Small Wars Journal

Special Forces Face Down Impacts of War on Terror

Special Forces Face Down Impacts of War on Terror by Jack Detsch – Al-Monitor

The Pentagon’s Special Operations Command — known as SOCOM — is looking into how brain trauma from the 17-year war on terror in the Middle East has impacted elite US troops.

First led by former SOCOM chief, Gen. Tony Thomas, the command is examining whether trauma suffered by special operators, including brain fatigue and abnormalities in the visual cortex, impact the ability of elite troops to make snap decisions in the field.

The program includes an eight-year effort by the US Army’s Special Operations Command to conduct neurological testing on its troops, supported by the National Football League and the University of North Carolina, to establish a baseline to treat mild traumatic brain injuries, according to military officials and documents reviewed by Al-Monitor

Read on.


From the perspective I offer in my initial comment below, such matters as "how brain trauma from the 17-year war on terror in the Middle East has impacted elite US troops," this must be viewed:

a.  Less from a "war on terror" point of view and

b.  More from the perspective of the U.S./the West's (failed?) grand post-Cold War political objective, to wit: our (failed?) effort to: 

(1) Transform the ways of life, the ways of governance, the values, etc., of -- not only of other states and societies but of our own states and societies also -- and, this,

(2) So as to better provide for and better benefit from such things as globalization and the global economy. 

(It is, after all, from the perspective of those that chose to oppose, resist and fight back against our such grand transformative initiatives -- and not as it were from the perspective of only one of their opposition "tactics" [terrorism] -- that we might best view and understand both [a] this "war" and [b] "how brain trauma impacted elite US troops" therein?") 

Bottom Line Question -- Based on the Above: 

With the Brexit and the election of President Trump, the U.S./the West would now seem to have: 

a.  Formally abandoned its such grand post-Cold War "transformative" political objective: 

British Prime Minister Theresa May:

“It is in our interests – those of Britain and America together – to stand strong together to defend our values, our interests and the very ideas in which we believe,” she said.

"This cannot mean a return to the failed policies of the past. The days of Britain and America intervening in sovereign countries in an attempt to remake the world in our own image are over.”

U.S. President Donald Trump:

"We do not expect diverse countries to share the same cultures, traditions, or even systems of government, but we do expect all nations to uphold these two core sovereign duties: to respect the interests of their own people and the rights of every other sovereign nation.”

“Strong sovereign nations let diverse countries with different values, different cultures, and different dreams not just coexist, but work side by side on the basis of mutual respect.”  And, in the place of same, would now seem to have:

b.  Formally embraced the "backwards-looking"/"return to the status quo ante" ideas and approaches of certain of our enemies.

(In this regard, consider such things as [a] the similarity -- and the similar appeal -- of the "Caliphate" and the "Make America Great Again" movements and [b] the return to and embrace of the old, outdated "traditional" values, approaches and prejudices associated with same -- moves which tend to place a countries' economic competitiveness, and thus its national security today in the age of globalization, in grave jeopardy?  See my "Moral Communities or a Market State" excerpt in my initial comment below.)

This being the case, then should we consider that:

a.  With our such defeat, withdrawal and embrace of old, outdated (and thus national security compromising?) ideas and practices    

b.  These such brain injuries, received by our elite forces and others, will be less likely to be incurred?

(Or, in the alternative, will our enemies, [a] now "smelling blood," [b] "move forward" accordingly; this, [c] providing that even more of these such injuries -- and worse -- are the more likely scenario?)