Sunday, October 31, 2010

Impurity of Arms

"'Purity of Arms' (Morality in Warfare) - The soldier shall make use of his weaponry and power only for the fulfillment of the mission and solely to the extent required; he will maintain his humanity even in combat. The soldier shall not employ his weaponry and power in order to harm non-combatants or prisoners of war, and shall do all he can to avoid harming their lives, body, honor and property." The Spirit of the IDF

Her Rachel Corrie Moment
(In Memory of Asma al-Mughayr*)
by Les Visible

the cross-hairs fix
across the rooftops
wind from the south -
... five knots
and leading across the space where birds
have flown
but now
in the hunter's eye
the young girl's form
in laughing dance
arms gathering the laundry

she dreams
and surely she must hope

as finger tightens
upon trigger...

when it came
the explosion was
of such a force that
he came too

like Romeo's ghost upon
the imagination's palanquin of night

the bearers of the darkness
they toiled
underneath the thrust
of bullet and finger touching
the silenced heart
blood like a fountain
sprayed upon the sheets...
... some secret code
... that she read as
she fell dying to the roof

this -
her Rachel Corrie moment come
round at last.

[See my 6/7/10 post An Academy Award Performance]

"On my right was mounted a heavy machine gun. The gunner (normally the cook) was firing away with what I can only describe as a beatific smile on his face. He was exhilarated by the squeezing of the trigger, the hammering of the gun, and the flight of his tracers rushing out into the dark shore. It struck me then (and was confirmed by him and many others later) that squeezing the trigger - releasing a hail of bullets - gives enormous pleasure and satisfaction. These are the pleasures of combat, not in terms of the intellectual planning - of the tactical and strategic chess game - but of the primal aggression, the release, and the orgasmic discharge." (Ben Shalit, Israeli psychologist, quoted in On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War & Society, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, 1995, p 136)

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