Fighting, battle, combat, and war. These words bring to mind thoughts of .
guns, smoke, planes, bombs, and killing. However, there is another .
characteristic of this type of combat, one we rarely consider. The .
psychological effects war has on those who are fighting, or those who know .
people who are fighting, adds up to a great cost. This is one aspect of .
fighting that is often overlooked, but there are great probabilities of being .
affected, responses to those affected, costs in government and human terms, .
and remedies for those who are affected.
A psychiatric casualty is "a combatant who is no longer able to .
participate in combat due to mental debilitation.but with proper care, is .
able to be rotated back into the line [of war]," (Psychological 2). These .
psychiatric casualties were first discovered in World War 1. This was .
because the wars before that were called "gentlemanly wars," in which they .
fought during the day, and took breaks at night. Many of the circumstances .
that the soldiers go through are all "found in cultural, geographical, or .
social circumstances, and when the ingredient of war is removed, individuals .
exposed to these circumstances do not suffer mass psychiatric casualties," .
(Psychological 4). With the ingredient of war added, however, they suffer an .
"exhaustion of such magnitude that it appears to be almost impossible to .
communicate it to those who have not experienced it," (Long 2).
In every major war of the century, there has been a greater probability .
of becoming a psychiatric casualty than of being killed by enemy fire. This .
means that individuals who survive combat may very well end up paying a .
psychological cost for a lifetime. As I am speaking of cost, psychiatric .
breakdowns remain one of the most costly items of war when expressed in human .
terms, but "rarely do military establishments attempt to measure the cost of .
war in terms of individual suffering," (Psychological 2).