Afghan syndrome reaches Europe

Europe seems to be experiencing the "Afghan syndrome" caused by the return of soldiers who have served in Afghanistan. Many already note that the times of the "Vietnam syndrome" are back. Serious talks about this emerged when a Corporal who has served in Afghanistan was detained in France on suspicion of murder and cannibalism.

The incident took place late last week in the High Pyrenees, in the village of Nouilhan north of Tarbes. A stranger entered the village and brutally murdered a 90-year-old man, cutting out his heart and tongue. After that, the offender went outside, attacked a tractor driver, broke his arm, and returned to the victim's house, where, presumably, he ate part of the cut organs. The police found out that the murderer was a Corporal who served in Afghanistan and just retired from the army. Prior to his retirement, he underwent a medical test that has not registered any mental health problems, the newspaper Centre-Presse reported. According to expert testimony, the Corporal obeyed the orders.

The terrible legacy of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is becoming obvious in the form of the seemingly forgotten "Vietnam syndrome." The latter is a medical term coined in the United States, describing a variety of nervous and mental diseases suffered by the American soldiers and officers who participated in the Vietnam War. The "Vietnam syndrome" developed gradually, and the tragic peak of the disease was seen in the eighth year after the return from the hot spots. The Americans have declared on numerous occasions that they have resolved this issue, but the syndrome is back and will find new victims in the years to come.

The UK is sounding the alarm. A study conducted by the Ministry of Defense in 2012 revealed that 500 military people who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan seek help with their mental health issues at least once a month. They are diagnosed with "post-traumatic stress disorder" (PTSD). The Daily Mail wrote about one of these soldiers, Junior Sergeant Jake Wood, 39, who left his job as a business analyst at an investment bank to serve two terms in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. He admitted that in Iraq he put his gun down his throat, and only fears for his family have stopped him. He said that in 2004, one of the local guys held him under the gun, but did not kill him, while he wanted to be killed. British doctors claim that in the midst of the crisis in Europe psychiatric disorders among former military personnel are greatly affected by dismissal.

There is a similar trend in the United States. The newspaper Nation Time reported that mental problems are generally kept secret not to ruin people's careers. This is done on the basis of special army instructions "Combat and Operational Stress Control: Defer Diagnosis of Behavioral Disorders." The newspaper reported that this is precisely why cases like the shooting of 16 people, including nine children in the Afghan village Balambi in March of this year by U.S. Army Sergeant Robert Bales are possible.

Statesman reported that soldiers are drugged to relieve stress, and then treatment with the same narcotic drugs is continued in the United States. So much so, that the courts of some of the cities where the hospitals are located have to allocate a special day for criminals veterans. Their subsequent fate is sad. One out of three, according to the Statesman, dies of a drug overdose, a lethal combination of various potent drugs or commits suicide. One out of five dies in a car accident. Among those who have been diagnosed with PTSD these numbers are even worse, and 80 percent of patients die from the reasons mentioned above.

In the U.S. veteran of the Iraq and Afghan campaigns often become murderers. In 2008, Reuters reported that at least 121 murders were committed by U.S. soldiers who have returned home after 2001, more than three quarters of all the above murders were committed by veterans still ranking in the U.S. army. The report noted that neither the Pentagon nor the Department of Justice compile these statistics.

Wars have a detrimental effect on the children of former soldiers. According to a study conducted by researchers from the University of California and published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, there is a direct link between military service of the parents or siblings in hot spots and an increase in mental health problems in teenagers. According to scientists, high school students whose parents participated in a war have a 34 percent increase of suicidal thoughts over their peers whose parents have not served in the army.

"All wars are not created equal," psychotherapist Vladimir Fainzil'berg told Pravda.Ru. 'The nature of a war has a significant effect on human psyche. Russian soldiers during the Great Patriotic War did not have mental disorders because they were defending their home, motherland, family, and were psychologically protected. These wars (Afghanistan, Iraq) are invasive; they traumatize soldiers because they make them killing machines for money. We are talking about a mass psychosis influenced by the propaganda of ideas that any problem should be solved through a war," said Fainzil'berg.

What is this propaganda? The United States has a unique history. Over 237 years of its existence, it either fought or, in short periods of time, was getting ready for another attack, looking for victims. In the period from 1798 through 2012 Washington used military force abroad 240 times, more frequently than annually. In the past century, the U.S. soldiers fought in China (1925), Korea (1950), again in China (1958), and Lebanon (1958).

In Vietnam, 60,000 American men were killed and over 300 thousand were injured. Americans conducted military operations in Latin America - Panama, Brazil (overthrow of the legally elected President Joao Goulart in 1964), Cuba, Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, Chile, Panama, Grenada, and Honduras. In Europe, Africa and Asia they fought in Sudan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia (strikes on terrorist bases with drones since 2002), Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan.

The latest trend, judging by the incident in France, is the "Afghan syndrome." Now it is moving to Europe.
Lyuba Lulko


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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov