War is always about betrayal

A Culture of Atrocity by Chris Hedges talks about how occupation troops tend to psychologically drift from being a killing machine (fighting machine directed at the other soldiers of the ‘other side’) towards being a murder machine ( a group of soldiers that blames unarmed civilians for any harm that comes their way and then lashes out with atrocities). He mentions that when a society involves itself in supporting such an occupation force of its own troops, that it becomes a culture of atrocity.

Part of such culture is the constant betrayal of one’s own values, as society begins to break down into an ‘every for himself’ sort of mentality, both inside the military and in the larger society as a whole. The only antidote to that, is solidarity with others as opposed to abandonment of them.

It is hard to show solidarity, though, when one is running on fear much as the typical US soldier is as he works at occupying another society’s territory. Any solidarity then often seems like it is more risk filled than if one just acts as a hardliner and mows the seemingly dangerous person down. That’s why so many civilians go down in crossfire.

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