Noncombatant military personnel do not engage in direct combat with the enemy during war, but they still face trauma that elevates their risk for developing combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Noncombatants’ trauma exposure may actually put them at GREATER risk of developing PTSD than their counterparts on the front lines. While they are less likely to engage in direct contact with the enemy, they are still exposed to potentially traumatic events including mortar and rocket attacks, transporting and treating severely wounded soldiers, and processing human remains.

On Martin Luther King Day, we were reminded that the military is now racially integrated, but it can still be stressful to be a gay soldier in the closet, whether or not you’re sitting at a desk or fighting in the field. In the January 8th issue of the Spectator, Geoffrey Wheatcroft writes, "While the Americans made such heavy weather of it, the whole row over ‘gays in the military’ always seemed puzzling to an Englishman. Some of the smartest regiments in the British Army were traditionally queer. One of the smartest was the Oxford and Buchkinghamshire Light Infantry, which (one of his friends) joined because it had such a pretty uniform, including a double Sam Browne, whatever that may be. Another wartime unit, entirely officered by aesthetes, was informally known as the Monstrous Regiment of Gentlemen. And years later (after a minor royal was mugged), Evelyn Waugh wrote to a friend suggesting that eminent widows should be protected by ‘a Praetorian Guard of Pansies 9we know from the war how brave they are).’"

In the same issue of the magazine, in the regular column "Ancient and Modern," Peter Jones uses Roman history to remind of us why we’re losing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He writes, "When they moved into places like the Greek East, they were dealing with cultures that were largely urbanized. Administrative structures were in place to handle governance and taxation, and an elite ran the show. Romans could convince the elites it was to their advantage to be under light Roman control. But tribal northern Europe was a different kettle of dormice. The problem was that territories requiring a constant military presence could never, by definition, be handed over to the locals to run. That meant they were ungovernable in the long term." Sound familiar?

In Whitley’s Room, just for subscribers, there are now several short (15 min.) discussions by Whitley Strieber on bible verses. In one of these, Whitley talks about how the Romans saw Jesus, and uses the gospels and his deep knowledge of Roman history to explain what Jesus meant to them and why they executed him, and why they did it in the precise way that they did.

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