Governments allow their military systems to take their citizens and make killers out of them. They are trained, okay, let's be blunt: they are "brainwashed" into thinking that "the enemy" are not humans just like they are. No, the enemy are more like, say, cockroaches or disease-laden rodents in need of extermination for the benefit of the rest of us. Indoctrinate a group of people into the dogma that the world is divided into us and them and you lay the groundwork for widespread hate and inhumanity.
It would be a nice thing if we could all just ease back into our recliners and pull an American flag over us as a lap quilt and take a nap, cozied by our feelings of patriotic righteousness. Many of us do that, you know. Some of us know better.
The recent whoop-de-doo over American soldiers posing disrespectfully with the remains of suicide bombers or marines pissing all over the remains of dead Afghans while cracking jokes (to mention just two examples), or any of the other atrocities our soldiers inflict on "the enemy" and then which reach the media, always make me uneasy. Especially when our political and military leaders then step to the microphone to express their disapproval and denounce how these actions are "not who we are."
The hell it's not! It is exactly who "we" are and who any nation eager to go to war is. The louder the shouts about the justness of the cause, the deeper the inhumanity will flow. It is impossible to hate and dehumanize the enemy and at the same time treat them humanely.
I'm not saying we are worse than the other warmongering nations in this. I'm just sick of all the hypocrisy. I'm sick of the idea that war isn't really personal against anyone, but just a matter of principle, a struggle of good versus evil. Look beyond the rhetoric and you see it isn't. It's more like fighting evil with more evil.
I know that at this point we should hear from some Col. Jessup who would say to me:
You can't handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You?
What a damned world this is!