And yet—war remains acceptable. It follows a history of war down through the ages. Some little boys play-fight with swords or guns. I'm unsure if this behavior is learned, expected, or part of their genetic structure.
As a woman, I find aggression repugnant. We raise our children and then allow them to go to war. All the old reasons spring to mind: protect our country from conquers; stop an evil regime invading a defenseless country; support another country in their war effort.
But what of the effects on our sons—the men who face the horrors of war?
The news today tells of a significant increase in the number of UK veterans of the Afghanistan conflict seeking mental health treatment.
The charity Combat Stress revealed the figures: 358 new Afghanistan veteran referrals in 2013, a 57% rise on the 228 in 2012. As UK forces prepare to leave the country, the figures will increase. In the past, veterans tended to wait an average of 13 years after serving before they sought help. This figure fell to an average of 18 months for Afghanistan veterans. The total caseload of more than 5,400 veterans across the UK was the largest in the charity's 95-year history.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can affect anyone who has experienced a traumatic event such as military conflict, natural disasters or serious road accidents. Symptoms can include flashbacks, poor sleep and a change in mood.
Only a small number of veterans relive the horrors they experienced on the front line. That is unacceptable. If left untreated, who knows how their hidden psychological wounds could tear their families apart?
Another war is looming. When will humans live in peace with each other?