‘When you kill your first person, everything becomes a fraud’ - US army veterans on war (VIDEO)
In sobering videos Lonnie and Daniel, both GIs during the Vietnam War, lay bare harrowing accounts on taking a person’s life. While the older veterans are reflective about death, a young US sniper Josh is more gung-ho and says he has used war stories to get ‘laid’.
Lying among dead and dying comrades to his left and right, Lonnie was a frightened young man when he first shot a Vietcong soldier. The life-changing moment, recalled with such clarity, came after he went to the aid of a fellow soldier whose intestines were ruptured in battle. “I was down and all I could see was his head and shoulders. He had a hard hat on and then I saw the red emblem… And when I could see his silhouette I blasted him,” he says, staring into the void.Lonnie video:
Only later in life did he reflect on the futility of the violence meted out during a campaign that left hundreds of thousands of people dead.
“Silhouettes - they’re not real people, they’re just targets. That was what we were taught to do…”
“Later after you get home… he was a young man, just like I was, only he was in his country trying to keep me, the son of a bitch that’s trying to take his country, from taking his country. “I didn’t try to make it wrong, it just was wrong. “I wasn’t fighting for god, country, anything - all that stuff went to the wayside as soon as you kill your first person. Everything becomes a fraud - they lied to you.”
Politically unaware when the Vietnam War broke out, machine gunner Daniel signed up for the US Army to retain his American citizenship, but soon found himself in a kill or be killed situation.
Trained to kill, he tends to shy away from the subject, simply telling people he “may have” been responsible for people’s deaths. Daniel video:
His first victim was likely a young Vietnamese man, who had his legs blown off by a claymore loaded with ball bearings.
Josh’s first kill is a graphic depiction of the advanced technology used by modern soldiers to strike from a distance. Serving during George W Bush’ ill-fated War On Terror, the veteran unapologetically describes how he came to blow up a person, before later gunning down a female fighter in an Afghan village. Among the green plateaus of the Shogran Valley, Pakistan, Josh says his division’s boots had barely touched the ground when he trained his weapon on his first kill. “My first kill was this guy. I just watched him running from a tree to a rocky outcrop… I aimed my grenade launcher and fired at him and I just watched my round go right in and nail him right at his feet. Just guts,” he explains.
“Everything is just split second… you’re a cut hair away from getting killed. It’s just pulling the trigger, you really just turn it into a job. You just want to get it done, because then you go home, go back to your bed, have a fake beer and jack-off.” Asked if he misses the rush of war, he adds:
“The war was awesome. It was so primal and deep almost. It felt like ancestors were inside me. “There’s nothing more manly than watching helicopters flying overhead as you shoot a bunch of dudes… or shooting a goddamn missile at a person. That’s awesome.”
Lonnie full video: