Killing in War and The Resulting Cognitive Dissonance

imagesA good op-ed in The Post by a Marine Captain who served both in Iraq and Afghanistan. The subject of the article is what a soldier goes through when contemplating the incongruity between the Commandment “Thou Shalt Not Kill” and the necessary killing in wartime.

Read Here.

Questions about Supporting the Troops in Light of Tragedy


I awoke this morning to find this article at the top of the front page of Louisville’s Courier-Journal paper:

A Louisville Marine was killed Saturday while supporting combat in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, the Defense Department has reported.

Cpl. Aaron M. Faust, 22, was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C.. His death is under investigation.

Faust’s family declined to be interviewed, instead issuing a statement: “We appreciate the concern from our neighbors. As you must understand, our family is still in shock, and we are grieving the loss of our son and brother. It comforts us to know that we have the support of our community, citizens and country that Aaron died to protect.”

Faust graduated in 2007 from DeSales High School, said Doug Strothman, president of the school.

Strothman said he didn’t know Faust well. But Strothman said teachers who knew Faust described a young man who “didn’t mind testing the waters of authority, but he would do it in a respectful way.”

In his senior year after a Christian Awakening Retreat, Faust began to exhibit heightened maturity, Strothman said.

That maturation furthered a few years after Faust graduated — Faust showed up at the school in his Marine Corps uniform, looking like a “significantly different” person, Strothman said.

“He’d really grown to be an impressive young man,” Strothman said.

Faust’s mother, Tess, is employed in the media and public relations department of the Kentucky State Fair Board, according to a separate family statement sent by fair board spokeswoman Amanda Storment.

I went to DeSales High School like Cpl. Faust graduating ten years before.

This news has caused much tumult within me today. It has me asking many questions that are very unpopular but but I feel need answering:

1)      Is supporting the troops mean that we also have to support the war?

2)      What about the fact that members of the armed forces have volunteered to be cogs in the U.S.’s imperialistic war machine?

3)      How should we parse out today’s volunteer army compared conscripts who fought in other wars?

4)      What should I think about Cpl. Faust when he was shooting people who are rightfully fighting against foreign invaders?

5)      What role do soldiers play when they are the tentacles that are on the ground involved in the, though accidental, killing of innocent civilians?

6)      What about Abu-Ghraib, urinating on dead Taliban fighters and mutilating bodies?

7)      What about the fact that many armed forces members come from lower to lower-middle class backgrounds and they join the military as their only choice to find employment or for funding with which to use to attend college?

8)      When people say that the armed forces are protecting our freedom, who are they protecting it from?

9)      Despite the fact that I am 100% against the war in Afghanistan, should I still attend a memorial service for Cpl. Faust if one is held at DeSales High School?