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Response to olddad56 (Reply #79)

Thu Jul 18, 2013, 08:20 AM

86. A lot of it has to do with family, culture, and the section of society some of these guys come from

I was born in 1980 and I grew up in a family that leaned right. I had no relation with anyone who actually served in a post WWII war in an Infantry function. My one grandfather was a WWII Infantryman, my other grandfather was a typist/clerk assigned to a unit in Japan during the Korean war, and my father narrowly missed being drafted to Vietnam based on his birth date.

I grew up watching and idolizing G.I. Joe (the real American hero) and I saw conflicts such as Panama, Desert Storm, Bosnia/Kosovo as justified use of our military and as proof that our military was there to be used by our leaders as a force to spread freedom, opportunity, and democracy to the world. Our military might was used to stop genocide and to free the oppressed. Hell, I idolized the Green Berets whose motto is "De oppresso libre" or liberator of the oppressed.

I joined the Army in 1997, received an Army ROTC scholarship in 1998, and graduated college in 2002 and voluntarily sought an assignment as an Infantry Officer in the Army. Afghanistan, in my mind and at the time, was completely justified. I never dreamed that we would enter a war like we did in Iraq. I was finishing up my training at Fort Benning, GA in March 2003 when the war in Iraq started. Even at the time I thought the war was stupid and I had no idea why we went there. I never bought the arguments from bush (even though I supported him and even voted for him in 2000). I had no idea that I'd find myself in Iraq in February 2004 serving as an Infantry Platoon Leader.

Even though I never believed in the war and never bought the rhetoric, I was going to do my best to "do the right thing" and to treat everyone with respect of dignity. I was there to help make the country a better place. I wanted to work with the Iraqi people and I truly wanted them to live in a better country.

I was brainwashed by my upbringing before the Army even got a hold of me. The only brainwashing the Army did to me was to make it easy for me kill someone.

If you are interested in learning about this, read the book On Killing written by Dave Grossman. To give a four sentence summary, data gathered from WWII and wars prior indicate that only %15-20 of people who have actually seen an enemy in combat could bring themselves to kill that person. Upon realizing that statistic, the Army instituted a variety of techniques to train people to be more willing to kill. By Vietnam, data indicated that 95% of Soldiers who saw and enemy were able to and willing to kill them. As a result of this, we see many more vets suffering mental health issues after war now than we have in previous wars.

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LineLineReply A lot of it has to do with family, culture, and the section of society some of these guys come from
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