“Discipline” at issue with debate regarding Marine urination video. What happens to accountability and discipline when combat veterans return home with a diagnosis of PTSD?

by | Jan 15, 2012

All you have to do is read my book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story, or Dr. Edward Tick’s War and the Soul along with many other historical records to know that war is horrific!  Terrible things happen to men and women in combat.  Our human instincts are compromised, our moral compass gets out of balance, our soul “leaves the body.”  Combat veterans often find anger is a way to release the emotions that build up as a result of combat.  These are all highly recognized as symptoms of PTSD behavior.  While Marines are highly disciplined and live within a “command control” structure, there is still a high risk of acting out to relieve the pressures of combat and the terrible and inhuman experiences of the young men in this case.  What is worse, urinating on dead bodies in war, or going home without treatment for PTSD and acting out against your family and neighbors?  Having said this, the Marines who participated in this act know they made a mistake and will be disciplined.  But in my view, the act itself is not criminal nor worse than what potentially befalls our heroes when they return home and attempt to transition back into civilian life.  The Marine urination video surfaced and reminds us all of how critical it is to think first before we act, especially in today’s world of Internet access anytime and anywhere.  Although it is clear to me that these young Marines will probably be held accountable following an investigation into this event, my hope is they will be given the benefit of a mental disposition evaluation and help, including a lessons learned action plan to minimize the risk of this sort of unacceptable behavior happening again.  We have to maintain very high standards of discipline in the military at all times.

Steve Sparks
Reconciliation, A Son’s Story

About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
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