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Among You: The Extraordinary True Story of a Soldier Broken By War Among You: The Extraordinary True Story of a Soldier Broken By War by Jake Wood
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“...my ability to trust had been shattered into splinters, its fragmented shards slicing through every darkened recess of my mind, his absolution won my over all the more.”
Jake Wood, Among You: The Extraordinary True Story of a Soldier Broken By War
“We were not told how Alexander the Great was the last person in history to successfully 'pacify' what would become Afghanistan, over 2,000 years ago.”
Jake Wood, Among You: The Extraordinary True Story of a Soldier Broken By War
“Failure is another emotion I cannot stand to feel, because in adult life I have conditioned myself not to fail at anything. Failure takes me straight back to the feelings of worthlessness I grew up with as a stammering, reclusive little boy.”
Jake Wood , Among You: The Extraordinary True Story of a Soldier Broken By War
“You are no longer human, with all those depths and highs and nuances of emotion that define you as a person.
There is no feeling any more, because to feel any emotion would also be to beckon the overwhelming blackness from you. My mind has now locked all this down. And without any control of this self-defence mechanism my subconscious has operated. I do not feel any more.”
Jake Wood, Among You: The Extraordinary True Story of a Soldier Broken By War
“my mind struggled top condense all that had led to me being here. My vocal cords fought to express the memories that leaked out; I felt the weight of it all pressing down on me.”
Jake Wood, Among You: The Extraordinary True Story of a Soldier Broken By War
“I was not descending in a plane, coming Home.
I was watching an alien world as it ascended towards me - and one that I could never begin the process of readjusting to, because I knew that I would just as soon be returning to another world, whose normality was as alien to this home as I now was.”
Jake Wood, Among You: The Extraordinary True Story of a Soldier Broken By War
“But as much as this is a soldier's reason d'etre, it is not often that you hear a soldier explicitly talk about 'killing'. The k-word as a verb is instead often disguised and supplanted by any number of other euphemisms. In precise and technical military parlance, reflecting the ever more precise and technically removed means of killing, the 'enemy' becomes the 'target'. But for the soldiers who personally 'engage' these 'targets', these objects are colloquially 'slotted', 'dropped', 'hit', 'fragged', 'sawn in half', 'smashed' or just plain 'shot'.
Then the soldier will have achieved the noun of a 'kill'.
The author's supposition is that such words are used by the soldier in combat as an attempt to mentally dissociate himself from the reality of his actions, so he can continue to operate as a soldier - and perhaps, when all is finally said and done, as a human being back home.”
Jake Wood, Among You: The Extraordinary True Story of a Soldier Broken By War
“Much, much later. when I am back home and being treated for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I will be enabled to see what was going on in my mind immediately after 11 August.

I am still capable of operating mechanically as a soldier in these following days. But operating mechanically as a soldier is now all I am capable of.

Martin says he is worried about me. He says I have the thousand-yard stare'.

Of course, I cannot see this stare. But by now we both have more than an idea what it means.

So, among all the soldiers here, this is nothing to be ashamed of. But as it really does just go with the territory we find ourselves in. it is just as equally not a badge of honour.

Martin is seasoned enough to never even think this. but I know of young men back home, sitting in front of war films and war games, who idolise this condition as some kind of mark of a true warrior. But from where I sit, if indeed I do have this stare, this pathetically naive thinking is a crock of shit. Because only some pathetically naive soul who had never felt this nothingness would say something so fucking dumb.

You are no longer human, with all those depths and highs and nuances of emotion that define you as a person.
There is no feeling any more, because to feel any emotion would also be to beckon the overwhelming blackness from you. My mind has now locked all this down. And without any control of this self-defence mechanism my subconscious has operated. I do not feel any more.

But when I close my eyes. I see the dead Taliban looking into this blackness. And I see the Afghan soldier's face staring into it, singing gently as he slips into another world. And I see Dave Hicks's face. shaking gently as he tries to stay awake in this one.

With this, I lift myself up, sitting foetal and hugging my knees on my sleeping mat.”
Jake Wood, Among You: The Extraordinary True Story of a Soldier Broken By War
“I do not think the long-range bullets I fire provide the mark of a man; I am only dimly aware that they are dehumanising me.
They are my opium tto see me through my time here. But with each hit they give, they only provide a feeling respite from the past I cannot escape from and thre present I have chosen to mire myself in. And, grounded as I am in the reality of this hill, I do not yet fully appreciate how this addiction is infecting my future with malediction.
With this clinical, psychopathically detached behaviour considered as normal, proper and expected on this hall, I cannot yet stop to think - because I cannot allow myself to here - of how hese respites may be blackening my soul in all the time I will have left on my own back Home - should I even live through the remainder of my months here, in some other corner of this Hell of a country.”
Jake Wood, Among You: The Extraordinary True Story of a Soldier Broken By War
“I feel no emotional connection to these outwardly human gestures.
I am not there, because I never left Afghanistan.”
Jake Wood, Among You: The Extraordinary True Story of a Soldier Broken By War
“By not burning their poppy fields to the ground but instead maintaining a security umbrella that international development agencies could safely work under as they improved these ordinary people's lives, we would win their 'hearts and minds' in the classic manifestation of a successful counter-insutgency operation.
[...]
Maybe our Western values world somebe instilled in these people. But in country where the average life expectancy was 42 and with the price of that life coming in contrasting cheap at $10 plus the bonus of martyrdom, or alien values might just as equally not be snapped up.”
Jake Wood, Among You: The Extraordinary True Story of a Soldier Broken By War
“I find that I cannot be in the here and now.”
Jake Wood, Among You: The Extraordinary True Story of a Soldier Broken By War
“My family says they are proud of me. Of course, I would rather hear this than the contrary, but I cannot say that I am proud of myself, so I find that I cannot 'talk about it'.”
Jake Wood, Among You: The Extraordinary True Story of a Soldier Broken By War
“My mother describes me as 'a real hero . . . just like your grandfather'. But I do not know what to do with this accolade for her son, other than let her have moment, or it helps her back here.”
Jake Wood, Among You: The Extraordinary True Story of a Soldier Broken By War