This is something I needed to write for my own peace of mind. It's not a statement on the military - it's a statement about someone who is incredibly dear to me. Please take it in the day-log manner it was intended.

A quiet evening at home

Last night I looked into my beloved's eyes and listened to him tell me about the first person he ever killed. I listened to him as he told me indescribable things: watching the realization of impending, unavoidable death come over them; watching the soul fade from their eyes; the smell that only death has. I listened to his halting voice as I watched his face crumple and change shape, watched the pain choke him voiceless, watched him come through to the other side of that wasteland and become familiar again.

He said,
"You know, people don't stop and think before they join the military. They join to get training, they join for the G.I. Bill. There are good reasons to join, but those aren't it. They don't realize that they might die for their college education. Or worse, they might have to kill."
"The first one is the hardest. The first one is the one you remember; the one whose face stays in your mind. It's been twelve years and I could draw you a picture of his face. After the first, they all became faceless."
"Killing gets easier and easier. After a while, you look at yourself, and what you are is terrifying."

I know nothing. I have lived through nothing.