As a combat veteran and retired Army chaplain, I’ve observed that vets who remain in the military after deployment do better than those who leave the military and return to a public that does not understand or appreciate their experience. Those who stay in the military are surrounded by fellow soldiers who “get it.” That said, more needs to be done to address PTSD and suicide in the military. And chaplains should be allowed to freely offer spiritual resources for treating combat stress.
US Army Retired
I am not sure that this space will allow room for the anger, grief, and disillusionment I felt when I was first shown CT’s latest cover image and title, “War-Torn.”
When I left the Navy and became a conflict journalist, one of my first assignments was in Kabul. On the first day of my embed with a British Army regiment, I was snapping away on my camera—when, to my surprise, all the soldiers on patrol turned their backs to me. They had made the mistake before of trusting journalists to tell their story, only to be villainized and made out to be war criminals. What was written about them simply wasn’t true.
CT has committed a similar error.
Veterans from Duke Divinity School and I were approached by CT for a story that would talk about healing, moving forward, and finding a place in God’s kingdom. It is true that the copy does include these elements.
But CT’s headline and cover treatment casts veterans as helpless victims. It freeze frames veterans at the very point we hurt the most. It does not recognize the hard work, the rehabilitation, and the often solitary, invisible road that we have traveled to get to a place of healing. ...1
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