A Soldier Fights Not Because He Hates The One In front Of Him, But…

…because he loves those People Behind him.


I saw this misleading poster on line and I would have to disagree.

For one human being to kill another there must be, in most instances – hate.

Thinking about killing in the military prompted me to write a little bit about Dehumanization.

The Soldier generally must hate or at least think of the ‘enemy’ he is shooting at as not human.

That is why the military dehumanizes the enemy and gives them names that are not considered human…something our species has been doing through-out history.

Jap, Towel Head, Chink, Kraut, even The Red Coats are all words we are familiar with and which take the Human out of Humanity.

This is of course de facto racism.

The average Vietnam Vet (and we all know a few of them) called their ‘enemy’ Dinks, Gooks, Slopes/Slopeheads and Slants – after all, the enemy to many of these soldiers & marines were just little bastards that lived like animals in the jungle – thus it was ok to treat them accordingly.

The Soldier/Marine has been indoctrinated, brainwashed (not unlike a cult; which the military has all the hallmarks of) and there is a seething hate that takes years and conscious effort (as it did for me) to reason away why we should not hate others for no reason other than the government and its Propaganda Machines told us to.

And while I’m on the subject… here is a quick little digression:

Governments sometimes present “Enemy” civilians or soldiers as less than human so that voters will be more likely to support a war they may otherwise consider genocide.

Such efforts often depend on preexisting racist, sectarian or otherwise biased beliefs, which governments play upon through various types of media such as CNN or Fox News. They present their “enemies” as barbaric, undeserving of rights, and a ‘threat’ to the nation. We see this perpetuated on these moronic media outlets (mentioned above) and other Idiotic ‘News’ sources (that the rest of the world calls propaganda).

Alternatively, states sometimes present the ‘enemy’ Government or a country’s way of life as barbaric and its citizens as childlike and incapable of managing their own affairs. We see this happening in the Middle East in countries and cultures that are far older than young, ignorant Amerika.

Such arguments have been used as a pretext for colonialism… which we see happening in Iraq (which now sports the biggest US Embassy in the world… no,  The US is not pulling out of Iraq anytime soon).

Most  soldiers love their friends and family ‘back home’ and want to help them… BUT most soldiers are not thinking, I am protecting my family who are safe back home by killing these people I do not hate in this country where my family does not reside (sounds absurd when you move the words around a bit, eh?).

The average American soldier, whilst in another country, shooting at people that did nothing to him personally (but who is shooting at them non-the-less), is thinking, I want to get the fuck out of here and in the meantime just follows orders and waits out his time so that he will (perhaps) get his GI Bill – IF he makes it out – and a shiny piece of metal to put on his chest (rats also like shiny things – we find a lot about humans by studying rats – don’t we?).

The military goes to great lengths to instill in its soldiers a willingness and even eagerness to commit violent and brutal acts without question… and if they do question then they are UNPatriotic and may even get a court martial for refusing to go against their Conscience (Muhammad Ali – who was not even in the military got his Championship Belt stripped from him for refusing to go to Vietnam to kill people that never called him a nigger – another dehumanizing word that slave owning whites and other bigots used so they could keep treating blacks inhumanely).

It works.

What the military does NOT do is spend any time or effort to debrief or UNtrain this mindset once the troops leave ‘Enemy’ Land. Treatment for those who suffer depression, guilt and may even develop suicidal tendencies for what they have seen and done is woefully substandard.

Military training, is an extremely effective method of changing the mindsets of the newly enlisted, often teenagers, so they are ready, willing (and even eager!) to spontaneously kill other people.

Consider how intense this training must be in order to turn a normal, fun loving, teenager with hormones bursting from his every pore into a killer – who does not question authority –  in a matter of weeks.

I should know, I spent almost a year training for one of the Army’s Elite Divisions.

A critical part of this training involves dehumanization. The idea here is to make trainees think of the enemy, not as opposing soldiers but as less than human. Animals. There is far less of a possibility that an Amerikan soldier will shy away at the order to kill when he believes that what he is killing is not a Human Being at all, but a lower form of life deserving only loathing, disgust and hate.

A soldier fights and shoots at others because he was trained to obey orders without question, and has been brainwashed to think the enemy is less than human. His family back home barely works into the equation… and the hate (mixed with fear and ignorance) he feels in the combat zone is very real and very dangerous.

Peace in the Middle East.

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35 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Nope – Your premise is too general and misses the point of the quote. Turning the question of who hates whom, I see the hate more in you than the soldier. Very few Americans join the services because they hate people and are driven to be inhuman to anyone else. I suggest you rethink your reasoning and tamp down that disconnect with the human race a bit.

