The hardest part, Kudo says, is that "nobody talks about it."Nobody talks about the wounds except when they do talk about it ... and it doesn't do a damned bit of good.
"You may not have actually done something wrong by the law of war, but by your own humanity you feel that it's wrong," says Ritchie, now chief clinical officer at the District of Columbia's Department of Mental Health.
|Former Marine Capt. Timothy Kudo|
"I can't forgive myself," he says. "And the people who can forgive me are dead."And for those who claim to care and the ones who created and sustained the conflicts in which such humanity was wounded, there is a constant scramble to bring 'meaning' and justification to the conflicts. There are 'heroes' ... as if that might ease the pain or diminish the responsibility of those most culpable.
"It's far too easy for people at home, particularly those not directly affected by war ... to shed a disingenuous tear for the veterans, donate a few bucks and whisk them off to the closest shrink ... out of sight and out of mind" and leaving "no incentive in the community or in the household to engage them."Write me off as a comsymp, pussy liberal if you like, but I find such wounds unconscionable and vile. As these men and women are stuck in a seemingly endless cycle of pain, so too I am stuck because I am responsible and I have no adequate way to say I am sorry or atone. How I wish I could take back the pain my country has inflicted ... to somehow relieve them of the sanctimonious excuses that seek to blunt or forgive or explain the blatant horror of their lives. It is heinous and I am responsible. Saying otherwise is just an oleaginous cowardice: 'Heroes' my ass! Flags, my ass! Parades and pride, my ass! Victory, my ass! I am left sputtering in toxic frustration ... take all that shit and go fuck yourself!
The fact is that I have no way to say how sorry I am.
But I am so sorry.