185) The Immorality of War

November 1, 2007

El Milagro: I have to wait for about 10 minutes today, after walking in and walking completely around the perimeter of the place and finding no empty chairs. Hum. Must be they’re not ready for me yet. I go back out to the weighting room and sit in a chair along with the other eight people. Soon Gabe the Tech calls me in and I’m in the far corner. I sit and Gladys the Tech is already there fiddling with machine. She asks my weight, figures the figures and pokes me with her long slender fingers that always remind me of some teacher or nurse out of the depths of my memories of childhood… there is something about those fingers… I ask her to send Phyllis over before she leaves for the day.

So, pretty soon Phyllis the Nurse comes over and listens to me and checks my FACE for puffiness. I have a Fine Face today. I ask her to explain the whole deal about another round of Hep B shots. She reports to me in her usual evolution of history format: Most people on dialysis do not keep their immunity to Hep B because of the nature of their depressed immune systems. So, mostly they have to have two rounds of the shots over about two years in order to be safe… although, “there are no Hep B patients in any Austin facilities except one of Moncrief’s. They put them all together now. In the old days… blah blah blah…” and dialysis patients get a 40 ml slug which is way more than non-dialysis people get. The score of 5 is lower than the level that is “immune” from Hep B... the immune level score is 10 or greater… and Phyllis thinks it is pretty normal for someone like me to have to have two rounds, since most dialysis people do. Has nothing to do with anything but the norm… in other words I am in the Bell part of the curve. I tell her to tell Ms. Celeste to poke me a shot today. Phyllis comments on my account of trying to talk to Celeste in a way that makes me realize that the problem is not totally mine.

So today I’m listening to a report on NPR-ATC about Paul Tibbets* dying at 92. Anyone remember this guy? I do. I read about him on and off throughout my life becau
se I always thought the part he played in the evolution of war was quite interesting. He was the pilot of the Enola Gay in 1945 that dropped the first A Bomb and blew the poop outa Hiroshima. He always maintained, in response to folks who said using the bomb was “immoral”, that that argument was ridiculous… “All war is immoral so you can’t select out one act as more immoral.” He claimed too that he was no different than anyone else in that war… following orders. He’s no more guilty of immorality than any one person on any side who follows orders. Only on the grandest level do any of these folks fight for their national values. On the personal level most soldiers wrestle with their personal values versus following orders, I suspect.

I remember counseling with an Air Force pilot once in therapy. He felt terribly guilty about doing his job bombing villages and “military targets” in North Viet Nam and knowing that he was inevitably killing civilians and people who were not part of the “enemy”. He couldn’t access those memories of flying without bringing up nauseous and emotionally distressing feelings. We taught him how to think of these things without ‘associating’ into the memories so he could access them without the associated feelings (called dissociation). When he associated into the memories, he remembered them as if he was actually there, seeing and feeling what he saw and felt then. By learning to dissociate the memories, he was able to see them from a perspective outside the memory, which allowed him the ability (distance) to view them from a neutral point of view. The advantage of using dissociative thinking is to review memories and label them from your present knowledge rather than having to have the old feelings attached whenever you bring up the memory. The client thought this was a wonderful change in that now he can think of those times and put his current perspective on them, which is more like remembering that he was following orders and that in the long run he was not responsible for his actions personally. For him, this was a good reframe that was only possible once he could access the memories in a more neutral way.**

At 7 I watch Survivor and they put the two tribes together tonight which gives my guy more of a chance to survive. Gray’s Anatomy is the usual fluff and Gladys unhooks me in time for me to rush home to see Without A Trace. Another Thursday TV nite completed.

Notes: In at 74.7 and out at 72.4 kgs.
* Siegal, R., & Block, M. Pilot of Enola Gay had no regrets for Hiroshima. Retrieved online November 2007 from the NPR website: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15858203
** Lee Lady. Mental imagery: Association and dissociation. Retrieved online November 2007 from http://www2.hawaii.edu/~lady/archive/submod-3.html

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1 comment:

cheryl martin said...

I have to see Without A Trace on Thursdays (been following it since it started) and Cold Case on Sunday nights...my favorite shows. Have you seen Cold Case? I have cried at the end of every one of the stories since I started watching it.....the case is solved, there's always good "old" music playing, nobody's talking, and the dead always appear with a look of peace on their faces....it does it to me everytime!!! On a happier note.... Yea! Go Kick Kats and star Shayna!!! your cheryl