Dear World Leaders

OPEN LETTER: When Human Soldiers Kill for You

Dear World Leaders,

Could you ever take the life of another human being? What would it take for you to kill someone?

Assuming that most people are morally good, asking this of anyone seems to me morally wrong. Yet this is exactly what soldiers are asked to do when trained and sent to fight wars in foreign lands in the name of “national security.”

We would all like to believe that soldiers are no longer trained to kill by dehumanising the ‘enemy’ – by characterising them as sub-human and less deserving of living a human existence. We are made to believe that soldiers are now trained to kill “only when necessary”, but this isn’t quite the case, is it?

It is not in our nature to kill. Unless one is psychotic, the psychological trauma that comes with killing another human being, even in the name of defence, can have irreparable effects on both the soldier and society.

Instances of girlfriend and wife abuse may increase and traumatised soldiers may become plagued by fear and hatred. Equipping soldiers with expensive machinery – which we all have to pay for – and asking them to “fight for their country” is a burden on us all.

No man or woman should ever be asked to kill a fellow human being for any cause other than their own self-defence. To do this is to suppress a part of their humanity and to lose a part of yours as well.


“You don’t really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around – and why the parents will always wave back” – Bill Tammeus

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Galen (name), meaning: "Curious One". A lover of language, human ingenuity and the forces of the universe. Hugely drawn towards the mysterious and unknown. Regular laughter and escapism essential.

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3 Responses

  1. Alwyn says:

    It’s all about perceptions isn’t it? Put any group of humans together and ask the individuals to say how they perceive an event and there would be a number of different answers and all would be grounded in conceptions, personal biases, previous experiences, backgrounds, belief systems etc. But, if put under pressure to vote what they each thought was the most significant aspect of the incident, there is likely to be close to a consensus. Groups of people generally LIKE to agree amongst themselves.

    National security is the majority vote in wars. “We are threatened! Go and neutralise the threat. Do it in their backyard before they can bring it to ours.” Large doses of “you see, you see what they are like! This or that proves that we’re right.” Nations pull together when threatened, or made to feel so. The blitz failed to bomb Britain into submission, as was thought by the Germans. The Brits even came up with jolly songs about the blitz! When Britain returned the favour and bombed the sh*t out of Germany, they thought the Jerries would fold due to their already weakened state. Nope. It didn’t happen.

    But wars are about power and greed, not about differences. And USA is simply using an age-old tactic of stirring up national feeling, tossing in a few perceived threats and backing this up with a few “lucky” facts (in the eyes of the resource mongers, that is). Twin towers is just one example. They then use this to convince soldiers to go protect what they REALLY want protected… access to resources and markets, and it is disguised with the notion that they are protecting the American people.

    Yes, USA IS now a target and has to look to protecting itself (the self defence you spoke of), but they have worked hard at getting themselves hated. I think it’s safe to say that they have pissed off the vast majority of people on the planet. SUCH a pity.

    And that is all I have to say about that.

  2. Quin says:

    Wow great post, I totally agree with you, how do you not get affected when killing another human being? How is it possible to function normally after such a trauma and then like you said, it’s normal for soldiers – it’s what they do and get paid for. I’m so against it, I mean, watching someone die brings a tear to my eye and still this is an everyday thing for them.

  3. Galen says:

    Thanks for the comments Alwyn and Quin. I wouldn’t agree that killing is “normal” for soldiers, or for anyone for that matter. That’s kind of the point. Warriors are trained to the point where killing when necessary becomes almost second nature – muscle memory; and this can have a long term effect on someone if they do take life and reflect on that fact thereafter. Soldiers like the US marines are trained to “protect life to the point of killing”, but the reality of warfare the world over reflects something a little nastier and sinister than that…

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