Thursday, August 18, 2005

Why I Hate War

As you may know I have been against this psuedo war in Iraq since its beginning (something about building a case on lies and/or poor intelligence does that to me) and I am pleased to see most of America coming to the same conclusion (it is about time). It is my belief that war, especially wars such as this and Vietnam, claim numerous victims, most of which do not die on the field of battle. It counts as victims those innocent bystanders in a war-zone, as well as the families of those that see combat.

Most appalling is the fact that there is no victor in war. There are only losers of differing degrees. Those that come home with medals on their chests will never be the same again. They will relive horrors no 19 year old should see in their dreams night after night. They will come home trained killers, attempting to live a normal suburban 9-5 life, while trying to regain an innocence lost. My heart breaks for the innocent Iraqi families brutalized by Hussein for 25 years watching their homeland turn to rubble and for the young American killing machines attempting to forget the horrors they have witnessed in the name of safety, security and "freedom."

In light of this, I bring you this quote from a Rolling Stone article on a young Marine who, upon returning from Iraq, used his superior training to hunt down and kill a few police officers in California. The article is frightenly biased and deals with assumptions as well as facts. However, this quote is alarmingly truthful and well stated regarding what happens to a young soldier in training (some of you will say it is worth it, I cannot agree)...

By the time Raya got to Iraq, in February 2004, the Marines had invested scores of hours in teaching him how to kill other human beings and desensitizing him to the act. The military now excels at overriding the nearly immutable human instinct against intraspecies killing: In World War II, at least seventy-five percent of American soldiers under fire did not shoot their weapons; today, nearly ninety-five percent do. Five decades of military research has produced photo-realistic targets, complex and visceral virtual-reality scenarios, three-dimensional human mannequins that bleed and fall, and exercises in which live humans believably die when hit by simulated ammunition. Recruits kill in this way many hundreds of times, until destroying a manifestly fragile human form becomes automatic and affectless and associated with honor. They never have to label their marks humans or people or soldiers or even them. They shoot at targets or positions or hostile fire or the enemy. They are not killing; they are not even shooting: They are attriting,suppressing, returning, engaging.


Deborah White said...

Perfectly stated, Rick. We know a family whose early 20s son has been called for his third tour of duty in Iraq. He leaves next week.

His life, his personality, his perspective, his mental health has been forever damaged. The family is heartbroken and feels helpless. It's easy to understand why he now has drinking problems.....his family has no clue how to help him.

Eric said...

While we live in the wake of wars benefits (and there are benefits), we also live in the wake of its horrors (and these almost always are easier and quicker to find). No one (at least I hope) thinks any war of any time is great. There are costs that we cannot measure with the higher math tabulating billions, trillions, or whatever dollar amount that is currently being advocated. The reality is that we would all like to get along.

I have only a small hope of that right now, but neither did I have a genuine sense of that in prior decades...more of a growing storm that would eventually effect us here.

Thanks, Rick, for pointing me to the RS article. It is crazy that we use the same training that is now available as entertainment for youth. In the vietnam era it was TV/videos used to desensitize, now it is HD video games, simulations, etc. Anyway, while we still do not agree on all facets of this war and previous wars, we do agree that there are horrible realities to any war and that losing a war rarely advances a society.