  2. How I wish to have read this before I steped in shit.

  3. I think the quote is saying the same thing as you are. If you cannot fight a battle in which you can remove the hate of your enemy in front, then you should not be fighting that battle.

  4. You’ve no idea what you’re talking about, Sir. Because the quote you’re putting down is the soul personification of why I’m serving my country.

    • Thank you for your comment Mr. Koenig.

      In what capacity are you serving?

  5. You are seriously ignorant. You are generalizing a group of people as being violent, barbaric, arrogant assholes. Not everyone who fights on the front line has that kill kill kill attitude. I never one time hated the person I was fighting against(even after watching my friend get blown up feet in from of me on a dismount patrol). I stayed and fought because I thought just maybe my extra gun out there would keep one I my brothers on the front line safe. July 2010 I was hit with an RPG and sent to a hospital for 3 months to return to patrols and even then I didn’t hate who I was fighting. I understand why they fight us and I respect that but I DO love those who fight next to me and I will continue to fight for them. So while your busy stereotyping everyone in the military or maybe even just those on the front fighting, you can look right back at your self and realize not everyone is alike. We all have our own reasons, and your knowledge from your year training with your “elite unit” doesn’t mean you know how everyone’s brain works.

    • Thank you for your comment. I am sorry for your losses and applaud your bravery.

      May I ask, what are you doing on the front lines in the first place?

      Perhaps you feel you do not hate who you are fighting, no one really knows that but you. I wrote this article based on my own experiences which do share similarities with you (I know what’s it’s like to get shot at, lose comrades and live in fear while in hazardous areas) but differ as we interpret our own experiences.

      When if there were family members that were deemed the ‘enemy’ as there were in the Civil War? Would you still be shooting in that direction knowing you might kill someone you loved?

  6. Maybe on a governmental or societal level, you are right. But I don’t think many soldiers sign up, or indeed fight, out of hate. If I were to go enlist for afgahnistan right now, I would do so because I love those behind me. B that just dosn’t mean my family or country, It means those who are oppressed by terrorist groups in the middle east. Yes, some soldiers hate or disrespect their enemies, and yes propoganda is sometimes used to stir up hate. But more often than not propoganda tells you to defend your country, not attack someone else’s. What I’m saying is that my understanding is that this poster or slogan IS true, and that a good soldier does fight because he loves those behind him.

  7. First of all you have no clue clearly of what its like to be in any branch of the military. If you think we are trained to hate people and just kill people you are sadly mistaken. Most of do not even agree with whatever war we are fighting. Have you ever been shot at or shot at someone?? Do you know what its like to serve in a war situation you do not even want to be a part of. To see faces of people that wondering why you are there when you ask your self the same thing. NO you clearly havent. You can not compare todays soldiers to those of the past say WWII. We are not brain washed or trained just hate any one at all. We are trained in disiplin and to respect higher rank. If you have no clue how we are trained or were never entered in basic training your self in any branch then try it my friend. First you wouldnt last with the attitude you have. Second you would see the truth the behind it. Grow up

    • 82nd Airborne Division 1986 – 1990. And yes, I’m a Combat Vet.

      You know what Assume means, right John?

      We learn that the first week of Basic Training.

      Your whole post smacks of brainwashing, Comrade.

      • … did you read and comprehend the whole post?

        Seems like you skimmed it….and ASSumed the rest.

  8. […] A Soldier Fights Not Because He Hates The One In front Of Him, But… (bostonpaul.wordpress.com) […]

  9. I love stumbling onto forums and blogs like this one by accident…Im always amazed at the vast amounts of comments left by people who try so hard to sound so deep and intellectual regarding topics they dont deserve to comment on in the first place. WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE if you dont believe in what we fight to preserve? WHY ARE YOU IN AMERICA if you believe our soldiers just fight out of HATE? I, myself am a former United States Marine, and its “confused self proclaimed philosophers” like you people that make me wonder why the hell I even signed up! I am especially disgusted with those of you who are former military men and women. Wether you all ever admit it or not, sometimes war is necessary. I dont want to kill anyone anymore than you do, but when my life or freedom or someone elses life and their freedom is threatened wrongly by anyone or anything…I wouldnt be able to live with myself if I sat on the sidelines and watched them and their family be destroyed on TV…but if you could, if you could look the other way and just be thankful its not you…you’re as UN-AMERICAN as they come. YOU might as well pull the trigger that ends their lives. I piss on my generation and anyone who is proud to be AMERICAN but not be willing to fight for that HONOR… ENJOY THE FREEDOM PROVIDED BY THOSE OF US WHO ARE WILLING….AND HAVE

    • True that!

