FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Reality of the War Zone

by DIANE REJMAN

I am watching a special on the Holocaust. I have seen many before. This time, however, it’s striking me differently. I’m realizing how many German soldiers involved in it apparently didn’t consider the reality of what they were doing. They couldn’t have believed they were killing real people. I’m reminded of stories I’ve heard from US war veterans who tell of things like playing soccer with the heads of dead Iraqis. At the time, it was “normal.” But then they returned home, and the reality of what they did kicks in. They wonder how they could have done such a thing.

Many people believe the only men who would do this have a predisposition to this kind of horrific action. I do not believe this. I believe there is something about the war machine that changes the soul of a human being. In the US, part of basic training consists of de-humanizing the enemy. When a soldier can be convinced that a “gook” or “raghead,” or whatever disgusting nickname our current enemy is called, is not a human being, it is easier for the soldier to kill. Basic training is really a hate training camp.

The latest version of this mindless killing mentality involve drone operators, who drop bombs on the other side of the world, from the safety of their office in Nevada. They probably go out to places like Applebee’s for lunch, and maybe are on a bowling league at night. During the day, while doing nothing more complicated than playing Pac Man, they are killing people tens of thousands of miles away. We all know they are killing civilians. Part of them must know it, also. Whether a person is a German soldier, or a drone “pilot,” it’s all about dehumanization and murder. I’ve already heard about drone “pilots” developing post-traumatic-stress-disorder (PTSD). I say – good – it means they have a conscience. It means they realize what they did. It is their soul screaming out for healing. I think this whole train of thought of mine started when I started wondering if any German soldiers developed PTSD after the war. I suspect, since they, too, are human, a certain percentage of them must have. I can only hope.

I believe the only way of ending wars is for people to truly understand what goes on in a war zone. Although I was spared that experience, I have read many personal accounts of war, and have spoken with many veterans who revealed the horrific things they were involved with, and the pain they have had to live with their entire lives ever since. They didn’t understand what they were involved with, until it was too late.

I believe an understanding of this should be a requirement for anybody in a position to wage war.

I think if Americans understood what we subject our soldiers to, they’d stop the platitudes about thank yous and yellow ribbons, and actually do something to stop it.

Diane Rejman is a Army veteran, and a lifetime member of Veterans for Peace. She holds a MBA in International Management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management, and her biography has been listed in Who’s Who in the World. She can be reached at: yespeaceispossible@gmail.com

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians to the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Patrick Cockburn
Turkey’s Foray into Syria: a Gamble in a Very Dangerous Game
Brian Terrell
What Makes a Hate Group?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Howard Lisnoff
Trouble in Political Paradise
Ben Debney
The Swimsuit that Overthrew the State
Ashley Smith
Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution
Vincent Navarro
Is the Nation State and Its Welfare State Dead? a Critique of Varoufakis
John Wight
Syria’s Kurds and the Wages of Treachery
Lawrence Davidson
The New Anti-Semitism: the Case of Joy Karega
Mateo Pimentel
The Affordable Care Act: A Litmus Test for American Capitalism?
Roger Annis
In Northern Syria, Turkey Opens New Front in its War Against the Kurds
David Swanson
ABC Shifts Blame from US Wars to Doctors Without Borders
Norman Pollack
American Exceptionalism: A Pernicious Doctrine
Ralph Nader
Readers Think, Thinkers Read
Julia Morris
The Mythologies of the Nauruan Refugee Nation
Ann Garrison
Unworthy Victims: Houthis and Hutus
Julian Vigo
Britain’s Slavery Legacy
Rivera Sun
Accountability: An Abandoned American Value
Philip Doe
Colorado: 300 Days of Sunshine Annually, Yet There’s No Sunny Side of the Street
Joseph White
Homage to EP Thompson
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
DNC Playing Dirty Tricks on WikiLeaks
Ron Jacobs
Education for Liberation
Jim Smith
Socialism Revived: In Spite of Bernie, Donald and Hillary
Robert Koehler
The Heart of Order
David Macaray
Organized Labor’s Inferiority Complex
David Cortright
Alternatives to Military Intervention in Syria
Binoy Kampmark
The Terrors of Free Speech: Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act
Cesar Chelala
Guantánamo’s Quagmire
Andrew Stewart
Did Gore Throw the 2000 Election?
William Hughes
From Sam Spade to the Red Scare: Dashiell Hammett’s War Against Rightwing Creeps
Raouf Halaby
Dear Barack Obama, Please Keep it at 3 for 3
Charles R. Larson
Review: Paulina Chiziane’s “The First Wife: a Tale of Polygamy”
August 25, 2016
Mike Whitney
The Broken Chessboard: Brzezinski Gives Up on Empire
Paul Cox – Stan Cox
The Louisiana Catastrophe Proves the Need for Universal, Single-Payer Disaster Insurance
John W. Whitehead
Another Brick in the Wall: Children of the American Police State
Lewis Evans
Genocide in Plain Sight: Shooting Bushmen From Helicopters in Botswana
Daniel Kovalik
Colombia: Peace in the Shadow of the Death Squads
Sam Husseini
How the Washington Post Sells the Politics of Fear
Ramzy Baroud
Punishing the Messenger: Israel’s War on NGOs Takes a Worrying Turn
Norman Pollack
Troglodyte Vs. Goebbelean Fascism: The 2016 Presidential Race
Simon Wood
Where are the Child Victims of the West?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail