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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Major General John Cantwell's Exit Wounds

Channel 7's Sunday Night programme featured Major General John Cantwell, a man who has served in three wars.  He was all set to get the top job of Chief-of-Army when he came home in 2011, but he had a nervous breakdown and ended up in a psychiatric hospital.

It was disturbing television, especially when he said that Australia shouldn't be in Afghanistan and we are wasting young soldier's lives on a lost cause.

He's written a book called Exit Wounds about his ordeal with the much maligned medical condition called post-traumatic stress disorder.  It's a destructive illness because it destroys not only the soldier, but the people who love him.  Medical experts estimate about 20 per cent of combat veterans will suffer some sort of emotional trauma and a few of those will be badly affected for the rest of their lives.

John Cantwell is hoping that through his book, veterans will stop feeling ashamed and put their hand up and say "I'm in trouble, I need help."

But here's the disturbing part and the bottom line - he doesn't believe the advances made in Afghanistan by allied forces justify the loss of Australian lives.  Something we suspected all along.