Thursday, March 27, 2003

Well, the 173rd Airborne Infantry Brigade made a combat jump into Iraq. This whole thing has been making me half crazy, and now this. Sitting here, knowing I'm too old and broken to participate, is very difficult.

War provides a strange dichotomy for soldiers. Contrary to popular belief, soldiers are not war mongers. We simply constitute the cadre of the willing. Those who know that a nation must posses an armed force and are willing to serve in that force. But soldiers don't crave war for the simple reason that it is the soldier who suffers in war, not the politicians.

But yet, it remains without a doubt an exciting adventure. By and large if you join the Army to become a paratrooper, you're not one who is content to watch others get their adrenaline rushes. You crave it as well.

And there's the frustration of training for years to do a job and never actually doing it. Soldiers want to apply their skills. This probably seems a bit odd, but therein is another sort of dichotomy. Soldiers don't enjoy the thought of killing, but yet yearn for the rush of achieving victory. You actually intellectually separate the idea of defeating an enemy from the thought of actually killing other humans. And when it comes down to cooly selecting and killing an individual enemy soldier, somehow the mind is able to isolate that which is done as a matter of duty and allow you to do that, even though you would never countenance the idea of killing another person off of the battlefield.

No comments: