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.

A Good Young Man (or Locke’s Socks) The Would Be Patriot

This is a story of a Good Young Man.

We all know good young men.

This particular good young man was esteemed by his family and admired by his community.

He was Smart.

He was Considerate.

He did well in school.

The Good Young Man was taught to love his country.

He said the Pledge of Allegiance every morning – Monday through Friday – for roughly twelve years as he was indoctrinated in his country’s Education System (he even said the Pledge in front of his mirror – hand over his heart – before school and on Saturdays before he went out).

Like everyone else in his country, he watched movies at the local cinema where the Villain was the latest Enemy of the Country (In the 80s the Villains were Russian. Now they’re Middle Eastern).

This Good Young Man went to a religious institution with his family. He learned the ways of his Religious Community.

He was taught to Love his Deity.

Being a Good Young Man (GYM), he helped his neighbors (especially the frail old man who lived next door) frequently …and always for free. Often, he did this in the name of the Deity he worshiped, but some surmised he may have done good deeds anyway because that’s the way he was as long as I can remember.

“He is a good young man,” everyone said.

GYM (Gym) decided to join the Military. It was – after all – the godly, Patriotic thing to do. He had to give back for all his country had done for him. He never made a list of what his country did for him… but he supposed it must have been a lot.

Indeed, Gym (Jim) loved his country (why does one ‘love’ their country?) and believed (through the media) that it was under ‘attack’ (or could be under attack at ANY MOMENT) and it should be defended at all costs.

Perhaps he also wanted college benefits.

When Jim said good-bye and left for Army Basic Training, Jim’s Mother wept and his father – chest swelled with Pride – stealthy wiped a tear from his eye.

Army Basic Training is where they ‘break you down to build you back up’ Jim wasn’t thinking about the implications of this ‘breaking down’ and the subsequent ‘building back up’.

After his Initial Training, Jim, whom everyone loved back home, was assigned to his unit.

It was Airborne Infantry.

NOW living and working with his Comrades, some of them seasoned vets with rank, he is hazed and further indoctrinated through peer pressure. Being a subordinate, he wants to please his Commanders and those who outrank him.

Jim is now part of a Machine (a lean mean fighting machine is what they call themselves).

To Jim, life becomes Us and Them. More often than not – Us Versus Them.

Sentimental feelings or feelings of empathy for them (the Military vs. Everyone Else) are now obsolete or if not, they should be.

Everyone is a potential Enemy.

They use words to deHUMANize the Enemy. It is easier to kill something that is not Human (we all remember various points in History: Gooks or VC for Vietnamese; Chinks or Dogs for Chinese; Wetback for Mexicans; Japs for Japanese; Niggers or Coons for Blacks; Kraut for Germans – you get the Gist).

During the Occupation & Rape of Nanjing, a Japanese Commander said, the Chinese are Pigs… but actually Pigs are more valuable because one can eat a Pig!

Once the Enemy is not looked upon as Human, they are easier to torture then kill.

Jim (Gym) finally gets the opportunity to fight (and possibly die) for his country. He gets shipped to an ‘enemy’ country – let’s say Iraq – for the final nail in his indoctrinated coffin.

The training has hardened him; and now he is living with like-minded individuals in a Reality Box. They think alike. They look alike. They act alike.

He goes to combat with his Comrades.

Now the Enemy that Gym has been taught to hate – the Towel Heads, the Camel Jockeys – are shooting at him. This clinches it. These animals really are bad!

Gym becomes a seasoned vet. The appalling becomes mundane. The shocking becomes ordinary. He laughs at things that would have turned his stomach years ago.

He does things he could have never done before. Heinous things.

Through school, through the Military, and through his church, he has been taught to obey orders.

Do what you’re told private!  If I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you!

The once Mindful becomes Mindless. Don’t think… just do!

All for Love of Country.

All for Defending his Country.

(how does one defend one’s Home by invading the Home of others?)

All for National Pride.

Gym (GYM) is a True Patriot.

But is this Patriot still the Good Young Man he was, once upon a time?

Is he like Plutarch’s Ship of Theseus? Perhaps Plato’s Carriage or Locke’s Socks?

The original Young Man has been slowly broken down (psychologically/socially) piece by piece only to be built back up again. Is he responsible for his actions?

Who is doing the breaking down? Who is doing the building back up? What is their intention? Their motive? Do they care about all the GYMs in the world?

What of the residual repercussions?

Is our Hero the same Good Young Man he was before?

Was he ever a Good Young Man in the first place?



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Proud to be American? Why?

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Published in: on October 5, 2010 at 5:00 PM  Comments (7)  
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