PTSD and PGED: Post Glory Exuberance Disorder

EDITORIAL, 23 Nov 2009

#89 | Johan Galtung

Washington: There is much talk about post traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, these days.  Yes, it must be tough to kill so many Afghans who fight secularism, Kabul and foreign soldiers dying for that fraudulent dictator Karzai, and invasions by some chess game drunk players.  And, at a risk of an IED, US$ 10 per piece, lethal, effective.  And, maybe with the sneaking doubt about the whole exercise, a stupid farce concocted in twisted Anglo-American minds filled with Russia-China-Muslim-free pipe-lines and bases for, just in case, a war with China.  With no real proof that 9/11 was made in Afghanistan, nor that Al Qaeda needs that place.  To fight that war carries triple trauma.  They need that spiritual fitness center on the Fort Hood Resiliency Campus (WP, Nov. 16 2009).

Not strange that the soldiers collapse. They desert massively.  And may take it out on their families.  Or on themselves in the mounting suicide rate.  As walking veteran time bombs in minefield USA, still with unexploded Viêt Nam veterans as PTSD devices.  Fresh loads coming.  A sign of health: they are still human.

15,000 of the soldiers in  the US army are among the 2,3 million US Muslims.  They signed up for an Obama-administration fighting four Muslim countries at the same time, Iraq-Pakistan-Afghanistan directly with some local assistance; Palestine indirectly via Israel as arms-money-veto supplier. In addition threatening Iran with obliteration in case they aim at s second strike capability.  Yemen, Somalia, solidly Muslim.  Maybe not psyche strange if some of them see this as a war against Islam?

One of them a psychiatrist, Major Nidal Hasan.  Maybe weird, maybe psychiatrized into innocence.  But imagine listening to a litany of PTSD of soldiers reporting not only the fear of being killed, but the pain of killing countless Muslims.  Just imagine.

He issued a warning: give US muslims the conscientious objection option (WP Nov 10, 2009).  Ignored. The rest is history.

That country, fighting for Western values, will conclude a twisted court case focused on behavior only, not on the underlying agony of any Muslim whose duty it is to defend Islam when trampled upon with a death penalty; bringing the war into the court room like the Obama administration plans for some court close to Ground Zero in Manhattan.  Predictable all, and predictably useless for individual and general prevention.  But not for producing martyrs.

And yet there is something worse than the post-traumatic stress disorder made by USA and acted out in USA.  The post glory exuberance disorder is acted out abroad and then made in USA with ticker tape parades and war tribe dances around flag poles for one more annual glory, the unconditional surrender by some somebody.  The exuberance disorder of that invincible, exceptionalist one.

Obama, concerned with nuclear arms, could counteract PGED by letting a deed follow his many words: visit to Hiroshima.  Yes, we did it, I wish it could be undone.  Invitation declined, “this time”.  Instead he adds the 4th fleet for Latin America, nuclear of the “neither confirm nor deny variety”, to the 7 Colombia bases against narco-traffic, terrorism and anti-US governments.  And the Tlatelolco treaty?  A US breach will encourage others. And we are in the midst of a nuclear arms race rather than any reduction.

And no word about the demand side of narcotics, following in the footsteps of those demanding Plan Colombia with no Plan USA.

The Goldstone report is a magnificent invitation to multilateral diplomacy on Israel-Palestine, a miracle of double-sidedness.  A golden chance to remove that stone blocking the articulation of the issue toward solution, like for Korea opening for a nuclear free Middle East, and Korean peninsula.  But no.  Nuclear bilateralism is the formula.  Is the guy a fake?

United States of America, please remember your own history.

Once upon a time 13 colonies-states on the Atlantic seaboard were peopled by Albion’s Seed (a remarkable book), Puritans from East Anglia, Quakers from Bradford, from Devonshire 402 years ago to Jamestown VA, the border riff-raff relegated to inner domains;  all run by a London-appointed governor for English self-benefit.

They merged those states, they united, 1776-1789-1812, from Declaration to Independence. Deal with us as a whole, no more divide et impera, you London.  And London, slowly, learnt.

USA, maybe you inspired somebody?  Maybe Latin America and the Caribbean are now at the same stage in history?  Maybe so is Africa, with no country wanting to host your Africom, leaving that role to servile Germans in Stuttgart?  Maybe East Asia wants the two Chinas, two Koreas, two Japans as a whole?  Maybe one day the Middle East will get a fit of sanity, opting for a community of Israel with the five neighboring Arab states?  And Central Asia, Afghanistan with 7-8 surrounding Muslim countries, the five former Soviet “stans”, Iran, Pakistan and Azad Kashmir, maybe even the Valley should India practice democracy?  And–even more–a Russian union that could include the non-Russians on equal terms, with Byelorussia and half of Ukraine–a huge whole?  You, Washington.

All coming.  USA, can you deny others what you made yourself? Why not rather help them, give institutional advice, do not leave that to the Europeans alone.  Make them your friends, do not try to turn the time machine of history backward.  Do not rest on past glory letting that exuberance run away with you.  Rather, reach out, find friends close to you.  There is a Latin America but also an English America, with you, Canada and into the Caribbean.  With Mexico as a bridge.  Celebrate this new turn of history.

What belongs together should grow together, like the Germanies 20 years ago.  President Obama: it is unbecoming for you to act as a latter day George III trying to stop the inevitable.

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 23 Nov 2009.

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