She Could Be Heroes

Senior defense officials say Pentagon chief Leon Panetta is removing the military’s ban on women serving in combat, opening hundreds of thousands of front-line positions and potentially elite commando jobs after more than a decade at war.

Associated Press

A World War II study determined that, after 60 days of continuous combat, 98 percent of all surviving soldiers will have become funpsychiatric casualties. A common trait among the remaining 2 percent was a predisposition toward having “aggressive psychopathic personalities.” Lt. Col. Dave Grossman in his book On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society, notes: “It is not too far from the mark to observe that there is something about continuous, inescapable combat which will drive 98 percent of all men insane, and the other 2 percent were crazy when they got there.”

War is necrophilia. This necrophilia is central to soldiering just as it is central to the makeup of suicide bombers and terrorists. The necrophilia is hidden under platitudes about duty or comradeship. It is unleashed especially in moments when we seem to have little to live for and no hope, or in moments when the intoxication of war is at its highest pitch. When we spend long enough in war, it comes to us as a kind of release, a fatal and seductive embrace that can consummate the long flirtation with our own destruction.

War ascendant wipes out Eros. It wipes out delicacy and tenderness. Its communal power seeks to render the individual obsolete, to hand all passions, all choice, all voice to the crowd.

War is the beautiful young nymph in the fairy tale that, when kissed, exhales the vapors of the underworld.

The ancient Greeks had a word for such a fate: ekpyrosis.

It means to be consumed by a ball of fire. They used it to describe heroes.

Chris Hedges

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3 Responses to “She Could Be Heroes”


  1. 1 roger January 23, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    Some may question the implied idea that seems to conflate the classical hero who sets out in excess to challenge the gods, or fates, with the modern-day soldier that kills, under military order and discipline, brown men, women, and children every day. They, however, might well be wrong. Unlike the poor young military man who is simply controlled by his fate and very un-heroically declines to challenge the gods (or his officers), the young woman soldier actually is heroic. She, whose fate is [more or less generally] surely to carry life and give birth, will have placed herself as antagonist to her fates. Heroically, by becoming a soldier and thus necessarily embracing the essential duty – killing, she will have challenged the gods. That, they say, is tragedy. I agree. Within a moral and rational policy, women have no place in combat. I’m no idealist about this – there are practical situations. Stalingrad. To repel invasion? Maybe. In a real emergency it will happen that women fight. That’s the way it is. But when a woman is ruined by combat as a result of an unnecessary and foolish policy, all her future children, if any, are very probably ruined too. And who will celebrate the lady nut-job psycos that will have been created. Will the boffins study serial baby murders and publish learned papers? How, in a female mind and body, will the awful things manifest?

  2. 2 possum January 24, 2013 at 4:00 am

    “…after 60 days of continuous combat, 98 percent of all surviving soldiers will have become psychiatric casualties.”

    Indubitable. So very sad. So very true.

  3. 3 Mike Lambert January 24, 2013 at 6:53 am

    Reblogged this on The Exeter Town Crier and commented:
    Madness


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