We send men and women into war knowing that they will collide

We Must Acknowledge The Moral Costs Of War

buy canada goose jacket https://www.canadagoosessale.org It was after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and he was burning for revenge. “I want to go fight,” the 17 year old told his parents. Understandably, they said “no.” When he was old enough to enlist without their permission, off he went to Marine boot camp at Parris Island and then to two combat tours in Afghanistan with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment. buy canada goose jacket

By the time he returned home, he had killed many times, with different weapons and under different circumstances. In our conversations, he seemed awash in conflicting emotions of pride, canada goose outlet uk remorse, bitterness and defiance. In combat, he said one day, there are things you know you shouldn’t do but everybody does canada goose outlet store quebec them.

Canada Goose Online Newton is a tall, rangy guy from Brooklyn with canada goose outlet online reviews a fine ironic sense of humor. His dark hair, shaved down below stubble in Afghanistan, is now almost shoulder length. He was skeptical at first about talking to me. But as a correspondent in Afghanistan, I’d been under fire with his battalion, and eventually he agreed to trust me with some canada goose outlet 2015 of his reflections on war and killing. Canada Goose Online

canadian goose jacket Rather than confront the morality of killing, we’ve surrounded it with a conspiracy of silence. canadian goose jacket

canada goose uk outlet He is careful and deliberate, gathering his thoughts before he speaks, as if his words are precious and not to be wasted or misunderstood. He lets them out a sentence or two at a time and checks your eyes to make sure you’ve got it. canada goose uk outlet

“I wanted to kill people badly. In the same way you wanted the people responsible for the [9/11] massacres to get killed. And I went and did it. And thinking back on it, you know that’s too heavy for one person to take on. I don’t know that there’s anybody who’s not psychopathic who isn’t hurt by it.”

That’s canada goose jacket outlet sale the profound and unpleasant truth, and I suspect each us knows it. Under any circumstance, justified or not, killing another human exacts a moral cost. We send men and women into war knowing that they will collide with a moral dilemma no one can resolve: To be effective warriors, cheap canada goose they must participate directly or indirectly in killing, but killing violates one of our oldest taboos.

uk canada goose outlet Rather than confront the morality of killing, we’ve surrounded it with a conspiracy of silence. Official Defense Department war dispatches speak of “kinetic events” and list targets destroyed in airstrikes, while the word “killed” rarely makes an appearance. The father of a new military enlistee doesn’t say with pride that “my daughter has signed up to kill.” Military recruiters studiously avoid the word. uk canada goose outlet

Many of the new soldiers I’ve talked with say they never thought about the moral consequences of killing. The Rifleman’s Creed memorized by all young Marines demands not that they kill, only that they must fire a weapon “true,” and adds, “We will hit.”

Canada Goose online Asking a combat veteran if he or buy canada goose uk she ever killed someone is considered rude, and for the veteran, it’s a cause for excruciating discomfort. Most likely, the answer lies tightly wrapped in layers of pride and guilt and confusion, an experience hard earned and not lightly shared. Canada Goose online

In his blog, Thoughts of a Soldier Ethicist, Army Lt. Col. Military Academy at West Point, acknowledges the point when he writes, “We don’t tell our family members and civilian friends that we killed in war. If they ask, we answer matter of factly and move on. When acquaintances and strangers ask if we killed anyone in war, we lie or ignore them; they have no right to know.”

canada goose store Kilner adds, “Those who haven’t experienced combat couldn’t possibly understand what it means to kill another human being, and we want to be looked at for the purpose we achieved (protecting them) not for the means we used (killing others).” canada goose store

No wonder so many veterans often feel misunderstood after returning to civilian society. No wonder so many come home and never talk about their wartime experiences. No wonder civilians are often reluctant to ask or say anything beyond a sincere but awkward “Thank you for your service.”

People used to deal with this openly. Many canada goose outlet seattle ancient societies believed that killing in combat, even under legal and morally justifiable conditions, defiled the warrior. That’s a constant theme in Greek tragedy. In the Old Testament’s Book of Numbers, Moses directed anyone who had killed in battle to remain out of camp for seven days of purification. In the seventh century, by order of the archbishop of Canterbury, warriors who killed in battle underwent 40 days canada goose stockists uk of penance and banishment from the church. After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, a gathering of bishops ruled that “anyone who knows he killed a man in the great battle must do penance for one year for each man he killed.”

canada goose coats We’ve abandoned the practice of penance for wartime killing. But along with it, we’ve lost the principle of reckoning with the moral cost of battle. We send young Americans into war but no longer acknowledge what they do on our behalf. We no longer see a need, as our ancestors did, for cleansing and acceptance. canada goose coats

canada goose factory sale The enduring silence of our veterans and our own denial of war’s realities speak volumes about canada goose outlet store new york the need for healing. We might start that long overdue process by acknowledging openly that war imposes moral costs on our warriors. Then we must begin to talk to each other canada goose factory sale.

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