      • And what Freedom did Mr. Iain actually fight and risk his Life for?

        True that?

        True What?

      • I am “truing that” to what the gentleman said about the neccessity of war specifically, and the entire post message generally. Paul, you have run away from America, unreservedly criticise it, but still retain US citizenship, kinda hypocritical, don’t ya think?

        When I accepted the Queen’s Commission as an officer, I was, by the very act of joining the military putting myself at risk. Directly after I resigned my commission, I went to the only pluralistic democratic country of the Middle East, Israel, during the first Intafada and Gulf War. I had an uzi on my back when I worked the fields of Moshav Ein Yahav and was subjected to scud missle attacks by the Iraqis. I suffered this because, in part, I support gay rights and Israel is the only contry over there that one is openly free to live as one is created.

      • War a NECESSITY? War is NOT a necessity. Food is a necessity. Shelter is a necessity. Clothing is a necessity…although “clothing optional” certainly has it’s place 🙂 What would ever happen if the planet went without war? Would we all die if people stopped killing each other?

        I know you really meant “We engage in war out of necessity”. That may be true at the end-stage or on the personal level (ie somebody else’s army is rolling tanks down streets and killing people).

        However, the truth is that war is ALWAYS voluntary. War is the end result of choices made by so-called “leaders”. It almost always occurs because of:

        a) some bullshit religious gripe where both sides think God loves only them and wants them to kill the other side.

        b) some childish rivalry resembling Army vs Navy football that nations just keep participating in out of habit.

        c) sheer incompetence, greed or power-lust of one or more participants.

        The fact that we somehow consider war a “necessity” says a lot about the human race and how we have failed to grow up in the slightest.

    • Aside from completely missing the point, the only thing that you may have proven is the underpinning of Boston Paul’s argument. To me, this topic is more a “mechanics of how war happens” than anything else.

      Sure, you may not actually want to kill people. Sure, there’s such a thing as self defence. Yeah, there are a lot of evil shits out there. However, I assume the overwhelming majority of people on this planet are even less interested in killing than you are. Many are just worried about making it to tommorrow. Most of the people who DO kill people probably didn’t start out that way. They too probably thought they were protecting something worthwhile from an evil force.

      The way wars happen is that some worthless fuck with something to gain (power or profit) is able to convince enough people to be willing to die for some cause or another. Meanwhile, some other worthless fuck somewhere else is doing the exact same thing. The question is “How do you get large populations of people to overcome their inhibition to kill others?” That’s what’s really at issue here. Is it out of love, hate, or using love to fan the flames of hate? Usually it is achieved by whipping up fear and/or hatred of the enemy, justified or not.

      Everybody, even worthless douches like Osama and those that followed him, are the heroes of their own narrative. No matter how illogical, they need to be the Good Guys and those opposing them are Bad Guys out to destroy them. The difference between “Good” and “Evil” is often nothing more than an accident of birth, the place and values you were born into. It is the natural default of most people to want to protect that place and those values. There’s some nobility in that.

      But even the best of intentions can go all wrong. Once you join an armed combat force and overcome your natural inhibition to kill, you have handed yourself over to your leader and are little more than an order taking killing machine. The leader’s motives, good or bad, dictate your actions. In fact, the entire nation’s fate lies the leader’s hands. War and bad leadership is a deadly combination.

      Hitler managed to convince a nation of civilized human beings living in a democracy that Jews and various foreign conspiracies were out to destroy them. His propaganda got Germans to the point where they surrendered their own freedoms and were willing to fight their global enemies even until there was literally nothing left to fight for and nobody left to fight for it. Without hatred and fear, I doubt that would be possible.

      On another front, you also seem to think that the ONLY way you can fight for something is with a gun. Never heard of “The Pen is mightier than the sword”? Ask King, Gandhi, gay people, Canada, the Czech Republic and others what freedoms and rights they won without a war. There is more than one way to skin a cat and you don’t always have to shoot it first.

      Finally, let me help you out with your doubts about joining the Marines. You joined the Marines with the intent of protecting the Freedoms of Americans, right? Freedom means being free to do and say things that others, even those “responsible” for the freedoms, may not like. If you didn’t want Boston Paul and others to have the right to say what he says, you SHOULDN’T have fought for the rights of Americans. You were fighting for the right for him to say what he’s saying. That isn’t UN-AMERICAN. That’s as AMERICAN as it gets. Calling somebody un-American for using his freedom is actually fighting AGAINST his freedoms. That’s UN-AMERICAN!

