first published on May 1, 2017 by Josh
Combat is brutally ugly, regardless of what the poets of the past said about it. The animal side of men comes out, and only Ares himself can control them. Savage actions, seem not so savage. The life of another living, breathing person no longer matters, because their allegiance is not yours. In those few moments of combat where you encounter the enemy, the only thing that matters is your own life, and those who walk behind you, beside you, and with you. The enemy is not a man to you, not even a real human being, but just another obstacle that is in between you and your objective, whatever that objective may be for the people waging war. All of these things however, come to the human being at the cost of their natural inhibition for taking human life.
In this video, two men from opposing sides of the exact same conflict meet face to face on the field of battle. They can see each other clear as day, and for a brief moment neither man knows exactly what they should do. The Syrian Soldier, who is quickly being overran, knows that he should fight, but he is caught off guard completely. The Jabhat al-Nusra fighter knows that the man standing in front of him is the enemy of his group, and religion, and that he should fight as well. For a brief second however, neither man shoots, instead they both pause and stare at each other confused, their natural inhibitions for murder stopping them from killing each other instantly on the spot.
Heraclitus of Ephesus, the Pre-Socratic Greek philosopher once said that “Out of every one hundred men, ten shouldn’t even be there, eighty are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back,” and this video is what happens when one of the eighty targets meets with one of the ten men who shouldn’t even be on the battlefield. The target freezes in place, unsure of what he is supposed to do. Eventually his fight response kicks in, and he makes the decision to open fire, failing to kill his enemy outright. The man who shouldn’t be their immediately triggers his flight response, and makes an attempt at escaping to the nearest piece of hard cover that he can find.
Had either of these men been of the 9 fighters, or one warrior class of human beings mentioned by Heraclitus, this video would have escalated instantaneously without hesitation from either party. Those ten men are a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield, because they have already overcome their natural inhibitions for murder when it comes to warfare. They are the 10 men on the battlefield who have no problems ending another human being’s life. Instead of brutal combat though, this video shows us the ugly reality of conflict. Everyone is terrified, and no one knows what to do. The only thing driving either side towards their objective is the natural violence of action caused by brutal 21st century warfare.