "The War". I hope that it encourages more vets to participate in the Library of Congress's Veterans Project. I was surprised after all the uproar of some who felt Ken Burns did not represent the Latino contribution. There is some great interviews of Japanese Americans of the 442nd and also there was a lot about the African American contribution. So after all the hype of those who felt Ken's documentary was biased I say they must not have watched the same show I saw.
The first part probably hit me the closest to home, and I did have some hellish dreams that night. The unit that I found of most interest (which may be why I ended up dreaming I was there) fought a rear action in New Guinea. These U.S. Troops performed guerrilla operations within the enemy’s rear and were very successful in interrupting and disrupting the enemy. They didn’t have a lot of information on that operation and I am still searching for a good source.
Mr. Burns addressed PTSD very well. It is sad how ignored and stigmatized PTSD was back then. There have been a couple other specials that have discussed this important issue. One thing I found interesting is how many Vietnam vets have been re-experiencing PTSD. One of those interviewed said that every time he watches the News he feels anxious and upset and his PTSD had come back again. To him and all Americans I say STOP watching the News on TV !! Argh ! I know I sound unsympathetic to some, by saying that. However it has been haunting me since I heard him say that the News had affected him so badly. Our news today focuses so much on the bad and not on the successes that the News is now completely out of touch with the realities. The fact is War is hell. It grinds up good men in hopes of bringing security and freedom to those in need. There are many Veteran groups, other than the VA that are very helpful in the treatment of PTSD. If you have a friend or family who has served, be sure to encourage them to seek help if you see a change in their character or behavior. Here is some links for how to spot PTSD.
PTSD, a specific diagnosis, is not the only psychological damage soldiers can sustain. And experts say that mental disorders can make the already rugged transition from military to civilian life a harrowing one. Soldiers can experience depression, hypervigilance, insomnia, emotional numbing, recurring nightmares and intrusive thoughts. And in many cases, the symptoms worsen with time, leaving the victims at higher risk for alcohol and drug abuse, unemployment, homelessness and suicide. - msnbc
I hear the words humanity and humane used so much nowadays that it has lost all meaning. It makes me think, have we forgotten/ignored how inhumane humans can be? As long as there are humans there is likely to be wars. The moment we forget that, and we let our guard down, we take two steps backwards. - Ian Bach