Monday, February 22, 2010

The Hurt Locker, PTSD and The Moon Is Down


PTSD can be accelerated when you feel constantly hated and unwanted as we are in Iraq and Afghanistan ~ and as brilliantly depicted in the film The Hurt Locker. But Steinbeck's novel The Moon Is Down fully captures the inner agony and guilt of occupation: Allen L Roland

You are badly mistaken if you don't realize that the inner agony and guilt of occupying a country or countries, which despise and hate us, can result in inner torture, guilt and agony and certainly lead to PTSD.

The Oscar nominated film, The Hurt Locker, captures this same pervasive hatred as an Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Unit goes about its risky job of defusing remote-controlled improvised explosive devices ( IED's ) in Baghdad ~ while Iraqis watch and obviously hope that the devices will explode and destroy the hated occupiers.

Is it any wonder that British soldiers have gone on the run from their posts on more than 17,000 occasions since the start of the Iraq war ? Official figures from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) show that there were more than 2,000 cases of soldiers going absent without leave (awol) last year, with 17,470 incidents recorded since the Iraq invasion in 2003.

But, if you really want to know what our troops are going through in illegally occupied Iraq and Afghanistan ~ read John Steinbeck's ' The Moon is Down ' or better yet read Paul Rockwell's poetic and moving commentary ' The Agony of Occupation / The flies have conquered the flypaper ' from Common Dreams .

Excerpt: " It is impossible to read Steinbeck's masterpiece without thinking about our own soldiers in Iraq , about their daily fear, the growing tendency for revenge, the agony of conquest.
'The Moon is Down' is not primarily about the Norwegian people, or even about the resistance. It's about the terror, the self-doubts, the slow transformation of arrogance to self-loathing, under which invaders live... 'The Moon is Down' is not about the violence; it's about the psychology of occupation. Steinbeck focuses on the inability of occupying soldiers to cope with the ingratitude of a "liberated" people. Germans trusted their leaders and expected to be greeted with flowers, not contempt. The public hatred of the occupation, not sabotage alone, destroys German morale ... When a lieutenant is upset by the hostility of the local population, his commander admonishes him: "I will not lie to you, Lieutenant. They should have trained you for this, and not for flower-strewn streets. They should have built your soul with truth, not led you along with lies. But you took the job, Lieutenant. We can't take care of your soul." The occupiers are not pacified. "Captain, is this place conquered?" "Of course," the captain replies. But the listener cracks. "Conquered and we're afraid, conquered and we're surrounded. The flies have conquered the fly paper ! "

If you want to get a feel of what American troops go through in Iraq and Afghanistan ~ watch The Hurt Locker and read Steinbeck's
The Moon is Down and realize that eventually The Flies will conquer the fly paper in both Iraq and Afghanistan and as they most certainly did in Vietnam.

Allen L Roland

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Allen L Roland is a practicing psychotherapist, author and lecturer who also shares a daily political and social commentary on his weblog and website He also guest hosts a monthly national radio show TRUTHTALK on

Freelance Alternative Press Online columnist and psychotherapist Allen L Roland is also available for comments, interviews, speaking engagements and private consultations ( )


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