Shortly after Anthony Swofford turned 18, the United States Marine Corps trained him to live, think and operate. This made him into one of the most lethal humans who walk on the earth. The Marine Corps transformed him from a typical suburban American kid into an ideal fighting machine “through a perfected, scientific regimen of psychological rewiring, physiological restructuring, and moral recoding.”
After 10 months in the grunt lab, I was assigned to an infantry battalion. I operated with a new kinesiology of the body and soul that had not only prepared me for war but created a thirst for any brand of conflict. I had an understanding of what perfection on the battlefield would look, sound, and taste like. I had become a Battle Bot.
My lethality increased with each personnel addition: from me, the rifleman, to the four-man fire team, the squad, the platoon, the company, the battalion. Each time, add new men, add new hunger, more firepower, more expertise, more technology with which to lay waste to the enemy. As the fighting organism grows in size, so does the inability to pause mission and consider whether the killing is just or moral: the killing just is.
Swofford writes that American warfighters of every generation is handed excellent new gadgets with which they can play around with. After all, “who doesn’t love a new toy?” And for a soldier, sniping people down can be a fun activity.
And now, with technology providing us with new ways to kill people, without even stepping into the battleground, Swofford says that this creates moral distance, and that technology would increase killing.
Check out more of his analysis over at Technology Review.
(Image Credit: Pexels/ Pixabay)