TED TALK – WHAT COMES AFTER WAR?
Sebastian Junger has seen war up close, and he knows the impact that battlefield trauma has on soldiers. But he suggests there’s another major cause of pain for veterans when they come home: the experience of leaving the tribal closeness of the military and returning to an alienating and bitterly divided modern society. “Sometimes, we ask ourselves if we can save the vets,” Junger says. “I think the real question is if we can save ourselves.”
Sebastian Junger thundered onto the media landscape with his non-fiction book, The Perfect Storm. A correspondent for Vanity Fair and ABC News, Junger has covered stories all across the globe, igniting a new interest in non-fiction. One of his main interests: war.
From 2007 to 2008, Junger and photographer Tim Hetherington embedded with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team in Afghanistan. They spent intensive time with the soldiers at the Restrepo outpost in the Korengal Valley, which saw more combat than any other part of Afghanistan. The experience became Junger’s book WAR, and the documentary “Restrepo,” which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2011.
Junger and Hetherington planned to make a second documentary on the topic, “Korengal,” meant to help soldiers and civilians alike understand the fear, courage and complexity involved in combat. It’s a project that Junger decided to carry on after Hetherington was killed in Libya while covering the civil war there. Junger self-financed and released the film.