dangling from your hand
the severed head of someone
not unlike yourself
War can turn a young man into a monster. Strip him of
innocence. Sculpt him into something far removed from what he was before
he was plunged into a battlefield he was unprepared to enter. A group
of teenage soldiers posed for a photograph with a buddy holding up the
severed head of a Viet Cong soldier. They were smiling, like deer hunters
after a successful hunt.
The severed head the soldier held above his head belonged to a human being.
A person, not unlike himself. The soldier and his buddies didnt
see the their prey, however, as a human being. They saw him as a monkey.
A gook. A canvas of skin painted with their hatred and scorn.
In a war they didnt understand, pumped full of fear and adrenaline,
soldiers watched fellow soldiers drop like flies. The carnage beyond comprehension.
Like something from a horror movie. Experiences that scar people for life,
alter their sense of right and wrong, slay their inner child. The dehumanization
of the Viet Cong Soldier was a venting of anger, a way of dealing with
the horror movie circumstances forced them to act in. It was a dastardly,
inexcusable act. A scene perpetrated over and over again by soldiers on
both sides of the battlefield. War can destroy a persons soul.
Copyright Robert D. Wilson, 2003