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Cognitive dissonance is everywhere:
How do soldiers come to terms with having taken a life in combat? Research has suggested that when people consider themselves to be â€œgoodâ€ but are forced to do something â€œbadâ€ to others, they adopt negative opinions about their victims to rationalize their actions. But according to a new study, this tendency may not apply to soldiers or at least not to those who have served in the Iraq War. American soldiers who have killed in Iraq do not think more poorly of Iraqis than Iraq War soldiers who have not killedâ€”they do, however, think worse of Americans who speak out against the war.
Wayne Klug, a psychologist at Berkshire Community College, asked 68 Iraq War veterans about their experiences, their thoughts on the war and their opinions about Iraqis and Americans. Compared with soldiers who never saw combat and those who witnessed a death but were not involved, veterans who â€œwere directly involved in an Iraqi fatalityâ€ were much more likely to consider the war to be beneficial to both countries. The finding is consistent with prior evidence that people tend to value outcomes that require great effort or distress. But although previous research predicts that these soldiers might disparage their victims, investigators were surprised to find that these veterans instead resented Americans whose opinions about the war suggest that their killings may have been unjustified. (Soldiers Who Have Taken a Life More Likely to Defend Iraq War)
For those who support “preventative” war (and those who don’t), let’s keep it real: children dying uncomforted in helicopters.
Update: If you don’t find human costs compelling, wrap your mind around $3 trillion for the Iraq war. (That’s $3 million million or $3,000,000,000,000.)
War is a Racket is an insightful book by General Smedley Butler, recipient of two Congressional Medals of Honor. His conclusion is that war is fought and paid for by the poor masses and makes money for the rich and powerful. It’s hard to argue with that.
Well, [war is] a racket, all right. A few profit—and the many pay. But there is a way to stop it. You can’t end it by disarmament conferences. You can’t eliminate it by peace parleys at Geneva. Well-meaning but impractical groups can’t wipe it out by resolutions. It can be smashed effectively only by taking the profit out of war.
The only way to smash this racket is to conscript capital and industry and labor before the nations manhood can be conscripted. One month before the Government can conscript the young men of the nation—it must conscript capital and industry and labor. Let the officers and the directors and the high-powered executives of our armament factories and our munitions makers and our shipbuilders and our airplane builders and the manufacturers of all the other things that provide profit in war time as well as the bankers and the speculators, be conscripted—to get $30 a month, the same wage as the lads in the trenches get.
Let the workers in these plants get the same wages—all the workers, all presidents, all executives, all directors, all managers, all bankers—yes, and all generals and all admirals and all officers and all politicians and all government office holders—everyone in the nation be restricted to a total monthly income not to exceed that paid to the soldier in the trenches!
If the nation is in such dire straits that it needs to go to war—to mobilize troops to foreign soil, I agree that it behooves everyone to sacrifice for the common good. I imagine we would go to war far less often if this were the law.
A U.S. airstrike on Sunday killed 47 civilians, including 39 women and children. Did you hear about it? Hmm.
Imagine if this had happened in the United States. Would you have heard about it then?