May 24, 2014 by Darius
As wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down, more than 2 million US veterans are reintegrating into society. In his recently released TED talk, “Why Veterans Miss War,” journalist Sebastian Junger, attempts to explain, as the title suggests, why many returning soldiers find themselves missing war. Given that this is Memorial Day weekend, the topic is very timely.
So what do soldiers miss about war? According to Junger, who has spent a lot of time with soldiers in warzones, it’s not combat. Even though combat is an incredibly emotional experience, most soldiers do not miss the experience of combat. Instead, they miss the brotherhood and connection of war. Brotherhood is, effectively, a mutual agreement in a group that you will put the safety of the group above your own. Combined with the emotional intensity of combat, though, brotherhood becomes a very strong and secure bond. Back in society, soldiers don’t have anyone they can count on the same way. The resulting alienation is intense.
According to Junger, we need to understand that if we are to help veterans with integrating back into society. To watch Junger’s talk, see http://www.ted.com/talks/sebastian_junger_why_veterans_miss_war