Many of the military's young soldiers, members of the PlayStation generation, spend much of their downtime each week playing games. As the military sees it, they might as well be playing games that hone their skills. ''When a soldier is off-duty,'' Cummings said, ''he's going to go back to his barracks, and he's going to play Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. What if I give him a simulation instead?''
Kilner and a number of observers inside and outside the Army worry that the high rate of closeup killing in Iraq has the potential to traumatize a new generation of veterans. Worse, they say, the Army and the Department of Veterans Affairs avoid thinking or talking about it. Although both organizations have produced reams of studies on every other aspect of combat trauma—grief, survivor’s guilt, fear, and so on—the aftereffects of taking an enemy’s life are almost never studied.
This past Tuesday, August 17th, four members of the New Hampshire Air National Guard returned from deployment in Iraq. . . .