One of the things which interests me is combat stress, well, all sorts of overwhelming stress and how it effects the brain, self-regulation but soldiers are special cases often expected to experience overwhelming stress, recover quickly and carry on.

There's been something of an appreciation of this respect of theatres of war if you simply consider the difference between soldiers on film, contrast the troops in Forbidden Planet, gentlemanly, trustworthy, with those in the post-Nam Aliens, much more thuggish, tough, brawlers.

Films like Hamburger Hill, Platoon, other Nam cinema kind of exposed the underbelly of war fighting, there's been reappraisals of soldiering in film since. For instance Deathwatch, which while it is a ghost story, retells the conflict of one of the world wars as a daily struggle in which psychopaths do well and even their comrades do their best not to get on the wrong side of them.

I'm not sure if these depictions of war and war fighting are entirely accurate, given what I'm told by soldier friends who have told me that recruitment and training is meant to weed out psychopaths and vietnam or world war cinema are depictions of what they describe as "conscript wars".

On the other hand I've read books such as Anthony Stevens' The Roots of War and Terror which suggest, since Stevens' is a Jungian psythotherapist, that the process of recruitment, training, deployment and its physical and mental stresses, particularly considering the catchment and age group and stage of maturation of people involved (one of my friends joined the HMS at 17 out of school) that archetypes are activated by the very process. Stevens' explains this but doesnt really pass judgement, he simply says that other archetypes need to be activated before they're discharged or when they move on.

I've recently watched a good documentary on the BBC in which a commanding officer said that the army cant cure societies ills, like soldiers doing drugs or becoming chronically violent, and that they came from society, they should go back there. That personal responsibility dictates that people should exercise a choice and opt for therapy rather than destructiveness.

Now that to be is interesting, I do believe in personal responsibility but its both fostered and limited by military life, you have to depend on others, particular leaders and follow orders. I'm also unsure as to whether or not society is equipped to deal with problems which could have been generated in scenarios or contexts where the normal social rules are totally abscent.

Interested in anyone opinions on this and a discussion on it.

I'm also reading Rule Number Two which is a sort of biographical account and stories from an army psychologist who was in a combat hospital in Iraq, I could recommend that too.

Some links:

The Wounded Platoon, BBC Two, review - Telegraph

The Wounded Platoon, BBC Two, Wednesday - Herald Scotland | Arts & Ents | Film & TV Reviews

Combat stress reaction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I'm not really that interested in this thread going off topic into either debates about so called imperialism, US foreign policies and the wars being fought with political islamists worldwide, the reality is that war will always be with us, like poverty, its a question as to how its dealt with and its aftermath.