Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The Art of War

So ya.. the big thing yesterday and today is the wikileaks video of Iraq combat footage. I'm not really going to offer much of an opinion beyond.. firing on unarmed civilians trying to render aid to wounded is a war crime.

Well, a bit more opinion.. some people seem to think the soldiers involved are somehow callous or inappropriate in their language. That's silly. They are knowingly killing human beings, and their motivation at doing so is really irrelevant. I don't see how it's possible to pull a trigger and kill some 20 people without objectifying them as something other than human. Of course there is callous disregard. Of course there is a seeming inhumanity. War is inhumane.

The only way you can convince somebody to kill someone else like that is to condition them to see the practice as something much different than what casual observers would see. I'm not in the least bothered that the soldiers are laughing while killing. I would be surprised if they weren't.

The US conducts war via remote control as much as possible. It's generally safer to kill people that way. I'm perplexed why the discussions that go on in the US revolve around specific situations that appear unusual to the untrained, rather than the broader situation of simply killing lots and lots of human beings.

War used to be a much more personal thing. You took your sword and you beat somebody to death with it. The video game style of violence that is common now creates a detachment that makes it seem less real in a way. It's too bad they can't go back to using swords, and put it on the teevee 24/7. There might be a more popular view that the killing is not such a good thing.


Sullivan is posting various reactions to the video. He is, notably, not offering his own opinion. I suppose that's a small victory. Sullivan was in the Tom Friedman "Suck On This" camp back in the day. He thought the war would be an awesome liberation of an oppressed people from an evil dictator... and he likes to think he has no moral responsibility for the ensuing blood bath.

Truly.. the Iraqis did suck on it.

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