The guilt of killing for your country..

When I see war on youtube or documentaries i see, mostly, men that are proud to fight for their country, but what is it they are fighting for ?..Do they actually know or are they brain washed to fight.

Young men high on testosterone are flown into countries that they need not be in, I believe and army is to defend your country form being invaded, yet the cannon fodder of your men and women seem happy to go and kill a few whom their masters have said are a risk confused

As these men return to their families, many reflect on what they have done and why.If soldiers felt nothing about taking the life of another human being, that would be indicative of sociopathy.

The transgression that bothered one soldier I read about from Iraq most wasn’t the carnage in the mosque that he and his fellow fighters had done, but another, even more disturbing incident, an accidental killing at a vehicle checkpoint in Iraq. The vague description this guy gave to a local television reporter is horrifying: ‘A vehicle came through that hadn’t been cleared.‘The lieutenant says: “Take them out.” He took them out. They went to the van – it was a bunch of little kids. And he had to take their bodies back to the family.’Instead of killing an armed enemy, he had, through the orders of an officer, killed several children. Accidental killing of civilians in the Iraq War, as in all wars, are much more common than you can imagine. Numbers are so high it wouldn’t benefit the military to keep accurate tabs; rigorous documentation would just fan the public relations nightmare and boost the propaganda value of the deaths for the other side.

He, like many combatants, were able to contain their guilt while still in Iraq. But when he returned home, he brought the Trojan horse with him. It was there, in the calm of these ‘safe’ surroundings, that his guilt and shame overwhelmed him.

Why is it not explained to to these new soldiers, from past soldiers what you can expect ? many returns with PTSD.

And veterans PTSD statistics get revised over time. The findings from the NVVR Study (National Vietnam Veterans' Readjustment Study, in Four Volumes) commissioned by the government in the 1980s initially found that for "Vietnam theater veterans" 15% of men had PTSD at the time of the study and 30% of men had PTSD at some point in their life. But a 2003 re-analysis found that "contrary to the initial analysis of the NVVRS data, a large majority of Vietnam Veterans struggled with chronic PTSD symptoms, with four out of five reporting recent symptoms when interviewed 20-25 years after Vietnam.

As of September 2014, there are about 2.7 million American veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (compared to 2.6 million Vietnam veterans who fought in Vietnam; there are 8.2 million "Vietnam Era Veterans" (personnel who served anywhere during any time of the Vietnam War)
According to RAND, at least 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have PTSD and/or Depression. (Military counselors who have been interviewed state that, in their opinion, the percentage of veterans with PTSD is much higher.

Some 8000 US veteran commit suicide each year !

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A recent study claims that despite similar experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq, U.K. soldiers on average report better mental health than U.S. soldiers. King’s College London researchers analyzed 34 studies produced over a 15-year period and found that overall there has been no increase in mental health issues among British personnel—with the exception of high rates of alcohol abuse among soldiers.

The study was in part inspired the “significant mental health morbidity” among U.S. soldiers and reports that factors such as age and the quality of mental health programs contribute to the difference between the two nation’s servicemen and women.

“While it is difficult to compare rates between nations, a consistent finding of the last 20 years is that reported mental health problems tend to be higher among service personnel and veterans of the USA compared with the UK, Canada, Germany and Denmark,” wrote study author Dr. Deirdre MacManus.

Why the difference? The authors point to multiple possibilities. One factor is that U.S. soldiers are more likely than their U.K. counterparts to be from the reserve forces; empirical studies show reservists from both U.S. and U.K. troops are more likely to experience mental illness post-deployment. U.S. soldiers also tend to be younger—untested personnel who are more vulnerable to mental illness. In contrast, the elite forces of the U.K. military, such as the Royal Marines and Airborne personnel, were found to be the least affected by mental illness.
Who is qualified to train a human to kill with consciousness?
If it were explained to them in detail what they were going to be doing - killing children and other civilians, then the numbers applying would drop. You would only get the psychopaths applying.

