Let Cool Grossman uses data taken from both World War I and World War II, as well as the Civil War and Vietnam ears to support his findings that a human being, a war fighter, a man whose job it is to kill will reluctantly if at all take another human beings life. It is blatantly obvious as shown in the research how hard the soldiers tried not to kill. During the Civil War research shows that during battle only two to three enemy soldiers died a minute. This is a profound occurrence when hundreds of men stood thirty to forty yards apart. Most of the soldiers would either pass ammunition, run messages, load weapons, or hide.
Very few soldiers actually shot at the enemy. Let Cool Grossman states that the combatants of he war had a strong diversion to wanting to kill one another. The problem with this is all the training the soldier goes through to become an actual hereafter. A soldier is trained and trained to fire in the face of the enemy. But why, if the average war fighter is well trained, do they go against their training? An answer for that could be fear. Fear can be a debilitating psychological factor. Strong morals can also keep a soldier from taking a life even at the risk of his own or the lives of his companions.
Let Cool Grossman uses data from General S. L. A Marshall to show the firing rates of the war sighted in World War II, General S. L. A. Marshall took information from troops from right after battles. He noticed that only fifteen to twenty percent of his troops fired at the enemy. He also noticed that when they were in groups of about seven only about one or two would actually fire their weapon while the others would actually do other tasks. Let Cool Grossman believed that soldiers did one of four things when being fired upon by the enemy, he believed that the soldier would either fight, posture, submit, or run away.
This is why there were so few casualties a minute, many of the soldiers would either postured y shooting over the enemies head, submitted to the thought that the enemy would win, or would be fleeing in the face of danger. In order to try to get soldiers to fight they need training, however training doesn’t always work on the human mindset. Let Cool Grossman also found that men have a strong aversion to killing at a close range but not as much so at a far range. This is possibly due to the thought that killing could be considered a close and personal affair.
Most soldiers find it difficult to kill close up and personal given the fact that being So close you can see the fading life from your foe. These same soldiers find it a lot easier to kill from afar because it is a much less personal affair. They may find that it is easier to imagine that what they are killing isn’t human but some distant object. This is probably how bombers were able to kill hundreds. They never actually saw anyone dying up close. While on the other hand soldiers who may have only killed one or two enemy combatants are traumatized by what they have seen and done.
They are nepenthe same people again. This is probably why soldiers were unable to pull the trigger so to speak, they were afraid of what they may become or owe the act of killing would change them. War Fighters who kill at midrange still have the ability to deny the fact that they were the one to pull the trigger that ended an enemy combatants life. According to an interview in Let Cool Groomsman’s book many veterans used this as an excuse when asked if they had killed anyone, or if someone else did. World War I veterans used grenades as a way of distancing themselves from the intimate act of killing.
It did not hurt as bad if you could not see or hear the men you were killing. Let Cool Grossman goes on to say that close range killing is even harder, close rage ailing makes the killer have to take ownership of the kill. He has to take on the guilt and remorse of taking another humans life. There is no denying what they have done. Most soldiers get violently sick after a very brief period of ecstasy, they’re excited to have hit the target but get sick realizing that target was a human being. In war Let Cool Grossman states that it is much easier to kill the enemy if they have turned their backs and started to flee.
This is largely due to the fact that the shooter, or backstabber if you will, can no longer see his intended victims face. This makes it seem as if the intended target is not itching you kill him. It takes the intimacy out of the picture and makes It much easier to kill. Leadership is another factor when it comes to killing. A platoon of men can go into combat and if not instructed to will not fire at the enemy. It is up to the leader to demonstrate and provide information on what needs to be done. The leader needs his men to know that he expects them to fire at and kill the enemy.
This can be seen in the Roman legions, the Roman legions had a strong leadership core that gave strong instructions to their men about what was expected of them. Obedience is another factor in a roofs willingness to kill. The group looks to the leader for authority and the orders. The group wants to listen and obey; deep down we want to obey the orders that have been given to us. A large factor in being able to kill is not for self-preservation but for the war fighters’ comrades. It is not the individual that is doing the killing but the group as a whole, they are fighting and killing together.
