War is Hell, but Combat is a Mother Fucker

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commonsense
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War is Hell, but Combat is a Mother Fucker

Post by commonsense » Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:28 pm

Killing a human being by your own hand isn’t easy, but it might be practical.

Maybe you began your adult life at a time when war and conscription were the order of the day. Some served, some left, some extended their schooling, some went into teaching to avoid going to war.

Women were affected, too, as the choice to marry or have children could be swayed by the hope of helping a man. People too young and too old for the military were distressed by the potential loss of a loved one in a war.

Maybe you were as much a conscientious objector as anyone could be and still carry hand-grenades. Maybe after training on the rifle range, you wondered if you would be able to point your weapon at a human instead of at a cardboard cutout, even in self-defense or defense of the injured.

Then your life changed one day.

You were assigned to a 6-man recon team. You travelled single-file, cautiously, in the jungle. In the 1st, 2nd and 6th positions were infantrymen with their assault weapons. In the 3rd, 4th and 5th positions were the sergeant, the radioman and the medic. You held the 5th position. And your rifle had never been fired.

You lived in the jungle, except for a few days each month. No one else lived in the jungle except enemy soldiers. Your home was decorated with never-ending vines and thorns. Mud impeded travel because your equipment and supplies were on your back. In the boonies, your skin rotted and your body was weakened by leeches and mosquitos.

One day, on a lark, you took the lead position. You struggled in the mud. Sweat ran out of every pore you laid claim to. Your knees faltered from the weight on your back. Your neck ached badly. Your vision was curtailed less than arm’s length in front of you. In your arms you carried your virgin rifle, safety off.

Your life changed forever in a microsecond.

As you slipped over a log and ducked under a vine, you instantly became aware of boots and legs in some kind of uniform. As you ducked under that vine, you pointed your weapon and squeezed its trigger. You never let go of the trigger. As you ducked under that vine, you fired your gun into a figure connected to those boots and legs, moaning and lying on the ground. You depleted your ammo, all of it, in 2.5 seconds.

It had taken you only a microsecond to react.

He looked to be very young, somewhere between 14 and 24. He was unarmed. He had already been wounded before you fired him up. Maybe you were driven by fear when you did this, but you took a human life just the same. Your actions may have been instinctive, but what did this say about your ethics? Maybe it wasn’t a case of murder – it was during war, after all – but it was still a matter of killing someone. You were a conscientious objector, remember?

Some mother’s son was not going to come home. He had been murdered by his enemy. You may have rationalized that he could have been armed and able to kill you. You may have reasoned that it could have been him or you. What a dilemma: to be killed or to remain alive to live a lifetime of deep remorse.

Maybe this had been your moral conundrum. If it had been, would you want to change that fatal scene?

Impenitent
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Re: War is Hell, but Combat is a Mother Fucker

Post by Impenitent » Mon Apr 30, 2018 11:04 pm

welcome home, thank you for your service.

you did as you were trained, reflexively.

systems of morality change with the situation...

-Imp

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Arising_uk
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Re: War is Hell, but Combat is a Mother Fucker

Post by Arising_uk » Tue May 01, 2018 1:57 am

What's a conscientious objector doing in battle they should be in prison surely?

jayjacobus
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Re: War is Hell, but Combat is a Mother Fucker

Post by jayjacobus » Tue May 01, 2018 12:04 pm

Arising_uk wrote:
Tue May 01, 2018 1:57 am
What's a conscientious objector doing in battle they should be in prison surely?
I was in a hospital because the leaders weren't in jail.

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Arising_uk
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Re: War is Hell, but Combat is a Mother Fucker

Post by Arising_uk » Tue May 01, 2018 8:25 pm

No idea what you are talking about but conscientious objectors over here refuse to serve and would rather go to jail than serve against their conscience.

jayjacobus
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Re: War is Hell, but Combat is a Mother Fucker

Post by jayjacobus » Wed May 02, 2018 3:08 am

Arising_uk wrote:
Tue May 01, 2018 8:25 pm
No idea what you are talking about but conscientious objectors over here refuse to serve and would rather go to jail than serve against their conscience.
What I am talking about is leaders who forced me to serve by their law while they didn't serve at all.

