Judge McCarroll: "How about it, Matthew? Are you willing to go through the program that they have up there (on the base)?"
Keddy: "I just want to go home."
Judge McCarroll: "Home with your parents, you mean?"
Keddy: "Yeah. You send me up there, I'm going to go nuts. [...] "They say they're going to help me, but they don't help me. They don't care."
Out of the twelve peacekeeping veterans I interviewed for my book, more than half admitted to experiencing some form of psychological effect from the mission. One is still unable to sleep, night after night, more than 15 years after finishing his six-month tour in Yugoslavia. Others had drinking problems, issues with controlling their rage, problems holding down jobs or returning to and finishing school. (None, as far as I know, ran into problems with the law.)
The psychological stress and injury of combat is real, it is serious, and it is inevitable. I don't know enough about the military's current strategy for dealing with PTSD, and most first-hand opinions I've come across suggest that it is improving. But it is obviously inadequate.
It's time to stop letting PTSD get swept under the rug and demand accountability from our politicians and our military, for the good of our society and for the good of every soldier we ask to protect it.