The fact that the individual is so integrated into the group that the groups’ morale and depression affects the individuals morale and depression. This can be seen among the Japanese fighters in World War II, if the unit mimed like it was going to lose the unit would not surrender but commit mass suicide. An individual can get so ingrained into the group that they rather die than see their fellow companions and comrade in arms get wounded or killed. Being in groups can lead to even greater violence than was previously thought possible. The group offers a degree of animosity that makes it easier to kill.
The individual thinks to themselves that while in a bigger group no one would know how violent they can actually be or were at any given time, a crowd intensifies emotions. Whether this emotion is anger, ay, love, or fury it is intensified and amplified by the group, this also goes for aggression and violence. All emotions and reactions become more and before when something was solely felt by the individual is now felt and expressed by the entirety of the group. This is why some individuals hidden in a group setting commit atrocities in war.
Another way of making it easier to kill is to put distance between the target and yourself emotionally. This is not always a possibility; it is quite possible that in a lull of battle you may make contact with the enemy just as you would with any other human being and not as an enemy combatant. This however would make it that much harder to kill them later on. On the other hand it could make it easier emotionally. You could see them as an inferior human being or not as a human at all. It is easier to kill someone who does not have the same beliefs as you or who looks completely different from you.
Propaganda comes into play here, which can convince soldiers that the people they are fighting aren’t really people at all. This is why war fighters come up with nicknames for the enemy; it helps them think that they are “inferior forms of life”. Soldiers need affirmation that what they are ongoing is right, they need to know that they are killing the enemy combatants and not an innocent civilian. Many soldiers found it difficult to fight the women and children in Vietnam, even if they were attacking them. This is because the American war fighter has a strong moral compass.
Then you have the soldiers and war fighters who, unlike many, have a predisposition to violence and the ability to kill. These men may not have started out this way but have been conditioned to be hardened killers. For the men who make up this portion of the war fighters it may not be in their nature to kill but their raining made them killers. Many men can find solace in killing the enemy after a comrade or leader has been killed, this can aggravate a soldier into a killing frenzy. Then again there is such a man called the “Natural Soldier. The natural soldier finds his home in the army, he may not revel in the kill but he sees no problem doing it if he deems that he was in the right. The natural soldier is few and far between and is so spaced out in the Army or Marine Corp. that they do not make a real difference. These are the men who usually go later on to do mercenary work because that is what feels most like what hey should be doing. Another type of soldier is the aggressive psychopath or sociopath. This is not to say that they will go on a killing spree but that they will have no remorse or regret that comes with killing.
These are the type of men that the movies are about, men like Aroma who can kill hundreds and not even flinch. Not all of these men are sociopaths in the way you would think; many of them are productive members of society that in time Of War are able to replace their sense of morals and beliefs with a sense of duty and obligation. Many things go into the process of killing for the individual. These hinges include authority, group mentality, and distance to the victim. Is the soldiers leader demanding for him to kill? How far away is the soldier from the group? Is the soldier far away or close to the target?
What is the benefit of killing this individual? All these variables play into the war fighters mind when he thinks about taking away the life of the enemy combatant. Many of these factors can be seen in suicide bombers. They take on the beliefs of their religious leaders, however extreme they can be, and use their own lives to take the lives of the infidel [us]. Taking the life of the enemy is no small task. Keeping the right mind set is even harder. Everyone wants to feel that their kill was justified, that it meant something. They want to know that they just took a life for a reason and not just because.
The soldier also does not want to take the chance that if they do not take the shot then what could happen. Could this person shoot me or the men around me? This is the difficulty of guerrilla warfare. Anyone could be an enemy combatant and you just don’t know who it is. This is the type of warfare that was present in Vietnam and led to incidents like My Alai. This is type of warfare that the US military has been p against during the Iraqi and Afghan wars. But we have to be careful not to create atrocities like what happened to My Alai so as not to set the civilians against us.
