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Insanity In Uniform

February 1, 2013

     Why war crimes?
     In my war they said it took six men doing paperwork, hustling supplies, putting on bandages, cooking and so on to support every rifle man. Fact was, unless you wanted to be on the line, if you had any talent or skills at all, you wouldn’t be.  The sharp edge of our forces were the chumps who couldn’t type or do anything else useful.  Not stupid, particularly, but uneducated and unskilled.  Untried in anything but childhood.  This means something.  A line soldier is usually the least experienced person in the military.  The least mature.
     The peer pressure issue is rarely discussed.  The most dangerous, most monstrous creature in the world is an armed, terrorized, uncertain youngster trying not to look like a pussy in front of his buddies.  I believe this is the most important element in any war crime.  Peer pressure and the fear of failure.  Of being chicken shit.  It is part of war’s madness that mercy, sympathy is seen as a weakness.
     War is madness waged by crazy people.  The mind is overwhelmed by the sounds and fears and anger and stinks and dirt and yelling and screaming and smoke and everybody goes crazy in one way or another.  You get to a point where you simply can’t feel anymore.  Your brain can’t absorb it all.  A totally sane man cannot fight a war.  You have to put your fear of death and injury, of pain aside.  This is not sane.  You have to put your ingrained humanity aside and do things you know are wrong.  Whether it’s shooting people, rousting them out of their homes and going through their stuff or stopping people on the street to search them or stalking around yelling at folks for crowd control.  The guilt, in normal men, rises as does the self disgust.  In your self hatred you get mean.  You have to take it out on someone.
     You are dirty, underfed and exhausted and treated roughly, unfairly.  People bark at you constant. You are chafed just by the nature of military discipline.  You are pissed off continual and frustrated constantly. The miracle is that war crimes don’t happen more often.  That these terrorized, angry, maddened children can manage restraint at all.

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