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Old 06-11-2011, 01:51 PM   #1
Shizzah
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Default How soldiers deal with the job of killing

When a soldier kills someone at close quarters, how does it affect them? This most challenging and traumatic part of a soldier's job is often wholly overlooked.


Soldiers kill. It goes with the job, and they do it on our behalf.

But it's an aspect of their work which is widely ignored - even by the soldiers themselves - and this can cause them great psychological difficulty, experts say.

"A central part of what we do with our careers is we kill the enemies of our country," said Lt Col Pete Kilner, a serving officer in the US Army who has done tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"So it's very important that we understand why, and under what conditions it's the morally right thing to do to kill another human being."

Lt Col Kilner also lectures at the West Point Military Academy. He calls himself a "soldier ethicist" and has talked with countless fellow soldiers about their experience of "intimate killing" - taking the life of someone up close, who they can see.

"They don't like to talk about it. In general, if you're a soldier and you've killed in war, you lie and say no.

"It tends to be the secret we have that we're not proud of. We want to fight bravely, but it's hard to be proud of killing another person."

Such acts are veiled by jargon, or not spoken about at all, he says.

"We recruit people to kill. We train people to kill. We make the orders. Yet after the fact, we don't talk about killing.

"We talk about destroying, engaging, dropping, bagging - you don't hear the word killing."

This revulsion against committing the ultimate deed prompts the question, how easy is it to do? Soldiers put on what some call their "warrior's mask" - but away from the heat of battle, how do they take it off again?

Experiences vary. Andy Wilson, a soldier in the SAS, Britain's elite special forces, joined the army at 18.

Now 36, he still clearly remembers the first time he took someone's life in a kill-or-be-killed scenario.

"He had an AK47 and he was going to kill me. I was cool, calm and collected the whole time. I knew I had a job to do. I knew I was going to do it, and I did. I was a soldier. That was my job. And that was war."

Won't shoot

But what of those who refuse to pull the trigger? Military psychologists debate the issue of non-firers, and some say this is because their psyche is repulsed by the act of killing.

In World War II, SLA Marshall observed that many of his fellow soldiers didn't shoot. He wrote a study called Men Against Fire about this reluctance to kill the enemy.

"Fear of killing, rather than fear of being killed [was] the most common cause of battle failure," he wrote.

Marshall's research methods have since been questioned, but the broad conclusion is still accepted: soldiers often simply won't shoot.

The Reverend Dr Giles Fraser, who lectures on morality and ethics at the academy of the British Ministry of Defence, says there is a deep human reluctance to kill other people.

"Killing in combat for a psychologically normal individual is bearable only if he or she is able to distance themselves from their own actions.

"SLA Marshall found that only 15-20% of combat infantry were able to fire their weapons on the enemy and there were 80% that were de facto conscientious objectors when it came to the point of firing their weapon."

Lt Col Kilner, of the US Army, says the way to keep soldiers psychologically on an even keel is to reason with them - not to take away their choice and intellectual involvement with what happens in battle.

"If a soldier reasons that his or her cause is just, then killing sits more easily in the mind," he says.

Marshall's conclusions led the military to change the way soldiers were trained, to bring home the reality of confronting the enemy. For example, shooting practise no longer uses bullseyes, but human-shaped cut-outs that pop up unexpectedly.

"The experience of killing is huge and powerful. If you go in with the right personal tools, you can come out stronger. If you go in with cracks, you'll get shattered. The key is preparing people for this intense experience".

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-13687796
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Old 06-11-2011, 01:54 PM   #2
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I think this report is a very interesting one
Would be cool to have some comments from some of you who have served, do you think this report is accurate? and if you want to talk about it, how did you deal with 'it' the first time?
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Old 06-11-2011, 02:00 PM   #3
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Swedish television broadcast a documentary series on the Swedish ISAF efforts in Afghanistan. In the first episode a soldier shared his philosophies on the subject, saying that he never thinks of it as killing, and refuses to acknowledge the fact when told so. He says the only way to cope with it is by seeing himself completing an objective, fulfilling his duty. He does not think in terms of taking a life.

I think many soldiers who brag or gloat about having killed people are liars. The ones who do not want to talk about it are much more believable, they will tell you not to ask about such stuff.
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Old 06-11-2011, 09:28 PM   #4
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a good family friend killed 3 Argies with his bayonet duringthe battle for two sisters in the Falklands War, he was in 45 Commando Royal Marines. he speaks openly about it and how he felt, and he still suffers from PTSD. a great friend i go hiking with, very much a good laugh to be with.

Another friend who is out now only killed once in Iraq, whilst on top cover he spotted an insurgent with an AK and opened up, his CO ordered him to get down and go over to make sure he was dead, which he did. He says it was the 1st time he seen what a mess a bullet could do and it disturbed him, on his way back to the vehicle he was shot through the calf muscle.

My stepsons best friend has served in Afghanistan, he's with 2nd Battalion, The Mercian Regiment (Worcesters and Foresters). and is due back out there in August for another tour, he's seen plenty of dead on both sides but has not killed anyone.
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Old 06-11-2011, 09:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shizzah View Post
When a soldier kills someone at close quarters, how does it affect them? This most challenging and traumatic part of a soldier's job is often wholly overlooked.


