|Lawmakers with no Combat Experience are Too Ready for War, Vet Says|
|News Releases - Military & Veterans News|
|Written by Ginny Grimsley|
|Thursday, 17 January 2013 09:07|
Former Marine Platoon Commander Notes 2013 Congress has
Least Active-Duty Veterans Since WWII
The U.S. military invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and has been there ever since; in fact, the government started and ended another long and costly campaign in Iraq within that period. All the fighting, dying, loss of limbs, family absences, stress and resulting post-traumatic stress disorder, alcoholism, homelessness and suicide have been experienced by less than 1 percent of the population – combat veterans.
“Everyone says they can only imagine the hell of war, and it’s true; if you haven’t been in combat, you just don’t know what it is like,” says Ord Elliott, a former platoon commander with the Marines and author of The Warrior’s Silence (www.ordelliott.com). The memoir, written over several decades, recounts the transformative experience of combat in Vietnam and how it informed his emerging understanding of war as a young man.
“The problem has gotten worse because the number of active-duty veterans in the U.S. Congress has been declining for nearly four decades,” Elliott says. “This year’s 113th Congress will have the fewest since World War II – just 19 percent of the 535 House and Senate members.”
Elliott says he had no particular purpose in mind when he wrote down his memories and impressions of war, and the pages sat in the back of my closet for years – until the drums of war started up once again for the Middle East.
“I knew more young people would be used as cannon fodder for an unnecessary war, voted on by old politicians with nothing to lose. That’s when I knew my writing could be used for something.”
Much of his reader feedback addresses the apparent indifference by politicians to the suffering that will be endured by troops when the nation goes to war, says Elliott, a Princeton graduate. He says many feel thatThe Warrior’s Silence – in the tradition of Karl Marlantes’ Matterhorn and Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead – should be required reading for any politician pushing for a war vote. Several passages in Elliott’s book detail the heavy toll of war:
About Ord Elliott
Ord Elliott was a Marine Rifle Platoon Commander in Vietnam, and he is a Princeton graduate. He went on to build a successful career in management consulting. He is also the author of a book on organization design, The Future Is Fluid Form: Practical Steps for Designing Flat, Flexible Organizations.
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