Am I wrong?
In the beginning…
…war looks and feels like love. But unlike love it gives nothing in return but an ever-deepening dependence, like all narcotics, on the road to self-destruction. It does not affirm but places upon us greater and greater demands. it destroys the outside world until it is hard ot live outside war’s grip. It takes a higher and higher dose to achieve any thrill. Finally, one ingests wareonly to remain numb. The world outside war becomes, as Freud wrote, “uncanny.” The familiar becomes strangely unfamiliar – many who have been in war find this when they return home. The world we once understood and longed to return to stands before us as alien, strange, and beyond our grasp. p. 163
And the hangover?
When the mask of war slips away and the rot and corruption is exposed, when the addiction turns sour and rank, when the myth is exposed as a fraud, we feel soiled and spent. It is then that we sink into despair, a despair that can lead us to welcome death. This despair is more common than many expect.
In the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, almost a third of all Israeli causalities were due to psychiatric causes, and the war lasted only a few weeks. A World War II study determined that after sixty days of continuous combat, 98 percent of all surviving soldiers will have become psychiatric casualties. They found that a common trait among the 2 percent who were able to endure sustained combat was a predispostion toward “aggressive psychopathic personalities.” p. 164