How red are my hands? I descend from slave owners. My biological father developed weapons of mass destruction, chemical, biological, radiological, and advocated for them as somehow superior to nuclear weapons options. As a youth, American men and boys, not much older than me, were sent to Vietnam to burn women and children and villages, with napalm. Under 43 America murdered hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, tortured many more. I can, of course, go on.
I, on the other hand, have done none of these things. At least not personally. Still, my life is rich and easy because other Americans have killed on my behalf. How red are my hands?
Today we again are all witness to yet another senseless war. As in every war, back to Troy, or Alexander the Great, thru to the War to End All War, or Great Patriotic War and countless others after that, virtually everyone on all sides is so convinced in their own cause they are willing to die and kill for it. Everyone who goes to war has reasons, everyone somehow justifies killing and dying.
How can it be? How can some ordinary 18 year old German drop Zyklon B into a room full of people? How can an American pilot drop bombs knowing hundreds, thousands, even more, will die as a result? How can men in suits quietly sit around a table and order tanks and cluster bombs to shred the flesh of their neighbors? Their neighbors, their kin, their friends?
All too easily. All too easily. We now know from psychological experiments how easy it is to turn ordinary people into sadistic prison guards. You simply ask them, tell them these horrific things must be done. And they do it.
Cruelty comes easily to humans.
Hitler quite easily drummed up reasons to invade his neighbors. To him and the German nation WWII was totally understandable. America, just as easily, drummed up reasons to invade Vietnam and more recently Iraq. And there are reasons. There are always reasons.