A military psychologist’s poignant account of tending to hidden wounds in Iraq—her patients’, her colleagues’, and finally her own.
When Lieutenant Commander Heidi Kraft’s twin son and daughter were fifteen months old, she was deployed to Iraq. A clinical psychologist in the US Navy, Kraft’s job was to uncover the wounds of war that a surgeon would never see. She put away thoughts of her children back home, acclimated to the sound of incoming rockets, and learned how to listen to the most traumatic stories a war zone has to offer.
One of the toughest lessons was perfectly articulated by the TV show M*A*S*H: “There are two rules of war. Rule number one is that young men die. Rule number two is that doctors can’t change rule number one.” Some Marines, Kraft realized, would be damaged by war in ways that she couldn’t repair. And sometimes people were repaired in ways she never expected.
Rule Number Two is a powerful firsthand account of providing comfort amid the chaos of war, and of what it takes to endure.