      • Thank you Sedate.

        You’re a scholar.

    • You thought we were trying to be intellectual? Says more about you than us.

      You sounds like a typical Glen Beck God Fearing ass-cap… but I love you anyway, because you’re an Earthling.

      Let’s start out with this:

      Greetings Marine. 82nd Airborne here. Combat Vet. You signed up because you thought you were fighting for your country. It’s OK. I was confused too. I’d like to ram my philosophies down your fucking throat, but Sedate Me below put it a lot more eloquently than I could.

      If you haven’t read what he wrote, do it now.

      Open up your mind and fire up a few of those fucking synapses… you’ll get better result than firing an M-16 believe me.

      Oooh – fucking-Rah

    • Do you even think it over about what its like of being patriotic? You are separating you from those who have same blood by marking yourself American. Think before you post something like this and stop degrading people simply because you don’t agree with them. Be REASONABLE.

      • Cultures that institutionally oppress women (I’m looking at you, Islam) or hunt higher order mammals (I’m looking at you, whale harvesting nations) may share blood (what does that even mean, as an O- blood type, I can’t even share blood with many people), but little else.

      • Cultures that institutionally oppress women (I’m looking at you, Islam) or hunt higher order mammals (I’m looking at you, whale harvesting nations) may share blood (what does that even mean, as an O- blood type, I can’t even share blood with many people), but little else.

  10. Boston Paul,

    As usual, you are right. That is more or less what it boils down to. (with a bit of tweaking and room for individuality)

    It is rather amazing how stupid humans are. We can laugh at the “other” side’s propaganda and easily debunk it. We can easily see the evil/ulterior motives behind the “other” side’s deceptive words. Yet we are just as stupid. We believe the lies our leaders tell us, even when we know them to be liars, perhaps more so than many of our “enemies” believe their leaders.

    It’s all a fucking head game. As my fellow Canadian, Norman Bethune once said:

    “Is it possible that a few rich men, a small class of men, have persuaded a million men to attack, and attempt to destroy, another million men as poor as they? So that these rich may be richer still?”

    I’m sure you’d enjoy the complete version.

    However, I must disagree that things would be any better without the Nation State. First, we were like this long before nations. Second, what will replace it will be worse. It could be straight up anarchy where self-motivated thugs and terrified people fight each other every day for every scrap.

    However, the most likely outcome is almost assuredly corporate rule. It will occur without even so much as the facade that the rule is being done for the benefit of the people.

    Corporations make governments look like angels. Corporations are even better at propaganda. And no, corporate rule will not end war. Shit, they already spy on each other. How much longer until they fill the power vacuum of diminishing government with their own mercenary militias. Blackwater comes to mind. Murder is just too big of a business not to reformulate and survive in a New World Order. At the very least, somebody has to protect those that count from the masses that don’t count.

    What we need is citizen control over the government we have and not vice-versa. We need citizens that are smart enough to realize we are all ultimately in it together and benevolent enough not to tear each other to shreds trying to enlarge their own pies.

    I honestly doubt we will ever improve much. We’ll probably go extinct first. We are nothing but damn dirty apes, driven to divide and destroy each other for personal and/or tribal gain. Even those of us that aren’t vile to the core are easily manipulated into becoming that way, (if only temporarily) or we will give up trying to resist it.

  11. Iain Palmer: you wrote “Unless there is some kind of unanimous global agreement to abandon the nation-state model in lieu of a collective, mutual, universal community of Earthlings, there will be war, and thus soldiers, and thus a need to create the “Other.” But let’s say we were to abandon the nation-state model, would we not need some type of ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT?”
    The change you are talking about has already started. Communication technology is rendering traditional divisions like ‘nation state’ obsolete. the ‘one world government’ of all the world’s people connected and talking through technology will naturally become more powerful than the old governments. they may try to fight it but it’s inevitable.

    • I hear you, but even though communication technology is a fact of modern life, it can’t marshal resources to create highways, radio active isotopes for nuclear medicine, laws to govern, et al. Communication technology has definitely changed the world, but it certainly won’t replace existing organizational structures.

