Gulf War Syndrome II


Well, what do you expect when you fight a second Gulf War? Spiked's Brendan O'Neill has this interesting story outta England, where "British law firms are 'anticipating a large number of claims from servicemen returning from the Gulf?over Gulf War syndrome and friendly fire.'"

While there is still much medical doubt about the existence of GWS, the broader debate about it fits a very modern pattern for post-conflict squabbling. Every conflict now seems to be followed by its own syndrome. No war appears complete without troops threatening to sue their commanders for making them do risky things. And soldiers often claim that the experience of war has caused them everlasting stress. What's going on?

He concludes:

Today's troops have a much more individuated experience of war. They often appear more as isolated individuals at risk from syndromes and sickness, than as a collective force with a war to win. In such isolated experiences of conflict, perceptions of risk and sickness loom large in the military mind. So even as doubt is cast by some on the latest case of Gulf War syndrome, the notion that war is some kind of pathology is likely to persist.