Atrocities have been being committed thought the centuries, from the time of the Mongols until now. Soldiers sometimes find themselves committing atrocities. They find that Atrocities give them power even if it just a small amount. It gives them power over the enemy. They feel that they receive a sense of empowerment from treating other people this way. When soldiers perform Atrocities in war they feel as if they are acting not awards human beings but toward vile creatures not worth to be alive. This can be seen in Nazi Germany where they murdered millions of Jewish people because as they said: they are not actually human beings.
Atrocities can come in different forms. One form is the act of terrorism. This form makes people to scared to act against their oppressors. America is fighting a war with terrorist in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is a form of attack that keeps people scared because they do not know when the next attack will come. Mongol invaders were able to make whole nations surrender without bloodshed just cause of their reputation to obliterate whole cities and countries who resisted their rule. Mass murder is another form of atrocity empowerment. The best example to give is the Nazi concentration camps.
The Nazis led millions to their deaths in the gas chamber or on firing lines just to show how superior their “master” race was. The Nazis were able to kill indiscriminately due to the group mentality. In the execution situation soldiers were able to aside morals to commit these heinous acts. They used moral distance, social distance, cultural distance, group mentality and Obedience to authority to go through with these acts. The soldier who performs these act must assure himself that he is not a murder and that these people deserved to die.
He has to prove to himself that these are not people but animals and he is the superior race who deserves to live. Despite the short term power gained from performing atrocities to ones’ enemy, it is on whole, self-destructive. This is true when you bring into the picture Communist Russia, Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, the ASK and street gangs. While atrocities may bring a group together, it, by its very nature brings many other groups against them. The countries committing atrocities now that other countries will see these acts as criminal and so try to take control of all communication and media and the people of the country.
Forcing soldiers to commit atrocities does not necessarily make them believe what they are doing is right but once they begin to feel empowered then they get stuck in a psychological trap. They feel that they are truly the superior conqueror. But at the same time this can come back to bite you. The Germans, while going through Russia, were greeted as liberators but due to their master race thinking the populace soon found them worse than Stalin. Atrocities also help to enable the enemy. When a group of soldiers performs an atrocity on another, it steels the hearts and minds against them and makes it easier to fight and kill.
Even with a group mentality, heinous acts of war leave psychological trauma from what the individual war fighter has done to his fellow man even if at that moment he does not see it that way. The cost of killing can be tremendous on the human psyche. A killer can be so focused on killing that often it is years later that his actions come back to haunt him. This is not always the case. For many, the guilt Of what they have done hits them immediately. The guilt can be so bad sometimes that enemy combatants switch sides to try to atone for what they have done.
Then there are others who refuse to perform heinous acts of aggression even at the cost of their own life. Their morals would not let them kill innocents even though it would mean their own death. Finally we have the kill. We ask ourselves what does it feel like to kill? Let. Cool. Grossman states that there are several stages of the “the kill”. These stages include the concern stage, the killing stage, the exhilaration stage, the remorse stage and finally the rationalization and acceptance stage. The first stage is all about how the war fighter thinks he is going to do.
Will he pull the trigger? Will he freeze up and let everyone down. This first stage is fear. The second stage, the killing stage, happens almost instantaneously. The soldier does not even think about it, he just shoots. It is usually a reflex from the intensive training the soldier received. On the other hand there are soldiers who are unable to pull the trigger. This is actually quite common. The soldier then has to come to grips as to why he did not fire or become traumatized by his inability to kill and become useless in combat. The next stage is the exhilaration stage.
In this stage the war fighter gets a combat high from his kill. Adrenaline flows through his body and makes him feel as if he is on morphine. Soldiers can get drunk off this feeling. They love the feeling so much that they feel the remorse. These are your natural born killers. They will keep looking for the next kill until the war is over or until they are dead. The next stage, the remorse stage can be very intense. For some it doesn’t come until years or months later but for others it is an immediate response. They get sick and throw up or they cry because of what they have just done.