Joys of War, From The Foreign Legion, the SAS and into Hell With PTSD

This is a very important book at many levels and deserves a wide readership, not least because it deals with aspects of war that we often chose to ignore. The story of the author’s extraordinary military experiences is covered warts and all, as is his struggle to adjust to life beyond the military. – Much Recommended

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NAME: Joys of War, From The Foreign Legion, the SAS and into Hell With PTSD
FILE: R2785
AUTHOR: John-Paul Jordan
PUBLISHER: Pen and Sword
BINDING: hard back 
PAGES: 134
PRICE: £19.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: French Foreign Legion, SAS, private security forces, independent 
contractors, civil war, asymmetric war, Middle East, veteran support, PTSD, demob

ISBN: 1-52674-314-0

IMAGE: B2785.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/y8hofcot
LINKS:  
DESCRIPTION:  This is a very important book at many levels and deserves 
a wide readership, not least because it deals with aspects of war that we often 
chose to ignore.  The story of the author's extraordinary military experiences is 
covered warts and all, as is his struggle to adjust to life beyond the military. - 
Much Recommended

It has become fashionable to wring hands and talk about the futility of war and how no one likes
combat. It has become equally fashionable to cross to the other side of the street and avoid looking at 
the serious lack of support for veterans trying to adjust to civilian life. The author tells it the way it 
was for him and the way it is for most soldiers and veterans.

For the young man there is an attraction to war. For millennia, armies have been built of young men 
who are still developing into adulthood, the brain still forming and poor judgement a frequent challenge. 
The romance of uniform, the opportunity to play with expensive and murderous toys, is overwhelming. 
Once in uniform and going to war, the expectations have to adjust to the reality. For most young people, 
men and women in uniform, war is a mixture of short periods of excitement and terror, a guilty feeling 
of enjoyment and satisfaction in reaching goals by killing other young people, interspersed with long 
periods of boredom and frustration, often in an environment of hardship. In battle, soldiers learn to 
depend on their comrades in an intensity that civilians will never fully understand. Life is experienced 
in full colour and a return to civilian life can often be in monochrome.

The author would be described by some as a soldier of fortune, beginning with his service in the French
 Foreign Legion, his service with the SAS, as a civilian contractor in Iraq and a guide to journalists in the
 Libyan civil war. The common denominator was that each was in its own way a Special Force of elite 
soldiers. That produces an intense experience on a level beyond what an average soldier would be 
exposed to. There is a culture of achieving objectives at any price and a very close bonding of comrades. 
These experiences are graphically described and supported by a full colour photo-plate section that is 
very interesting.

The author then describes his experiences of returning to civilian life and the hell of PTSD. The 
experiences he describes here are new only in that they have a specific name. Every generation of 
soldiers has experienced the same pain and challenges of making the considerable change to civilian 
life. Politicians have a long and dishonourable history of choosing to ignore this because it requires 
money and also an acknowledgement of the failures of politicians. Through British history, the 
military has been ignored in peacetime but expected to rise to the challenges of wars that result from 
political failure and to risk their lives to make up for shortages that should never have been. For a
soldier who has also served in a foreign army and/or in a private contractor army, there is a further gulf.

It may be true that a soldier always experiences something of what we now refer to as PTSD and it
may also be true that no soldier ever fully recovers. In the past we have tended to regard the most 
extreme cases as cowards and failures but this is frankly most unfair. War requires the code followed 
in peace by civilians to be modified or put to one side. That changes every soldier, including those 
who never actually make it to the battlefield, because every soldier receives training to enable him or 
her to cope under fire and fully support comrades.

Once returned to civilian life, a soldier often finds himself cut adrift without any effective support 
through the transition and cut off from the comrades he knew previously to an intensity that does not 
exist in civilian life in peacetime. The author has described how he was affected, and how he came to 
deal with the challenges. This is a poignant story that must be read. Whatever any of us might feel 
about war, it is a fact of human life. The next war is just around the corner and it is always different 
from the war we prepare for. The common component is that war eventually ends and most soldiers 
are still young when they are cast back into civilian life. Society owes a debt that requires them to be 
supported and aided in the transition to becoming once more civilians when they frequently find there 
is no one to talk to who really understands what their military life has been like.