13 March 2013
Internal Scars: An Affliction of Militarization
In the song “Battle Scars,” artists Lupe Fiasco and Guy Sebastian address the difficulties encountered every day by the men and women enlisted, commissioned, or discharged from the United States military. Fiasco and Sebastian hide their message in plain sight, cleverly disguised as a metaphorical love song. Despite the song’s apparent theme of the difficulties of love, the true message is an expression of the difficulties faced by the members of the United States armed forces. The difficulties are many, but the most significant is the intense stress that accompanies simply having been a part of the militarized organizations, from post-traumatic stress to the stress of transition to the civilized world.
In most cases, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) will be prevalent in people who have experienced some extreme sort of traumatic event, like combat, something life-threatening, or even rape. In the hook of “Battle Scars,” between lines five and eight, Sebastian describes pretty accurately the way that these events have a lasting impact on a person: “These battle scars don’t look like they’re fading/ Don’t’ look like they’re ever going away/ They ain’t never gonna change.” This is the way that many men and women feel after experiencing such an event while part of the armed forces. PTSD has been a serious issue within the troops since wars have been fought by Americans.
Before the war in Vietnam, PTSD was simply written off as “shell shock” or “battle fatigue,” and not considered a serious health issue. However, in a study conducted in 2004 by the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, it was found that 25,000 veterans were receiving disability compensation for PTSD symptoms. This means that almost one out of every twenty World War II veterans suffered from PTSD, which at the time, was not of concern to the nation. Statistics were even higher for veterans of the war in...