« The Intelligence Olympics | Main | Losing Pakistan - FB Ali »

17 May 2009


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Patrick Lang


Some of you are missing my major points.

Individual soldiers should have the maximum in first class psychiatric care. In many cases the diagnosis can only lead to an honorable discharge and the thanks of a grateful nation. Hmmm.

Stop thinking about that and conentrate as Alnval the psychiatrist did on the effect on the force (whether or not many of theprivate soldiers are conscripts) of tellling the leaders that they are in an unnatural metier that leads directly to mental illness. Do you think you will have an effective army, If youwant to babble about the draft - 1- It will not happen politically, and 2- Look at the SLA Marshall data on draftees in the line infantry in WW2. The vast majority of them never fired their weapons in fire fights. A small percentage of the "abnormal" did the fighting.

And then, those who say they want to be lead by someone who previously broke down under the strain of combat and then was recycled in therapy have never been in a firefight. pl


Everyone here is calling him "SSGT Russell," but all of the news reports -- including the ones from publications that would know the difference, like the Army Times -- say that he was an E-5, and the widely used photo of him shows him with sergeant's rank. Does someone have information that he was really an E-6? Where does that information come from?

I think this distinction matters -- if he was an E-5 after 21 years in the military, and 15 years of active duty, then the army never thought much of him to begin with....

Bill Wade, NH, USA

I'm in the Anna Missed camp. It is what it is. Or, sh*t happens.

"And then, those who say they want to be lead by someone who previously broke down under the strain of combat and then was recycled in therapy have never been in a firefight."

But, a substantial number of citizens got behind George W. Bush and we sorta knew his background, just what exactly made him more qualified to lead (with that kind of power) versus a GI who's had some counseling and then gets back into the fight?

R Whitman

Pat, your comment about my post made me think.
1. I am glad that the drinking has slowed down.

2.At the time of my military service, I disliked it very much. Boring and inconsequential to a 21 year old wanting to get on with "real life". Looking back 50+ years now I can say military service made me into an adult and a productive citizen. The real enjoyment came after my 2 year active duty stint while in the Reserves. I really liked the weekly drills and the summer camps.


Weirdly enough, there's evidence that making a Game Boy standard issue gear would help.

"The rationale for a 'cognitive vaccine' approach is as follows: Trauma flashbacks are sensory-perceptual, visuospatial mental images. Visuospatial cognitive tasks selectively compete for resources required to generate mental images. Thus, a visuospatial computer game (e.g. "Tetris") will interfere with flashbacks. Visuospatial tasks post-trauma, performed within the time window for memory consolidation, will reduce subsequent flashbacks. We predicted that playing "Tetris" half an hour after viewing trauma would reduce flashback frequency over 1-week."


The idea is that you don't want to let a recent horrible experience burn itself into your brain. If something dreadful happens, you need to find something else to concentrate on, and do it fast. If you can avoid thinking about it for a few hours, it might end up being nothing more than a horrible memory as opposed to a crippling medical problem.

Dan M

I think we should try out I'm Ok, you're Ok on the postal service. When we can prove, over let's say a 10-year period, that such approaches can improve the letter-carrying efficiency of the service while comprehensively reducing the "bad things" quotient, we sould try it elsewhere (maybe). But remember: The letter's have got to get there more efficiently.

Sidney O. Smith III

Speaking as a civilian, I sure hope military people do not see Freud as a some kind of platoon leader.

Just my opinion but it seems to me that there are different “psychological universes”. In that vein, perhaps the psychological observations and laws that apply to the civilian world are not necessarily apropos to the world of war or even the world of a Trappist monastery or, to satisfy Huffington post progressives, the world of Zen Buddhist monks (not sure there is a lot of difference if Merton is right but alas only one has cachet).

Not saying that from formal training, just saying it from common sense experience and some reading.

I once had to deal with a kid who I believe was on the edge of some kind of (I hope) temporary condition that resembled “incipient schizophrenia” or something like it. By that I mean his inner dream world had become his external world. Let me just say that he was headed to New York with a gun. Luckily he got pulled over by the cops beforehand and I tried to help him sort things out, legally and otherwise. He wasn’t a bad kid; in fact, very poetic and artistic but extremely troubled. At first, he wouldn’t even take a drink of coca cola that I bought for him because he thought I had poisoned it.

It is my opinion and from what I read by Jung, when dealing with a person in a true crisis, you have to be willing to try to replicate the same psychological condition as the person you have encountered, through empathy, compassion or phenomenology. Call it whatever you want. You kinda take the plunge. Then from there, you can start using certain symbols to try to pull the person through the crisis.

I say all of this for two reasons. One, it just seems to me that the last thing you would want to do to an NCO is take away his right to his rifle. That’s his identity. It may have been the only think keeping him in touch with reality and the outer world. So, in my opinion, odds are good whoever did so, if such did happened, was an idiot.

Secondly, the person I dealt with in the scenario described above ended up joining the US Army. Last I heard he was in Iraq.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

April 2020

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30    
Blog powered by Typepad