Armies are run like a machine. Don't think; just follow orders.

Civilians are seen as collateral damage to the powers that be. So are soldiers who have done their 'duty'.

There's a reason why they get them in when they are young and stupid.
At some point in our lives, we run away from the torture of our emotions and the us army sells the opportunity for escapism from a painful reality very well,including the attractive salary.

Even if you put them in front of a 6 feet screen and make them watch platoon over and over again....

50% will still sign up
Demonstrating a lack of understanding of armed forces here. When going into battle, its not a committee decision. You might think- I'd better leave that van alone just in case, then it blows up half your mates. Its a tough one, but its the lesser evil.
Pat...with all this'd think they would have spikes across the road whereby the flick of a switch would activate them to burst tyres of a vehicle well before they get to the point where they have to shoot the tires out, just in case
Yes, the hotel I stayed at in Tel Aviv had retractable tyre shredders in the driveway. Though by the time you're thinking of damaging their tyres, they're cooking up far greater plans.
Hotel technology and military cannot be distance is required to ensure the safety of all, including innocent passengers.
Indeed, the authorities should also try to shoot the gun out of the baddies hands, like in the movies too. It dont work like that in the real world.
now you're being silly..
Sarcasm huh... I guess I should have just said something along the lines- you're being an idealist not a realist.
Wars are fought by young and foolish poor men on behalf of old cunning rich ones who are in the business of selling arms to anyone programmed enough to think spilling blood will help clean the pathway of humanities destiny.

Or something like that ! dunno
Thought provoking blog Ian thumbs up
As long as man walks this planet there will always be conflict. Period.
Luke, I'm afraid I have to agree with you blues

But even if humankind left, there would still be animal wars. Even they fight for territory and women just like men.

But at least with animals, the leader of the group actually physically goes out himself and leads his troops. Not sit behind a safe desk and send the young ones out to fight and die.


you have started writing lengthy blogsshock
Writing a blog about what I've cooked today doesn't appeal to me
But throwing a cat amongst pigeons and waiting to see the result is a bit like a cooking blog No..? What's your opinion on your question...and try not to use clichés about the stupidity of recruits.
Many American Civil War and Spanish American War and vets of WWI and WWII also exhibited PTSD symptoms after coming home. Of course back then they had no words for it. The vets of the Revolutionary and War of 1812 may have also had problems, but life was so hard back then the stress was fairly constant so it wasn't remarked upon.

It is known that both German and Japanese and even some Soviet soldiers also had problems in civilian life after WWII was over. Presumably the English, Irish and Italians were immune because we here nothing of problems with their vets.

Good news is that now more and more countries are inducting women into their armed services, so life should be interesting for a child growing up with two stressed parents. LoL

The purpose of an army/navy et al is to both defend your country from invaders and also accomplish National objectives as determined by the leaders. In Russia, China, England and many other places the common folk have very little say in who those leaders are. At least in the US there is some say. We should all trust that if our government says, kill them, then that is what shoulld be done. Those who do not feel such will soon be worm food. Such is life.. There is nothing like seeing dogs or rats feeding on a corpse to make one realize we really all are just food. The goal, as Patton said, is to make the other guy (or gal or child) be the one who dies today, not you.

For the most part the determination of who is a sociopath is determined by religious upbringing. LoL, if we all worshipped Crom (like Conan) then no one would be a sociopath.

War is the great maturer. Once you realize from seeing and smelling it that we all are just mobile food the perspective of death and killing changes. This terrifies those who hide from wars.
I believe most men join the army, as they are lost..want adventure, without going to war, and discipline. Those well shoed snobs get the privilege of being a higher up..leader, one's who give the orders. The peasants end up cannon fodder, for a cause they dont understand.
Ian first reading your blog I was disgusted. All true facts but you seem to be putting these men who have fought (no wars are good, we know done made by some bad rulers) you seem to be putting them down.

No wars are avoided by talk, not until thousands have been killed
Not every soldier joins forces because of being bored or unhappy.