You, on the other hand, think that people have no rights. And, if they say they do, PUT THEM IN JAIL.

jayjacobus
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Re: War is Hell, but Combat is a Mother Fucker

Post by jayjacobus » Wed May 02, 2018 3:48 am

Did Johnson serve or Nixon or Reagan or Clinton or Obama or Trump?

None of them is experienced in the horror of war.

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Arising_uk
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Re: War is Hell, but Combat is a Mother Fucker

Post by Arising_uk » Wed May 02, 2018 3:43 pm

jayjacobus wrote:What I am talking about is leaders who forced me to serve by their law while they didn't serve at all.

You, on the other hand, think that people have no rights. And, if they say they do, PUT THEM IN JAIL.
No, what I think is that a conscientious objector prefers to go to jail than kill so you were not a conscientious objector.
p.s.
Or you could have served in the medical corp.

jayjacobus
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Re: War is Hell, but Combat is a Mother Fucker

Post by jayjacobus » Wed May 02, 2018 4:45 pm

Arising_uk wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 3:43 pm
jayjacobus wrote:What I am talking about is leaders who forced me to serve by their law while they didn't serve at all.

You, on the other hand, think that people have no rights. And, if they say they do, PUT THEM IN JAIL.
No, what I think is that a conscientious objector prefers to go to jail than kill so you were not a conscientious objector.
p.s.
Or you could have served in the medical corp.
I was a hospital corpsman. That's why I was in a hospital for 2 years.

jayjacobus
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Re: War is Hell, but Combat is a Mother Fucker

Post by jayjacobus » Wed May 02, 2018 4:58 pm

Arising_uk wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 3:43 pm

No, what I think is that a conscientious objector prefers to go to jail than kill so you were not a conscientious objector.
Here is your choice: Kill or go to jail. In my book that is a lose/lose choice.

I was not stupid. That's why I signed up to be a hospital corpsman even though I was really a mathematician.

iolo
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Re: War is Hell, but Combat is a Mother Fucker

Post by iolo » Wed May 02, 2018 5:48 pm

The choice is between being a legal conscientious objector, going to jail or wearing a uniform. Nobody can make you kill. I can miss a target from two feet if necessary. My objections were purely political, and the UK isn't into nasty things like that!

jayjacobus
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Re: War is Hell, but Combat is a Mother Fucker

Post by jayjacobus » Wed May 02, 2018 6:50 pm

Really? The UK doesn't require it's military to follow orders, any orders no matter how suicidal, stupid or against the rules of war?

What happens if a private or even an officer refuses to follow an order? Won't he be shot if he is in battle?

And obviously he couldn't leave before Dunkirk. He is screwed if he does and (maybe) screwed if he doesn't.

But the UK believes in the rights of their soldiers while the US couldn't care less. Is that your thesis?

jayjacobus
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Re: War is Hell, but Combat is a Mother Fucker

Post by jayjacobus » Wed May 02, 2018 7:12 pm

iolo wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 5:48 pm
Nobody can make you kill. I can miss a target from two feet if necessary. My objections were purely political, and the UK isn't into nasty things like that!
I am in a place I don't want to be, in a situation I don't want to be in and people are shooting at me.

I am a pacifist but it's kill or be killed.

In war even a pacifist must be a killer, the same as everybody else.

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Arising_uk
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Re: War is Hell, but Combat is a Mother Fucker

Post by Arising_uk » Thu May 03, 2018 12:16 am

jayjacobus wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 4:45 pm
Arising_uk wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 3:43 pm
jayjacobus wrote:What I am talking about is leaders who forced me to serve by their law while they didn't serve at all.

You, on the other hand, think that people have no rights. And, if they say they do, PUT THEM IN JAIL.
No, what I think is that a conscientious objector prefers to go to jail than kill so you were not a conscientious objector.
p.s.
Or you could have served in the medical corp.
I was a hospital corpsman. That's why I was in a hospital for 2 years.
My apologies, I confused your reply as being from the original poster as he claimed he was a conscientious objector and over here they would rather go to jail or serve in the medical corp if they want to serve their country in time of war rather than kill someone.

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Arising_uk
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Re: War is Hell, but Combat is a Mother Fucker

Post by Arising_uk » Thu May 03, 2018 12:17 am

jayjacobus wrote:...

In war even a pacifist must be a killer, the same as everybody else.
No, they can be a conscientious objector and go to jail or serve in the medical corp.

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