Previous section: “Dreading Events“
Today’s section from Descending into War, Descending into Contempt, pp. 25-27:
Similarities exist in gearing up for battles. There are physical preparations and mental conversations. Smaller battles require the same preparations as larger battles, if the stakes are crucial to either side.
In ongoing conflicts, preparation is muted by the need for constant engagement. These conflicts usually experience reduced physical and mental preparations. For fighters in from the beginning, the training and encouragement they received before feeling the endlessness of the conflict can sustain until it ends, if they believe in the cause. Fighters who enter midway, whether or not they receive preparations that rev them, experience the relief of the in-from-the-beginning fighters, and that welcome gives them a sense of purpose, or a sense of hopelessness, from the moment they arrive.
Involvement of commanders in the fighting is not the main motivator for engaging in the activity of death. The motivators are revenge, duty, and devotion to the cause. Commanders can rouse fervor, but even if they are absent, the fighters immerse themselves in the iniquities.
Fighters who are in it for financial reward or excitement have less motivation to wholeheartedly commit themselves to dying. For them, a commander’s presence influences performance.
Fighters who are forced to fight, those who have been brought in against their will, also require commander presence to engage in indignations.
When judgment-altering substances are used in “motivating” fighters (drugs [legal or illegal] or alcohol), brutality increases in the activity of death. For the fighters who live past their participation in brutality, whether or not they were given mind-altering substances, nightmares and visualizations will plague them in the current life and in the next life to come. (Nightmares and visualizations of blood-filled scenes plague all who participate in brutality that is excessive—even for those who only followed orders.)
Circumstances often influence the age of those fighting. Organized induction of fighters or the rise of an armed conflict create fighters of set ages. In these circumstances, age affects training and performance of responsibilities. Vigilantes, who gather their fighters through force or brainwashing, usually take children and very angry people so that they can mold them. When fighters join forces for financial gain, they usually do so to support a family, and are of varied ages.
Preparing for the fight uses cleverness, wits, and intuition. These things cannot overcome massive weaponry, but they are helpful in struggles where strategy is needed. Preparing for the fight when exhaustion has set in, leads to mistakes and lack of confidence by the fighters. No matter the preparations, though, the moments of meeting to kill are valueless.
Next section: “Ferocity”