luna_virgo: (Boots)
[personal profile] luna_virgo
I haven't seen American Sniper, but on The Nightly Show tonight (so glad this show is a worthy successor to Colbert!), Larry Wilmore discussed the movie with his guests, one of whom was Nick Irving.

I had not heard of him before this show, but Nick Irving is a military sniper who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. On the show he said he doesn't look at "the aspect behind it as far as, you know, I'm gonna kill this guy. He's nothing but a target at that point."

I'm not trying to dehumanize him and his war experiences, because he went on to talk about PTSD and how he coped with it, but I don't understand how someone gets into that mindset in the first place. His answer for why he joined the military: "I saw the Twin Towers fall". Well, I saw that too, and it made me sad, horrified, and pissed off like everyone else, but it didn't make me want to sign up to kill people.

I don't understand war at all. I kind of understand violence on personal level. I don’t condone it, but I understand it. I understand being angry at another person and wanting to hurt them. Honestly, if you’re human, you’ve felt that at some point. Hopefully you didn’t give in to it, but we all know that feeling. And I understand violence in self-defense. What I don’t understand is the impersonality of war. The leaders of one nation or faction decide they want something another nation or faction has, or they want to prevent them from taking theirs, and they send their young people of fighting age out to kill the others of young fighting age, and whoever defends the territory or has the most people left alive wins. This is madness. This is calculating, machine-like insanity. And I think the root of it is to learn to see the “others”, however that is defined, as not human. This is the cause of most of the world’s evils: racism, sexism, homophobia, religious intolerance, etc. How does a person get there? How does a society get there? How do we not recognize when the people in power are encouraging us to get there for their own purposes?

I understand people in the military have a job to do, and they have to defend themselves (and many join the military from lack of other economic options), but in the world that I want to live in, the world we should live in, a sniper’s job wouldn't be necessary.

(posted on DailyKos)
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