Soldiers kill. It goes with the job, and they do it on our behalf.

But it's an aspect of their work which is widely ignored - even by the soldiers themselves - and this can cause them great psychological difficulty, experts say.

"A central part of what we do with our careers is we kill the enemies of our country," said Lt Col Pete Kilner, a serving officer in the US Army who has done tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"So it's very important that we understand why, and under what conditions it's the morally right thing to do to kill another human being."

Lt Col Kilner also lectures at the West Point Military Academy. He calls himself a "soldier ethicist" and has talked with countless fellow soldiers about their experience of "intimate killing" - taking the life of someone up close, who they can see.

"They don't like to talk about it. In general, if you're a soldier and you've killed in war, you lie and say no.

"It tends to be the secret we have that we're not proud of. We want to fight bravely, but it's hard to be proud of killing another person."

Such acts are veiled by jargon, or not spoken about at all, he says.

"We recruit people to kill. We train people to kill. We make the orders. Yet after the fact, we don't talk about killing.

"We talk about destroying, engaging, dropping, bagging - you don't hear the word killing."

This revulsion against committing the ultimate deed prompts the question, how easy is it to do? Soldiers put on what some call their "warrior's mask" - but away from the heat of battle, how do they take it off again?

Experiences vary. Andy Wilson, a soldier in the SAS, Britain's elite special forces, joined the army at 18.

Now 36, he still clearly remembers the first time he took someone's life in a kill-or-be-killed scenario.

"He had an AK47 and he was going to kill me. I was cool, calm and collected the whole time. I knew I had a job to do. I knew I was going to do it, and I did. I was a soldier. That was my job. And that was war."

Won't shoot

But what of those who refuse to pull the trigger? Military psychologists debate the issue of non-firers, and some say this is because their psyche is repulsed by the act of killing.

In World War II, SLA Marshall observed that many of his fellow soldiers didn't shoot. He wrote a study called Men Against Fire about this reluctance to kill the enemy.

"Fear of killing, rather than fear of being killed [was] the most common cause of battle failure," he wrote.

Marshall's research methods have since been questioned, but the broad conclusion is still accepted: soldiers often simply won't shoot.

The Reverend Dr Giles Fraser, who lectures on morality and ethics at the academy of the British Ministry of Defence, says there is a deep human reluctance to kill other people.

"Killing in combat for a psychologically normal individual is bearable only if he or she is able to distance themselves from their own actions.

"SLA Marshall found that only 15-20% of combat infantry were able to fire their weapons on the enemy and there were 80% that were de facto conscientious objectors when it came to the point of firing their weapon."

Lt Col Kilner, of the US Army, says the way to keep soldiers psychologically on an even keel is to reason with them - not to take away their choice and intellectual involvement with what happens in battle.

"If a soldier reasons that his or her cause is just, then killing sits more easily in the mind," he says.

Marshall's conclusions led the military to change the way soldiers were trained, to bring home the reality of confronting the enemy. For example, shooting practise no longer uses bullseyes, but human-shaped cut-outs that pop up unexpectedly.

"The experience of killing is huge and powerful. If you go in with the right personal tools, you can come out stronger. If you go in with cracks, you'll get shattered. The key is preparing people for this intense experience".

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-13687796
Most soldiers dont deal with the "job of killing." They deal with the possibility of getting killed and are being exposed to a different (odd/backwards) culture for a few years. Very few actually even pull the trigger (80% of the military is support elements that rarely even get pop shots from the enemy).

Not all that are doing the killing suffer with PTSD and not all that do suffer from PTSD maintain suffering from PTSD.

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Old 06-11-2011, 09:44 PM   #6
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I posted this earlier Shiz http://forums.liveleak.com/showthread.php?t=81470

*Edit* Hahaha, just noticed you posted it first! Sorry Shiz
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Old 06-12-2011, 05:55 AM   #7
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so much typing
MILITARY deal with the shit
that is why they are solders, marines, sailors, coastes, airman
if you never served, then don't debate it
YOU DO NOT KNOW
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Old 06-12-2011, 02:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sluggoo View Post
so much typing
MILITARY deal with the shit
that is why they are solders, marines, sailors, coastes, airman
if you never served, then don't debate it
YOU DO NOT KNOW
look children, here is a perfect example of someone who posts before he reads the thread.

let's all point and laugh.

Ha. Ha. Ha.
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Old 08-06-2011, 05:15 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shizzah View Post
look children, here is a perfect example of someone who posts before he reads the thread.

let's all point and laugh.

Ha. Ha. Ha.
make all the inane childish prattle that the world allows, because of the "WWW"
old men argue, young men die
That is war
it has gone on long before we were both a thought in our fathers eye
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Old 03-03-2012, 01:46 PM   #10
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make all the inane childish prattle that the world allows
that doesn't change the fact you didn't read the thread before you posted, and if you did, you're just not very bright and making yourself look... Silly.

And trust me, I would have said the same in your face.
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