first published on May 5, 2017 by Trevor
There is more to preparing for war than teaching tactics and training on the use of weapons systems. Knowing firing positions and understanding how to use terrain does not mean that you will be able to recall that information while under duress. There is no replacement for trial by fire, but we do a good job of mentally preparing infantrymen for war. With the slow introduction of images, videos, and ditties, the focus becomes combat.
It starts early on, in boot camp. Simply knocking the dust off a brush is done with three strikes to the floor in cadence with the chant “die bitch die”. Man sized and shaped targets, and strikes that emphasize killing blows help the mind to accept violence. The individuals who continue on as infantrymen use these as building blocks in the mental preparation that is subtly intertwined with infantry training.
Once infantry training starts, literally everything becomes about combat, and muscle memory begins to form. This is where every patrol leads to contact with the enemy, and every video is rife with engagements and death. It becomes a drug, the desire to fight becomes foremost in an infantryman’s mind, and the skills become second nature. This is the point where the ironclad camaraderie starts to form, because this is when a person starts to think differently than those they left at home.
Once an infantryman gets to their unit, the day to day life is spent training for combat or watching combat videos. Being an effective warrior is a lifestyle, and this lifestyle is efficiently fostered in every combat arms unit in America. It is all part of the necessary preparation, most people don’t understand, but thats why most people aren’t infantrymen.
This is not as terrifying or morally suspect as it seems on paper. It is simply the necessity of the job, a woodworker must understand wood, and a welder must understand metal. A warrior must understand and mentally prepare for the elements of war. The warrior must understand that they will have killing and death in their lives. Introducing this truth needs to happen before stepping on to the battlefield. A person will never have the full understanding until it happens to them. Some people simply aren’t warriors, and no amount of training or experience can change that fact.
This isn’t a study of the dynamics of the human psyche as it relates to war, which is a deep topic. If you have an interest in investigating a detailed study about the relationship between killing and combat on the human mind then I suggest you read two books. LtCol David Grossman has published On Killing and On Combat, that provide detailed insight into the subject.
The attached video and the popularity of this website are evidence of the mental conditioning that takes place in our warrior class. This video and the many others available on this site are a necessity, they are motivation for our war fighters. In a society that denies violence it is important to understand that our warriors use violence for motivation. This is no different than any other tradesman taking interest in their own trade. It does no matter if society accepts this fact, war requires warriors, and warriors require acute training to be successful. We have trained them to embrace the violence, and send them to execute it on our behalf. So we must also accept the desensitization as a byproduct, and accept its necessity.