People prepare themselves psychologically before combat and then seek justifications for what they did and what they saw during combat.
Soldiers do not have to seek justification for their actions, when they fully understand what it is they are undertaking. Field commanders each have a Chaplain assigned to them, and his job is to explain to their troops the morality of what they are doing. Tip-toeing by being politically correct, only to have soldiers see the dirty truth with their own eyes, creates attitudes like the OP's brother.
Moreover, if you were asked to kill the enemy as your brother was, you would find a way to dehumanize them, or you would not be able to kill. That's the way ordinary people cope with war. It is against our nature to kill another human being, and we must first prepare ourselves to do so when necessary.
Soldiers do not have to dehumanize the enemy, anymore than a father needs to dehumanize a home invader before shooting them to protect his family. I agreed with the rest of your post, but this stood out. Soldiers are not ordinary people, which is why they way they cope does not make sense to the ordinary person.
I do not carry distrust of other cultures in my heart, and I see no good reason why anyone else should. I see it as a very primitive and destructive way of thinking. Viewing others as inferior because of who they are is not about who they are, it's about who you are.
I sympathize, but this is moral relativism. The dignity of the human person does not equal the dignity of the human conscience. The belief that others are primitive, or at least not as advanced as us, is only destructive if it is not true. This is why spreading democracy has not worked in Afghanistan. The people are not ready, simple as that.
The belief that all of humanity is thirsting for the truth denies the obvious truth that there is genuine evil in this world that manifests in people who are no longer seeking the truth. To pretend that this does not occur in concentrated areas of the world is naive and dangerous, especially given that the reasons they occur are completely different.
Yes, I'm well aware of that. I did an entire research project on the subject my senior year of high school. I'm also aware that children of all colors are recruited by street gangs here in the United States as young as age 8 and get initiated by killing someone. Americans are just as capable of such evil as Africans.
And therein lies the reason your brother is ignoring your protest. These two scenarios are nowhere near comparable, and pretending one is as bad as the other would be laughable if it weren't so serious. You are not helping your case by pretending that America is no better than the rest of the world.
I am a veteran. Not only was I a soldier, I was also a Sergeant, a leader of soldiers. Your brother's attitude exists because he has poor leadership in his immediate supervisor. Sergeants are there to inform their men of everything they need to know to survive not just physically, but mentally as well. Their spirituality is in the hands of the unit Chaplain, and most of them do a good job, but some people still manage to slip through. I don't believe that Islamophobia is racism, in that Islam is not a race. When you're brother returns from Iraq, ask him what he thinks about the Chaldean Catholics and Coptic Christians. I bet you'll get a different answer.
Prayer always works, but how fast is not up to us. :thumbsup: