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"Why Men Love War" Topic

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934 hits since 11 May 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP12 May 2018 11:49 a.m. PST

"I last saw Hiers in a rice paddy in Vietnam. He was nineteen then--my wonderfully skilled and maddeningly insubordinate radio operator. For months we were seldom more than three feet apart. Then one day he went home, and fifteen years passed before we met by accident last winter at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. A few months later I visited Hiers and his wife. Susan, in Vermont, where they run a bed-and -breakfast place. The first morning we were up at dawn trying to save five newborn rabbits. Hiers built a nest of rabbit fur and straw in his barn and positioned a lamp to provide warmth against the bitter cold.

"What people can't understand," Hiers said, gently picking up each tiny rabbit and placing it in the nest, "is how much fun Vietnam was. I loved it. I loved it, and I can't tell anybody."

Hiers loved war. And as I drove back from Vermont in a blizzard, my children asleep in the back of the car, I had to admit that for all these years I also had loved it, and more than I knew. I hated war, too. Ask me, ask any man who has been to war about his experience, and chances are we'll say we don't want to talk about it--implying that we hated it so much, it was so terrible, that we would rather leave it buried. And it is no mystery why men hate war. War is ugly, horrible, evil, and it is reasonable for men to hate all that. But I believe that most men who have been to war would have to admit, if they are honest, that somewhere inside themselves they loved it too, loved it as much as anything that has happened to them before or since. And how do you explain that to your wife, your children, your parents, or your friends?…"
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Gwydion12 May 2018 3:22 p.m. PST

Great article Armand. Not sure why it's on the Cold War page except the authors war was one of the Cold War proxies.
It's really a universal story about why and how men (people?) continue to go to war if it is so terrible.

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP12 May 2018 7:01 p.m. PST

Being a combat Veteran of Vietnam I have always explained it this way -- it's the same reason 17-19 year olds take their cars around corners at high speeds? You have to "feel it" to understand it.
Don't try to use logic and reason to wrap your brain around the rush?

Russ Dunaway

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP12 May 2018 7:34 p.m. PST

c.f. Anzio (1968) starring Robert Mitchum

"Nothing has changed, except the uniforms and the transportation."

Personal logo StoneMtnMinis Supporting Member of TMP12 May 2018 8:41 p.m. PST

Amen, Brother.


Wolfshanza12 May 2018 10:35 p.m. PST

" There is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter"

believe this was by Hemingway ?

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP13 May 2018 6:36 a.m. PST

I would assume that almost all small towns have a "dead mans curve" as I mentioned in my post above?

"where have all the young men gone, gone to graveyards everyone, when will they ever learn?"

It's not just war -- enough just never return from things like "dead mans curve?"

I now find it absolutely amazing that I made it to 68 ???
I am now the guy that will have a string of angry people behind me as I go 40 in the 45 zone, oh well -- where do I got to go in a hurry?

Russ Dunaway

Wolfhag13 May 2018 12:02 p.m. PST

My son was deployed 5 times in the GWOT basically hunting down bad guys and bringing them to "justice", many times face-to-face and very personal. I spent some time with his unit and I came away with the feeling they were a "death cult". Most were clean-cut young guys that looked totally innocent.

He said he needed to get out because he enjoyed it so much. He was starting to feel like a paid assassin because his team would select targets and determine the exact date, time and method of their demise.

He said in the heat of combat doing room clearing he felt totally in control and invincible, especially when AK rounds would bounce off of his body armor. It's better than drugs and sex.

He said that if he re-enlisted he'd go over to the "dark side" and spend the rest of his life doing it. He wants a real life and family so is back in college. There are thousands of guys like that out there. Some cope with it better than others. He told his mom he'd probably go to hell for what he did but would not doing anything differently.

Right now he gets 2-3 emails a week offering up to $120 USDk for a four-month contract but he's turned them all down but has friends over there doing it.


Personal logo COL Scott ret Supporting Member of TMP14 May 2018 9:57 p.m. PST

It is amazing how much Grace God has – even for us combat Veterans. Jesus even healed the servant of a roman Centurion (no blushing violet when it came to killing).

It is indeed a love hate thing that most combat vets understand and no one else really does.

Irish Marine Supporting Member of TMP15 May 2018 7:57 a.m. PST

I miss it, and my Marines everyday.

ScottS15 May 2018 8:05 a.m. PST

Love/hate is true, sir.

And, Semper Fi', Irish Marine.

Personal logo brass1 Supporting Member of TMP16 May 2018 8:05 p.m. PST

I told SWMBO long, long ago that there was only one set of circumstances short of death under which I would leave her: if the commander of the infantry battalion we worked with at Chu Lai showed up at the door and said: "Sergeant, we're going back to the bush and this time we're going to do it right."

That was almost 31 years ago and I'll be 70 this December but if the colonel showed up, I think I'd go.


Pyrate Captain07 Jun 2018 10:15 a.m. PST

War was great when there were no political rules. Like in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War; no beer after a mission? That's just plain un-American. I despise the mamby-pamby politicians and generals that enforced that rule.

Any nation that doesn't permit American's to drink isn't worth defending.

Legion 407 Jun 2018 2:19 p.m. PST

brass1 thumbs up

Any nation that doesn't permit American's to drink isn't worth defending.
Save for oil, and some archeological site … Don't think there is much else worth defending …

Joe Legan Supporting Member of TMP07 Jun 2018 2:37 p.m. PST

I have been to war but only as a medic. It is easy to understand missing the camaraderie of being in a group placed in a very demanding circumstance. It brings you very close. Something you can't replicate anywhere else except perhaps climbing Mt Everest or a deep sea mission.
As for the killing part, it is just conjecture but I suspect it is a combination of the "thrill of danger" as several have said and the professional satisfaction of completing a complicated task well. ( or not getting to as Brass said)
I understand it and think it a normal reaction.

Joe, MD

Legion 408 Jun 2018 6:59 a.m. PST

only as a medic
I wouldn't say "only" Joe … everybody was quite "fond" of the Medics and Cooks too. Thank you for your service … thumbs up gold star

It is easy to understand missing the camaraderie of being in a group placed in a very demanding circumstance. It brings you very close. Something you can't replicate anywhere else except perhaps climbing Mt Everest or a deep sea mission.
I can see that too, very much so … But for many reasons civilians, etc., really don't "get" that, from what I have seen.

Joe Legan Supporting Member of TMP08 Jun 2018 1:33 p.m. PST

Thanks. I say 'only" because in this discussion we weren't involved in any killing. ( Cooks would be debatable… :)

Agree with you that civilians don't get the military. I work in a 1K person hospital now. There are 4 prior military. ( that I am aware of) There is much we understand that there is no way to explain to the rest.


Legion 409 Jun 2018 6:12 a.m. PST

( Cooks would be debatable… :)
LOL ! evil grin

There is much we understand that there is no way to explain to the rest.
So very true … and of course the Media does not always help. But it is better than the many years after the Vietnam War. When I started ROTC in '79, when in uniform we got Hitler salutes, the finger, called names, etc.

It is much better now … but still some won't/don't get it so to speak. thumbs up

Legion 409 Jun 2018 1:26 p.m. PST

*Correction … I started ROTC in '75 ! DOH ! old fart I graduated from YSU/ROTC in '79 … Then went on active duty shortly afterwards …

Wolfhag10 Jun 2018 2:48 p.m. PST

I was in and out by 1975.


Joe Legan Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2018 6:20 p.m. PST

You guys are making me feel young! I entered in 1986 and retired in 2014. Of course my idea of "retirement" and my wife's idea were two different things. I wanted to read, write, paint and game. She had other ideas so I am back to work! It's not so bad though; down to 45 hours a week with weekends off. Nothing like the military.


Wolfhag10 Jun 2018 8:48 p.m. PST

There was a firefight my son was in and a Marine had been hit and dropped in the open. The Corpsman immediately rushed out into the line of fire and started first aid on him. He then took a round through his calf, gave it a nonchalant look and called back, "Ok, no arterial bleeding" and went back to work. He said the Air Force PJ's are real beasts.

I always felt a little bad for Corpsman. They join the Navy to get some medical training in a nice clean air conditioned building and then the Navy attaches you to a bunch immature young Marine grunts. Most of your medical practice ends up telling them to drink more water, pass out salt tablets, treat blisters and "swabbing bores".


Legion 411 Jun 2018 6:15 a.m. PST

I was in and out by 1975.

I think the phrase is "older than dirt ! LOL ! wink I hear the USAF PJs do a lot of the Medevacs in A'stan … NatGeo had a number of documentaries on them too …

You guys are making me feel young! I entered in 1986 and retired in 2014.
Young whippersnapper ! I've got t-shirts older than that ! … They don't fit anymore … but … old fart

Joe Legan Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2018 1:42 p.m. PST

PJs are beasts! Have been stationed with them several times and have provided them refresher medical training. They and the combat controllers are the toughest guys in the Air Force.

Agree with you about Navy Corpsman. Most of them feel somewhat screwed. That said, all that I have talked to that have seen actual combat felt they were doing something worthwhile. And as you allude too; their units felt great gratitude towards them.


Legion 411 Jun 2018 2:45 p.m. PST

And today in may ops, USAF CCTs accompany Spec Ops units in the field. As with a radio the CCT can rain death & destruction in massive amounts on massive amounts of the enemy/targets. As small Spec Ops units can get in there "deep". Along with their own organic firepower, the attached CCT or if need be the SF Operators can call in all kinds of smart munitions, etc. Inflicting many, many losses on those that are trying to kill them. E.g. ISIS, AQ, Taliban, AS, BH and a variety of other "targets" in the GWoT.

Lion in the Stars11 Jun 2018 3:21 p.m. PST

He said the Air Force PJ's are real beasts.

Freaking insane might be a better description. Even the SEALs think the PJs are extreme.

PJs are the only Chair Farce guys I will buy drinks for.

Joe Legan Supporting Member of TMP13 Jun 2018 1:00 p.m. PST



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