I was trained like so many others to be prepared to kill our "enemies". This is all taken as so natural. In the animal kingdom killing is very natural in limited ways. Human evolution, especially social evolution, is rather poorly understood. It took me a very long time to stop from feeling "odd" because my military training did not really "take" on me. What I have learned is that I really do not like the idea of killing human beings even if someone has designated them as "enemy". I was born in 1936 and we had Hitler and Pearl harbor. Things were "cleaner" then because the enemy was pretty real to a youngster. By the time I was into my NROTC training in college in preparation for becoming a USMC officer, it had changed. Now we have reached the point where we lose as many from suicide as from combat. Why does this make a sick kind of sense to me? Because we are fighting wars for nebulous reasons at best and our methods of warfare have become rather prone to taking innocent lives along with "combatants". Probably the first real clear exposure of what thius was all about was Scott Peck's People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil Peck documented the turmoil our troops were put through as civilians became indistinguishable from combatants. There is no need to get into ideology here for the issue is the human capacity to kill in these situations. And to make it clear the individual who becomes disturbed by what goes on does not have to be the killer. Peck documented mthe very widespread collusion between those who pulled the trigger and those who felt compelled to cover for them. That was a long time ago now and we never really have dealt with it. We just keep repeating it. Killing with drones is no answer. Read on below for more.
We have slowly and reluctantly begun to recognize that there are "combat" wounds that are mental rather than physical. Two books from the Post Vietnam era tell more of the story:Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character and Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming are just some of the documentation of what wars like these do to people.
We really can not have it both ways. Either we are animals that kill to keep what is theirs or for what they want to take or the human species has evolved to a more complicated state.
So today we have this:Controlling Lucifer: How Everyone Loses the Global War on Terror He says:
The president negotiates our withdrawal from Afghanistan, proclaims mission accomplished — and the wars of the last decade continue winding down to nothing.Why is this so clear to me? Is it to you? We fight for what? Some say we fight for oil. A part truth. We more are caught in our fights because of the insane politics of our Nation.
We’ll be leaving behind an unstable country with one of the world’s highest infant mortality rates and hundreds of armed insurgent groups. We haven’t rescued or rebuilt the country or accomplished any objective that begins to justify the human and financial cost of this adventure. We just lost.
But we’re the most powerful nation on the planet. How is that possible? And, as Tom Engelhardt asks, “who exactly beat us? Where exactly is the triumphant enemy?”
He goes on, in an essay that ran this week on Common Dreams: “Did we in some bizarre fashion fight ourselves and lose? After all, last year, more American servicemen died from suicide than on the battlefield in Afghanistan; and a startling number of Americans were killed in ‘green on blue’ or ‘insider’ attacks by Afghan ‘allies’ rather than by that fragmented movement we still call the Taliban.”
Did we fight ourselves and lose? This is a question for the millennium — a question in which the human future hangs in the balance. A rich, arrogant and unbelievably powerful nation, riding a tide of opportune vengeance, pursuing its global interests, invades a poor, backward country, then a year and a half later invades another. It pours multi-trillions of dollars into the adventure and unleashes the most sophisticated high-tech weaponry the world has ever seen. On the home front, the war is backed by at least 80 percent of the population. It’s a good war, a righteous war, proclaimed by the prodigious public relations arm of the military-industrial consensus as a “war on terror” . . . a war on evil itself.How much longer can we pedlle this BS? How much longer can we go on believing we are doing something this way? As we slaughter kids abroad as "collateral damage" we watch our kids slaughtered at home. Are we so sick that we can no longer see how much death we are causing with our myths? Koehler says this:
In the process of inflicting all this harm on ourselves, of course, we inflicted infinitely more harm on the nations we invaded, killing hundreds of thousands, displacing millions, and polluting Iraq and Afghanistan with radioactive waste from depleted uranium munitions and the toxins of unregulated burn pits, among much else. In 2010, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published the results of a study showing that Fallujah, Iraq, was experiencing higher rates of cancer, leukemia and infant mortality than Hiroshima and Nagasaki did in 1945.Meanwhile we continue to pretend to govern ourselves as the plutocracy continues to send us to war for oil or whatever. Meanwhile we pretend to be concerned about the plutocracy's thirst for fossil fuels that are being used without concern for their changes in our planet. This is insanity. As always we treat these things as if they were separate issues. It is all one system folks and we do not need a weatherman to tell us where the winds it creates are blowing!
Is war becoming obsolete? When war's toxic aftermath is endured only by the defeated “enemy,” the winners can still cheer. But today there’s no cheering on any side of the erstwhile war on terror. The pertinent question is: How do we stop our mad preparation for future wars?
And there’s only one answer: Stop inventing enemies, whom we proceed to dehumanize. Once we begin the dehumanization process, we lose — not just figuratively, but literally, and in almost incalculable ways. Philip Zimbardo coined the term “the Lucifer Effect” to describe the sadistic corruption that consumes good-hearted men and women when they are given overwhelming power over others. We wage war thinking we can control the Lucifer Effect. We’re always wrong.