Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Timothy Kudo killed people in Afghanistan.  He said so in the Washington Post.  As a Marine lieutenant, he didn't personally administer the lethal force but he was part of the machinery.  He gave the orders.  His thoughts as a veteran:
I can say that the ethical damage of war may be worse than the physical injuries we sustain. To properly wage war, you have to recalibrate your moral compass. Once you return from the battlefield, it is difficult or impossible to repair it.
I didn’t return from Afghanistan as the same person. My personality is the same, or at least close enough, but I’m no longer the “good” person I once thought I was. There’s nothing that can change that; it’s impossible to forget what happened, and the only people who can forgive me are dead.  

I will never know whether my actions in Afghanistan were right or wrong. On good days, I believe they were necessary. But instead, I want to believe that killing, even in war, is wrong.


Civilians can comprehend the casualties of war because most people know someone who has died. But few know someone who has killed. ...The question “Did you kill anyone?” isn’t easy to answer — and it’s certainly not one every veteran wants to. But when civilians ask, I think I have a duty to respond.

And if explaining what I did 6,000 miles away in a conflict far from the public’s consciousness makes the next war less likely, then maybe my actions weren’t in vain.

Combat leaves an indelible mark on the human spirit.  That mark may vary but it is real and always present.

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Anonymous Syrbal/Labrys said...

I'm not sure civilians really CAN comprehend this sort of change. They tend to think it is clear black and white Hollywood war choices. They don't understand a child crushed under a wheel that couldn't stop in time, or a family dead in the house of rubble when a shell went astray. They don't understand a dead 12 year old on a hillside behind a rock with his older(deader) brother's old rifle, who drew American fire when the bead-mirror bits caught the sun and glittered.

I feel less and less certain of the ability to communicate ANYthing real to about half the population.

11:30 AM  

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