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imperialism & war

the most exhilarating thing I'd ever felt

"I'm confused about how I should feel about killing," says Dubois, who has a toddler back home. "The first time I shot someone, it was the most exhilarating thing I'd ever felt."
Soldiers hone killer
instinct in Iraq
Los Angeles Times

NAJAF, Iraq - Tucked behind a gleaming machine gun, Sgt. Joseph Hall grins at his two companions in the Humvee.

"I want to know if I killed that guy yesterday," Hall says. "I saw blood spurt from his leg, but I want to be sure I killed him."

The vehicle goes silent as the driver, Spc. Joshua Dubois, swerves around asphalt previously uprooted by a blast.

"I'm confused about how I should feel about killing," says Dubois, who has a toddler back home. "The first time I shot someone, it was the most exhilarating thing I'd ever felt."

Dubois turns back to the road. "We talk about killing all the time," he says. "I never used to talk this way. I'm not proud of it, but it's like I can't stop. I'm worried what I will be like when I get home."

The men aren't Special Forces soldiers. They're just ordinary troops with the Army's 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment serving their 14th month in Iraq, much of it in daily battles. In 20 minutes, they will come under attack.
Standard emotions 21.Jul.2004 10:41

pro peace

An AP article a few months back quoted US snipers saying how much fun they were having "taking out" Iraqis in Fallujah. You better believe these guys have learned to love killing. If they had to look in their victims' eyes and talk about their children and their families, they might feel differently, however. Maybe. The US military is all about turning our boys and now girls into killing machines. Love your comrades, feel nothing for your victims. The feelings have to come, though, in their nightmares, somewhere down the road at least.

A book by war correspondent Chris Hedges 21.Jul.2004 12:32


war is a force that gives us meaning

"meaning"? 21.Jul.2004 14:38

life is not a message

Remember the "Dadaists"?

Probably not :-)

Eighty years ago, after the years of pointless butchery called the "Great War," they said, "If this is meaning, then hurray for meaninglessness! DUBBA WUBBA WUBBA!"

Survival 21.Jul.2004 15:16


Really, it's a simple instinct all living creatures have. Kill or be killed. Especially when your life is on the line. Flight or flight. A proven adrenaline rush from from knowing it was either you or him, and your still here to tell the story.........SURVIVAL

Not just survival 21.Jul.2004 16:08

pro peace

Dear Independent,

The snipers, bomb droppers and helicopter gunners are not in immediate threat of their own lives. The adrenaline rush comes from the thrill of doing something evil and getting away with it without having to feel any sorrow for the victims. It's the same rush, but greater, that little kids get from squishing ants and bigger boys get from shooting deer and elk. It's a giving away to the darkness and ego of the mind, conjoined with a loss of conscious and compassionate connection with life.

"bigger boys" 21.Jul.2004 22:50

what's that about?

The "bigger boys" generally eat what they kill. Who's more "unconscious" and "incompassionate" -- a hunter with a personal experience of the wildlife habitat he's dependent on, who lets those deer & elk live normal deer & elk lives in the woods until it's primate-dinner-time -- or the much-more-numerous suburban primates who buy their slabs-o-flesh at Safeway that have been conveniently hacked up already so they don't look like factory-farmed animals any more?

Is this little slur really about animal rights, or is it just about hating rednecks and normalizing suburbia?

It's a cheap shot for any grown-up to accuse any other grown-up of childishness. We can all do it, and it doesn't prove anything. It contributes to the "who's a real man" culture of machismo. Let's just not go there.

war is a force that gives us meaning 22.Jul.2004 01:32


The book by Chris Hedges mentioned above is actually very good. The title is a bit misleading; the book takes an anti-war stance. It describes the massive changes that societies and individuals go through in times of war, and it describes the horrible reality of war. The author mainly recounts his experiences as a correspondent in Bosnia, El Salvador, and other conflicts. It's fairly short, and you could probably pick it up from the library. I thought it was worth a read,