By the early 1950s, US Army basic training sought to lay down reflex pathways that bypassed the inhibitions, by training soldiers to snap-shoot at human-shaped targets that only appeared for a few seconds. They also addressed the problem directly, psyching their young soldiers up until they believed that they actually wanted to kill. It worked: By the time of the Vietnam War, 90 per cent of American infantry were firing their weapons in combat AND TRYING TO KILL THEIR TARGETS. Other Western armies adopted the same training techniques, with equally impressive results. But there is a nobvious psychological price to be paid for all this, or so it seemed.
The Vietnam War in the 1960s was when the incidence of PTSD among American veterans began to soar. They had been tricked into doing something that was morally abhorrent to them, and that was why so many of them fell apart afterwards.
Veterans of earlier wars had suffered higher-than-average levels of alcoholism, depression and suicide, but that was nothing to compare with the PTSD plague that infected the new generation of veterans. The psychological manipulation they had been subjected to seemed to be the key—but then along comes this statistic saying that American soldiers are seven times more likely to suffer from PTSD than British soldiers.