When the Adrenaline Hits
by James Glaser
Being a combat vet leaves you with some ingrained beliefs to overcome. When the adrenaline hits, you want to strike back. The Marine Corps taught me many things. Combat taught me to think before I act and gave me patience.
When the World Trade Center got hit, my first reaction was to strike out. That is why our bodies produce adrenaline, so that as a defense mechanism we have the extra energy needed to either fight or run. When you are attacked personally, this quick fight or flight response can save your life.
But we also have time to let the adrenaline run its course and have our minds take over and let patience lead the way so that we can make the best response. When one is under personal attack, there isn't time to study what would be best. One must preserve his life, and past successful responses are the best course of action. That is the crux of Marine Corps training. The Marines train their men to respond to attack with the proven methods learned over many battles, and it works.
Those first couple of days after those planes hit the WTC and the Pentagon, I knew that our leaders were just letting the adrenaline out when they started to talk about war. It’s part of the culture to express a certain amount of bravado, which I knew would pass, and with patience our leaders would see that we were just playing into the hands of the people who killed so many of our own.
I was wrong. It looks like those first brash expressions of what our leaders think is manly or maybe how they think a warrior would respond, are going to determine our reaction to these heinous acts.
I think President Bush is right when he says, “this is a act of war,” and therefore I don't call this “terrorism”. If we call these acts “terrorism”, then what we as a nation have been doing in Iraq, the Balkans, and with our tacit approval what Israel has been doing, makes our nation a terrorist state also.
We are supposed to be a nation of laws. We didn’t, until now, publicly convict someone without a trial. Are we now going to throw away 200 years of the rule of law because the leaders couldn’t handle the adrenaline?
We can go to war with a few more small countries. We should be able to destroy the people of Afghanistan with bombs from above, and hit the people of a few other countries. We will then be able to pound our chests and feel good for a while, but many more Americans will be killed in the long run, and next time it will probably be more spread out. This time it was commerce and the war department. I’m reminded of our hitting water treatment and power plants in Iraq. We taught these people well.
We still have to answer these questions. Why 19 people get together and commit this act of war on us and give their lives in the process? Where does this much hate come from? Here is the question that our government and media refuse to even look at. What could we have done to bring this act of revenge to our shores?
These people didn't kill over 5000 Americans to start a war. This war has been going on for years. Our government just hasn't told us about it until now.
Jim Glaser [send him mail] is a Vietnam vet and a volunteer in veterans hospitals.
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