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Shades of death brought to light

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posted on Aug, 17 2005 @ 09:37 PM
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Here's a touching story of a man trying to give the soldiers somewhere to talk about their inner guilt of killing another human being. Apparently, talking about the guilt of killing another man during a wartime era is "taboo" and not brought up. This man stepped forward with an essay, and is instantly idolized by the forces in Iraq.

Emails have been flooding to this man since he wrote the article, and he is now trying to get officers to discuss their personal events so soldiers feel more comfortable to talk to them on the feild...


Not long ago Maj. Peter Kilner posted on an Army-sponsored Web site a short essay he had written on the morality of killing in combat.

The topic had long fascinated the West Point philosophy and ethics professor. Outside of the pacifist movement, though, no one had shown much interest in his work on the subject. This time the response from his fellow officers surprised him.

One officer emailed him about his experience after opening fire on a car fleeing a U.S. Army roadblock in Iraq. "What I'll never forget about that engagement was listening to the family react when they saw the inside of the car and their loved one without a chest," the officer wrote. "I know what I did was right. But I'll never lose the sound of that grief-stricken family." The sound was "blood curdling," he added in a later email to a reporter.

Slowly, Maj. Kilner's writings -- which encourage officers to talk to their troops about the morality of killing in combat and the guilt that often comes with taking another's life -- have begun gathering a wide audience.

Source

"Until recently I have never seen anyone address a group about their feelings on killing," says Maj. Kilner. "It is just impolite conversation...like asking someone have you had an abortion?"

Four years of heavy combat, however, are slowly altering the way the Army talks about this long-taboo subject. It's a shift that Maj. Kilner, along with other Army officers and military psychiatrists, say is long overdue.

Drawing from a wide body of philosophy, Maj. Kilner argues that killing is morally acceptable when the enemy poses a threat to values worth fighting for, such as life or liberty, and there are no nonlethal options to avoid the threat. Shades of the same argument have been used for centuries by rulers and soldiers to justify killing on the battlefield.

Maj. Kilner is pushing America's current crop of Army officers to help their soldiers confront the morality of killing on a personal level. Failure to address these issues in training, Maj. Kilner argues, can sometimes disable soldiers in combat, and leave them more prone to psychological traumas after the battle is finished.


Read his 2002 essay and recent 2005 essay that sparked the movement.




posted on Aug, 17 2005 @ 10:18 PM
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Where is the guilt of the insurgents for killing indescriminatly men, women and children. Do they have guilt because they did it with a carbomb and could not hear the screams of their victims? or because they are fighting an occuping force it is justified? If they believe they will go to paradise for it there is no guilt right? sounds like they have been brainwashed with this rhetoric.

[edit on 17-8-2005 by XphilesPhan]



posted on Aug, 17 2005 @ 10:23 PM
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Ehm, I'm not too entirely sure where you're coming (or going) with this..

The soldiers that kill people in wartime are grieving. They feel bad for ruining a persons life. And this man is attempting to give the soldiers a place, or method, to vent or release that guilt..

How is that tied into the insurgents?


Maj. Kilner is pushing America's current crop of Army officers to help their soldiers confront the morality of killing on a personal level. Failure to address these issues in training, Maj. Kilner argues, can sometimes disable soldiers in combat, and leave them more prone to psychological traumas after the battle is finished.


How is this rhetoric?



posted on Aug, 17 2005 @ 10:33 PM
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Geez, XphilesPhan, that was really callous. Soldiers need to be treated for psychological wounds, as much as physical ones. Many veterans are homeless and live in the streets, because they weren't giving the counseling help they needed. We shouldn't stop caring about our soldiers once the killing is done.



posted on Aug, 18 2005 @ 01:06 AM
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Originally posted by curme
We shouldn't stop caring about our soldiers once the killing is done.


Nor should we neglect to inform them of the fight or flight aspects of war.

You're staring down the sights of your gun, at a man thats ready to kill you.. you don't want to kill this man, and ruin his life, his families life, but you don't want to die.. you fight with your emotions over this just long enough for the man to squeeze his trigger. You're dead.

I guess its something I'll never understand, having never been in a war.. but apparently, it's something soldiers struggle with everyday in Iraq, and something they struggle with 'after' the kill as well.

All this man is doing is trying to relieve some of this built up emotion.. hes trying to get the soldiers to talk about their experiences.



posted on Aug, 18 2005 @ 01:59 AM
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This sort of thing should DEFINATELY be encouraged, preferably in a publicly, un-censored forum so

a) The general public gets FIRSTHAND accounts of what really goes on. Knowledge is power and all that. This is very likely wishfull thinking though.

b) The soldiers can get it off their chests...just knowing other people feel the way you do can help greatly.

c) Provides an easier way for military shrinks to keep an eye on soldiers. The things they say might possibly be early warning signs of emotional/mental trauma.

I've considered joining the military, thusly tried to imagine what it would be like to be staring down a barrel, pulling the trigger, taking the life of another human. At the time, I'd do it, it's my job and it'd be what I was trained to do...but when you get some time to yourself, alone, in peace and quite, when the adrenaline levels go back down, when stress and lack of sleep catches up on you, when you realise it could have been you on the recieving end.....the guilt must be absolutely horrible to deal with by yourself.



posted on Aug, 18 2005 @ 03:25 AM
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Coming from a country that has been through war (Bosnia) I have seen this trauma first hand.

If you are a normal person, you simply cannot feel joy while killing someone, or do it like it is no big deal. If you are a normal person, you will feel guilt, it is going to follow you for the rest of your life. It doesn't matter who you kill, it stays with you, the fact that you took a life.
A few of my family members were in the army during the war, most of them still cant sleep normaly, they constantly have nightmares, trouble focusing on everyday tasks and their jobs, they are prone to anger outbursts because of the guilt and memories that never go away. Their fight was just, they were defending their families, but that matters very little when you see the killing over and over again in your head.

There is nothing nice about a war.

Only a monster can go into combat and come back rejoicing the killings.



posted on Aug, 18 2005 @ 04:09 AM
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Originally posted by paperclip
Only a monster can go into combat and come back rejoicing the killings.


I saw an interesting documentary on National Geografic last week called The Truth About Killing. One of the experts explained that 99% of people (soldiers) suffer some sort of psychological trauma after service. But there is 1% of people who don't. 0.5% of those are psychopats and sociopats the other half cannot be explained. They call them superhumans.

This documentary was very educational and quite disturbing. There is something about when an adult man (British veteran) starts crying that I can't stand to watch. It realy hurts me.

I also have couple of cousins that fought in Croatia and Bosnia. The are not the same persons as they were before. The are susspiciously calm and the eyes...I can't describe this emptines...It's like the spark died or something.

Every day I'm more and more gratefull to my father for keaping me away from Military.

peace



posted on Aug, 18 2005 @ 05:40 AM
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There is a small group of people that I've read about that are willing to do and accept anything to keep their buddies safe and protect other people. To them killing during war is just another thing they have to do to protect someone else. I'm not trying to say this is a Bad Thing, because it's necessary, but if you read Black Hawk Down, the original book, at the end one of the Delta operators picks up his weapon, strolls out of the stadium and walks back into the city to look for anyone left behind, without batting an eye. He stopped long enough to make a plate of food, and then just went right back in. You find people like this just about anywhere, but I think the majority of them go into some kind of public service work, IE firefighters, police, military.




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