  12. Your argument only has one flaw, it doesn’t account for human nature. Not all are willing nor able to achieve your level of enlightenment. We are culturally and socially hundreds of years, if not longer, from living in the world you(BP) think is possible. Cultural and social momentum is too powerful a force to be negated merely by awareness that the system is obsolete. Yet, there could never be peace as long as the nation-state exists. No state will give up its power willingly. Unless there is some kind of unanimous global agreement to abandon the nation-state model in lieu of a collective, mutual, universal community of Earthlings, there will be war, and thus soldiers, and thus a need to create the “Other.” But let’s say we were to abandon the nation-state model, would we not need some type of ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT? Sure, all would start off well enough, what with the new spirit of unity. But as happens with all institutions, power will start to concentrate and grow. this is an inevitable fact of history.

    • It took us millions of years to swing down from the trees and separate ourselves from the other primates…

      A couple hundred years is a drop in the bucket.

      Now if we, as abstract thinking, Rational, Logical Humans could just stop thinking like the Alpha Male Chimps we once were, all would be well.

      • People get Human Nature Mixed up with Mammalian Nature.

        That is the flaw in the Human Nature Argument.

      • Tell me what you see as the difference between human nature and mammalian nature. Only humans form nation states. You use chimps as an example; do you mean the Pan troglodytes or the Pan paniscus. We all know that the Pan paniscus are very gentle and have no hostility in their social groups while the Pan troglodytes can be quite violent. We shouldn’t base our assumptions on half truths or half understood examples.

      • Perhaps you could also tell me where the biological imperative fits into your narrative. Paul, given all things equal, would you save your son or mine from death if the events transpired that you were in a position to save only one child. I’m not ashamed to say I would save my own child as lovely as your kid is. As you know I’m an old navy man, HMCSs Provider and Hunter as well as being seconded to the PPCLI as a weapons instructor. I was just wondering which regiment of the 82nd you were with. You mention yourself your military service and combat experience so I was just wondering.

      • Only humans form nation-states???

        Unless you have conversations with animals, at which point you should start taking your meds again, animals could very well have nation-states and we’d be none the wiser.

        I’m sure that, if you could asked a gorilla, he’d laugh at the notion that humans form nation-states. Our human boundaries are as unnoticeable and irrelevant to wild animals as their boundaries are to us.

  13. BP! You are spot on! However, there’s either hate or devaluation or desensitization, but not all three in the military mind. Maybe I can suggest it’s not hate, but one of the other two. It’s hate when a redneck KKK beats up a black guy, but not in the military. A strong emotion like hate, if allowed, would get in the way of immediately and without question obeying an order on the ground. It would also get in the way of troops ONLY doing what they are told, and nothing more.

    The quote at the top is totally one of those simple-minded slogans used during the brainwashing of troops. “We don’t leave anyone behind” is another. First, what about the brother/husband/friend/father they just shot? Second, if they don’t leave anyone behind then why are they so far from home? Both of those slogans shift concern from family, community, and friends to the platoon. I washed my brain last night, and today I can’t do a thing with it!

    • For many of us in the Military, especially those of us who are combat vets, it is most definitely hate -and reasons to hate The Enemy are Vast.

      We hate because of the propaganda we are riddled with every day from the media and our superiors.

      We hate because we must put them blame on someone for being in the freezing cold or hot sun.

      We hate because we did not get to eat that day.

      We hate because we did not get mail that day.

      We hate because we watched a Comrade die…

      The enemy (and most often the civilians in the wrong place at the wrong time) gets the blame for all of that.

      If it is not Hate, then it is Apathy.

      If it is not hate or Apathy, it is repression of emotions and feelings that come out years later… often in a blog like this one.

      • Quotes are conclusions, the summary of complex, lessons someone has learned through their mistakes, setbacks, etc. In their life. Their purpose is to inspire the listener or reader to think. They are only for ears that have the capacity to understand, for people that can make sense of it by applying it and reaching their own conclusion that determines what they have learned now in their own life. To “disagree” with an individual’s truth is discrediting a persons word. Discrediting a persons “word” means discrediting their ability to communicate. The only hindrance to a persons ability to communicate is an unclear or “confused” state of mind. You are implying he was not in a clear state of mind, when what you really mean by you “disagree” is that you do not understand. Care to understand and if you do then disagree, offer a contradicting quote to his or in other words offer an alternate perspective. You sited opinion, opinion does not proof anything. It is a hypothesis. Your words are thought which actually validates the authenticity of the quote since its purpose is to inspire you to think and make sense of it for yourself. People can not give each other answers. We all have different minds. We can only inspire each other to think and find the answer ourself. My point, don’t confuse people by speaking thought. Thought is in your head and only makes sense to you. Speak understanding, speak perspective as the author of this quote did.

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