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Larry Winters: Masters of War

I am a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War. Many veterans and I have felt the public has seen us as being at the bottom of the barrel. Soldiers have and are spent by politicians like bit coin. Statesmen use moral rhetoric to convince troops that going to war is their duty. Returning from war our veterans are perceived as broken wounded paid out human beings.  In the eyes of the public the veteran forever remains the victim.

War's battlefields are not seen, smelled or heard by the general public.

The veterans understand how the government uses violence against it's enemies. The military also uses fear and violence to keep it soldiers locked into the military oath. If a soldier breaks his or her military oath, the consequences are life threatening and life changing.  The number of unjust Wars since Vietnam has made taking the military oath more a tool of indenture than patriotism.

The veteran’s education cost them risking their lives. These lessons come hard and are dark. Politicians have come to understand what our troops learn in battle can become dangerous. They have discovered the moral secret of what America does when it goes to war. If our government and communities truly supported returning veterans in becoming self-actualized human beings our governmental policies would change. Instead the government and military use a mental health diagnosis of PTSD to explain veteran’s incongruent behaviors, therefore masking the effects of the moral injury they suffer. The public sees veterans as those filling the ranks of the homeless, the jails and VA hospitals, instead warriors forged in the fires of war.  Veterans carry alone the responsibility for the enemies’ dead, their fellow soldiers dead as well as the aftereffects of war on themselves and their families.

Our returning soldiers do receive medical compensation from the Veterans Administration that has been recently discovered as corrupt. Disabled veterans receive minimal financial support.  While the public and politicians enjoy freedom and abundance, doing little to lift the moral consequences of having sent their soldiers into unjust wars.

Therefore, by continuing to under serve our vets, and keeping them in the role of victims, politicians remain in command of military power.  The deeper reality is not even our politicians control the army's power; it's the big business owners who are the masters of war. Human life has become currency; with our public and the world costumers of their products.

It's sad; the lower-middle-class public supplies the military with human capital using those who have little educational opportunities, no political connections and no time or energy to look beyond their struggle for survival.

There is a growing shadow in the hearts of many veterans who have come to understand this.

Larry Winters is a recently retired psychotherapist and director of veteran’s treatment at Four Winds Hospital, where he worked for 25 years.  For three years he helped create a program called the Veteran Civilian Dialogue. Winters has written two books: "The Making and Unmaking of a Marine: One Man's Struggle for Forgiveness," and "Brotherkeeper: Where Strength, Love and Courage Unite."

The views expressed by WAMC’s commentators are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of WAMC or its management…

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