The British army’s most senior clergyman has lamented his participation in the military invasion of Iraq, saying mental scars from the war zone have left him in “the valley of the shadow of death” for years even after returning from the Arab country.
Clinton Langston made the revelation in a report published by the Daily Mail on Saturday as more than 10,000 British troops involved in the Iraq war have been discharged due to mental health problems over the past 20 years.
Official figures show that another 500 quit last year after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and other disorders.
“I have remained, as have so many of our soldiers, in the valley of the shadow of death – a place of utter desolation where our shadows yearn to feel and love and live again but where our families find only the shell of who we were,” Langston said.
The senior clergyman said he became “sick with fear” after writing letters to his wife and children that were to be opened in the event of his death during a six-month deployment in 2004.
“I returned home six months later. Both the immediate days after and the years since have been dominated by my inability to dial my emotions back up,” he underlined.
Langston added that “this experience of trauma and halting recovery is shared by countless people beyond the military, who have faced physical or emotional trauma, who feel condemned to a lifeless existence as they seek to numb the pain of what is and what might be, but maybe, as we turn in to this New Year, we can all find ways to reconnect and to escape the tombs and shrouds that imprison us, holding once more the hands that want us to live again.”