How many old timers left today have only now talked of experiences long ago when no rules of war existed.
They came home lived a life had families etc and only now with PSD and mental problems being brought to surface do they talk, they have lived a whole life with this inside them, sorrow at lost comrades, pride in what they did for king and country and you demolish this with verbal tosh.

shame on you.

Yes we now know how and understand things better, but some people do not go to war and have mental problems, it's in the genes, or nature, or nurture they would always be poor souls no matter what they did. The horrors of war would make their condition very visible.

this world is not perfect, neither are people and rules that govern humankind, so do not demolish the deaths of thousands of soldiers and people no matter what stupid war they were in.
Redex..The old timers,were conscripts mostly..had no choice.
Do not split hairs ian the saw more did more died more those days.

They still see and die these days and come back with horrific wounds mentally and physically and you mock the system of life we live in.

all the verbal shit in the world will not change a thing, unless you buy some mouth wash
Maybe so in England. In America, my grandfathers enlisted, my Dad and Uncle enlisted, even I enlisted. Do I know cowards who didn't and hoped the draft passed them by (sometimes it did, sometimes it didn't and they either ran off to Canada, or they showed up at the induction center). I don't know anything about how England was for the old timers.
Where,am I mocking anyone here ?
Ken...what so cowardly not to go to counties to kill.people you dont know..whom have never hurt you.Vietnam for example..Iraq.. confused ..enlighten me here
redEx..I'm merely pointing out that if these veterans,told their story..Maybe people wouldn't be so keen on going to wars on a pack of lies..these days dunno
Ian, some valid points, however:-

Having being in combat myself and being very young at the time I knew what I was fighting for, When you see your countrymen and woman killed and mutilated, when bombs are going off in supermarkets etc, You have a purpose, One thing never mentioned is that the training and subsequent harshness of war prepares you to understand "the greater good", to not be scared of anything and get the job done.

Now many many years later I still smell blood and cordite, I still hear the sounds, but I'm not mentally insane, PTSD never existed back then, it's a later diagnosis, sure sometimes I dont sleep well, sometimes I just want to be left alone, But I feel I am a better person for experiencing that in my life**

The issues with the wars you have mentioned is that the soldiers are not fighting on their own lands, the invasions for the most part were for no reason other than keeping arms manufacturers and big business alive, oil and more, they are fighting a well armed enemy and like you said there are a lot of reservists and I would say most US/Brit vets are hurt mentally by the killing and destruction they witness of civilians and of course children.

**Its a very hard and difficult thing for a returning vet to come to terms with, they get very little support and they will have extreme difficulty in talking to wives and family about what they have seen and done.

Anyone who has not experienced combat will never understand the mental anguish, be it feelings of guilt, remembering the sickening smells and sounds, The difficulty in reentering a normal society, the utter loneliness and despair.

Wars will always be fought, people will always die, but even though so many suffer from PTSD they are proud people that just lose their way.
Hi map, thanks for your comments and as some have suggested I am demeaning veterans and a coward, which is far from the truth, I don't think they understood the blog.

I totally get, as I would, serve my country if it's being invaded , and there is a threat to my family, but to invade counties believing these people are bad, collateral damage is inevitable,, they need to understand what's right and wrong, before they start, be prepared.

Anyone that signs up, it's their Choice, their risk, and I'm sure many if not all never really know what's ahead.
Hello Ian,

I have given this some thought too...about killing for your country. I suspect, like I think Molly mentioned, some may have not realized what they were signing on for, especially in peace time.

But, once put in battle. I would think at that time, it is a matter of kill or be killed. Since it is human nature to survive, they decide to kill. I was just talking the other night to somebody who was in the Vietnam war, he was in tears telling me about some of the horrific things he was "forced" to do, by order and for survival purposes.

Hi Johnny,

I had a friend who was in Vietnam and could not talk about it, I also went to Vietnam in Dec 2015..shocking to see what really happened, from their perspective to.
ali110: "Politician"(meet us in the forums)

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