Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Conversation On What It Means To Kill In War

Troops are trained to kill, but not to deal with the consequences of killing.(Reuters/Andrew Burton)

It’s Time For An Honest Conversation About What It Means To Kill In War -- Phil Zabriskie, Quartz

Last week, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Congressional committee that his office was still considering whether or not the US should send ground troops to Iraq to fight ISIL (a.k.a. the Islamic State). Some in Congress and the military think the idea is past due, and that only American combat troops can neutralize the threat ISIL poses to Syria, Iraq, and beyond.

With Chuck Hagel’s resignation as defense secretary on Nov. 24—not to mention a move to slow the troop withdrawal in Afghanistan—a shift in policy may indeed be in the offing. But what everyone must understand is that if boots are put on the ground and a fighting war begins, American servicemen will not only likely be killed, but will also be killing.

That may sound obvious. Of course combat soldiers have to kill. And yet over the past year, as I’ve been reporting and writing about killing in combat—a project born from time spent covering the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and several other countries over the past decade—I’ve seen that this part of combat, obvious though it may be, remains one of the least discussed and most overlooked, despite the profound implications it has for all involved.

Read more ....

My Comment: A sobering essay on a topic that no one wants to discuss. Fortunately .... in my own case .... I cannot relate to it. I have never killed anyone .... and it is a track record that I am very proud to hold. Unfortunately .... my father did kill a great deal of people during the Second World War .... and while I know some of the details (bits and pieces of info accumulated over the years) .... I do know that his war experience gave him horrible nightmares for the rest of his life.

1 comment:

James said...

This is a subject that has been "talked about" since they've had clay tablets, it will never really be understood. Most all attempts at definition boil down to "get them before they get us".