Impersonal combat death dealt out from behind a machine

The stench of rotten flesh, filling our lungs with the aura of death as we wade through the constantly flowing mud.

Every explosion we've heard so far has been another family broken, another man gone from our sick world.

Every kill you make as a soldier is another man dead, his life just as important as your own?

In this war, we are all the toys of a grown-man's child's play, controlling you, telling you where to go and where you will die.

You thought it would be easy to take another life; you soon realise how it emotionally destroys you, seeing your own friends' limp bodies sliding down the infinite mud of these evil trenches.

Wishing it was you down there, wishing you could end this torture you signed up for.

In war, no life is sacred, we are all just slaves to our superiors, we are all replaceable and our lives have lost their worth.

Darkness falls, but the bombs keep falling. You cannot rest, you cannot sleep.

Nowhere in your trench is safe, but your trench is your only home.

It's worse at night, you can't see what's coming or where it's coming from.

Constant stress, no relief, no end. Yet.

Today, war is different; today war is a video game.

War is glorified by computer gamers and technology is taking away the responsibility of death, the feeling and emotion associated with ending the life of another.

Today's soldier will sit at his station throughout the day, much the same way as an office worker in the city.

He will kill hundreds of people with mere electrical pulses.

Some people innocent, some people guilty, but with no chance of a fair trial.

They are all just seen as hot spots on a thermal imaging camera, roaming through the skies.

There's no hand-to-hand combat anymore, no fear of a struggle.

You can't see the white in your enemy's eyes and realise that they are much the same as you.

This form of combat is unfair and disgusting.

The man responsible for the death of an entire family on the other side of the globe could be your neighbour, friend, colleague or even partner. They are sworn to secrecy.

He may not have the satanic eyes of a madman but he is still a killer.

Just as much of a killer as any other, taken over by the machine they control, powering them, giving them god-like powers, deciding who lives and who dies.

The man behind the machine becomes the machine.


• By Henry Greenslade, Year 11, Waitaki Boys' High School



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