Loneliness of the Mental

Wilfed Owen’s poem Mental Cases gives us an image of the damage done by the carnage of war. 

 “These men whose minds the Dead have ravished” (Owens, 22).

“Once called shell shock or battle fatigue” (Associated Press) today we label these men that rock back and forth as having post-traumatic stress disorder. In all the articles I read about post-tramatic stress disorder from the times to MSNBC, they always dealt with the subject scientifically opposed to personally. These articles throw figures out like 1 in 6 Iraq war veterans have some sort of stress disorder (Anahad) but they never deal with who is to blame for these soldiers’ sicknesses.

 The military obviously does not feel responsible.  In a recent decision, the Pentagon stated that these Mental Cases do not deserve a purple heart. Technically, soldiers suffering from PTSD were never injured by an

“intentional enemy action” (Alvarez). The Pentagon stated that

“current medical knowledge and technologies do not establish PTSD as objectively and routinely as would be required for this award at this time” (Alvarez).  So the 300,000 sufferers of PTSD estimated by the Rand corporation study in 2008 (Alvarez) get no acknowledgment of the injuries they have suffered. There is hope though.  The fact that the Pentagon even investigated this matter is a good sign, but for the time being, there is no justice for the PTSD victims. It seems that in Owens day and today there is no love for the Mental Cases, no feeling of social responsibility. This is a stark contrast to the mannor in which Owen depicts these Mental Cases.  Owens, in his final stanza, writes

“Snatching after us who smote, them, brother,/ Pawing us who dealt them war and madness” (Owens, 23).   Owens is pointing the finger at everyone who supported the war as the culprits behind this affliction. The same can be said for the war in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Everyone from the President to the peasant who supported the war is responsible for the tormented souls that resulted.  In the end I am responsible.

.Times article
 MSNBC article
New York Times Article

 

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