Posted by Gracie2 on October 20, 2001, at 2:01:35
In reply to Warfare and self-destructive tendencies » Gracie2, posted by Mitchell on October 18, 2001, at 21:17:34
I should have qualified. The suicide rate of average American civilians, during a major war that involves America, drops significantly. Many people are desperately in need of a purpose in life and may latch onto anything from Jim Jones or Charles Manson to Heaven's Gate, which I believe is the name of the cult who submitted to castration and committed suicide because their
spaceship, traveling behind a comet, had arrived to transport them to paradise.
This is probably close to the mindset of a terrorist. I remember reading a story about the SLA (the kidnappers of Patty Hearst), holed up in
a house surrounded by police and SWAT teams. There was no way they could escape except for surrendering, but they were determined to fight to the death. Once the house caught on fire, they chopped a hole into the basement through the bathroom and turned on all the faucets so that the water would pour into the basement through the hole, just to give themselves a few extra minutes to continue shooting before they burned to death.
Unbelievable. They didn't even have the ceremony
and honors that were bestowed to WWII kamikaze pilots before leaving on their suicidal missions.
I don't pretend to understand this kind of fanaticism. I think the Columbine High School shooters were losers with a capital "L" and, having a teenager myself, I hope they're rotting in Hell.
Uncharitable as that is, I think the nearest that an average American may become to a terrorist is when someone hurts their children. F*** with me, but not my kids.
Anyway. (I could probably be a good writer if I learned to focus.) During wartime, suicide rates
among American civilians drop because they suddenly have a purpose in life and suitable actions they can take to support that purpose; they also have a person or country or figurehead on which to focus their hatred. During WWII, it was the Germans and the Japanese, and we responded with war bonds, victory gardens, women manufacturing ammunition and putting together "care packages" for the men overseas, working for the USO or even joining the WAC.
It may also interest you to know that I was active duty Army for 7 years although I was not, thank God, in service during any major conflict.
My basic training was co-ed; there was no such thing as a "female push-up" at Fort Jackson and there was no excuse or concession for being a female; in fact, crying or complaining about "our monthlies" - as the drill sergeants referred to menustration - made them furious, and we were punished with push-ups or whistle drills in the sandpit. We did everything the men did, everything. We ran until we puked, and then we ran an extra mile as punishment for getting sick.
I bring this up only to point out that basic training is brain-washing. You're not a male or a female; you're not an individual at all. Your survival, as a person, is unimportant compared to a successful mission. You're taught to obey orders from a superior without question. To turn and run from a dangerous situation, once you've been ordered to do so, is the worst kind of treason. You're betraying your country and your fellow soldiers who are also, often, your best friends. In short, you're a coward and you are scum. That's what the Army teaches you.
I am as patriotic as the next person, but I have no love for the Army. I think that we've made world peace our business when it is not our place to do so; we send troops where they do not belong.
My brother was killed in an airplane crash on his way home for Christmas, along with 250 other soldiers, after a 6-month "peace-keeping" mission in the Sinai, where we had no business to be in the first place. Somehow, a folded flag and an urn of cremated ashes does not take his place.