We often hear about the trauma inflicted on those who fought in some of the U.S.’s less glorious wars—Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Less often do we hear about the toll that World War II exacted on the souls of those who came home alive and “victorious.” It doesn’t take defeat and rampant war crimes inflicted on non-Europeans to damage a psyche. This remarkable video, from the people at Story Corps, reminds us how even the most ordinary act of killing in a “good” war leaves the survivor scarred forever.
86-year-old World War II veteran Joseph Robertson fought at the Battle of the Bulge. Over 60 years later, he still can’t forget one soldier he killed there.
Waging Nonviolence is hiring a writer to interview leading movement figures and analysts and produce one Q&A-style article per week. The writer will work with our small editorial team to identify the interview subject each week. For the most part, we’ll be looking to hear from activists, organizers and scholars who can shed light on… More
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A comment: The narrator describes the person he killed as having blond hair and blue eyes, “like an angel.” That affects him deeply. Not to be cynical about it, but I wonder if he would have suffered less over the years if the person he killed hadn’t looked like him (or like people he knew). I wonder if American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan end up (consciously or not) nurturing a racist view of their olive-skinned opponents to better cope with the killing.