Soldiers and War

I get a bit tired of TED talks – they are getting a bit same old same old but here’s one that is really important – writer and war correspondent Sebastian Junger, he who survived Rostrepo in Afganistan, on why soldiers miss war.

As he says, nobody in their right mind would want to be in a war zone, yet most of us watch and enjoy war movies, and bookshops are full of accounts of war. I am a vegetarian because I hate violence against animals, yet one of my favourite books is Cross of Steel by Ernst Junger, and Das Boot is one of my favourite films.

Why the appeal?

More than that, why is it that soldiers come back from war zones and find they miss it?

This is crazy, but all too common. As he says, if we cannot understand why men miss the war, then we have no hope of ever stopping the carnage. This is not from some hand-wringing liberal. Look at Junger: like his friend the late photographer Tim Hetherington, he has been there. He is speaking calmly, yet he cannot seem to stand still. He knows what he is talking about, and we really need to listen to him. More – our leaders need to hear this. And to act on it.

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