Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Me and Hafftka on the HuffPo

I forgot to publish this here today.

This is a beautiful piece curated by my friends Michael and Yonat Hafftka featuring Michael's art riffing off of text excerpts from my book on Operation Urgent Fury.

I put this up on Facebook, but I forgot to post it here. 

I will figure out how to publish to all of these platforms eventually.

My book is all but done. I thank you all for waiting so long. 

I first wrote it in 1991, after I resigned from DEA. It started out very differently. It was originally the opening chapters of a larger book that was mostly about the drug war in South America.

That book comes next. Much of it, maybe 90% of it, is already done. I need to get some photographs out of storage to illustrate it. I have some wicked photos to go along with it.

At some point I realized that the chapters about Urgent Fury were actually a book all to themselves, so I reworked them and I polished the narrative and I wove a tapestry that ended up being a very weird book about war. 

It is also a book about PTSD, though I do not come right out and say that acronym. I barely heard the expression "PTSD" at the time that I wrote the early drafts, but over decades I realized that the disorder, as it is understood by modern psychiatry, was a fundamental influence on the writing.

As I stated on Facebook and on SOCNET for years, I do not consider PTSD a "disorder." Modern psychiatry considers it a disorder because it compares survivors of trauma with a civilian baseline. Anyone that knows a combat soldier knows that we are different from civilians.

What PTSD is, in my opinion, is a nervous system adaptation, an evolutionary modification by the human animal in response to traumatic stress. You see similar manifestations, or symptoms, in survivors of car wrecks, or survivors of house fires, or survivors of street violence. You see symptoms of PTSD in survivors of domestic violence. Soldiers hold no monopoly on it.

But thanks to the VA, we now possess a vast literature on PTSD, mostly addressing the ways that it affects veterans of American wars.

I will talk more about this soon.


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