It must be true since Jane Fonda says so (my "thanks" to Winds of Change for this link):
"Hanoi Jane" Fonda is claiming that ever since Vietnam, U.S. troops have been trained to commit atrocities against innocent civilians as a matter of military policy.
"Starting with the Vietnam War we began training soldiers differently," the anti-American actress says in an email to the Washington Post.
Fonda claims she learned of the policy switch in "secret meetings" she had with military psychologists "who were really worried about what was happening to our combat personnel."
One doctor, she insists, told her U.S. troops had been deliberately trained to be "killing machines."
Who knew? I thought I was being trained to kill the enemy and keep myself alive through repeating shooting drills until it was second nature. I must have blanked out the Zippo and thatch-roof drills.
Reacting effectively instead of freezing in place is the goal of this training. I never had to put this training to the test, and as a signal guy it is unlikely I would have even if I'd even been sent off to war (which I was not). But I did get a sense of the usefulness of this approach in basic training. We focused on exactly two things every day--shooting and physical conditioning. Everything else was gravy. We learned lots of stuff, but qualifying on the M-16 and passing the PT test were the only things that really mattered.
One of the tasks we practiced over and over was clearing a jam. SPORTS was the acronym. Slap the magazine, Pull the charging handle, Observe the chamber, Release the charging handle, Tap the forward assist, and Squeeze the trigger (and this is from memory--I haven't fired a weapon since 1993). In combat, this is something a soldier needs to do fast and automatically. My weapon jammed only once in basic--during my firing qualification. This was the only one that counted and so it was very tense for all. I needed to pass to get out and the drill sergeants could only observe--not intervene to help. All through basic my marksmanship was just barely enough to qualify. So close that I received some extra attention to make sure on the day I had to do it for the record I would pass.
Like I said, my weapon jammed during qualification. I can only imagine the worry of the drill sergeants who could only watch helplessly as I stopped firing. But even though I'd never had to clear a jam while actually firing, my training kicked in. I went through the steps rapidly and coolly, cleared the jam, and even though I left a couple rounds in the dust, I did not panic and try to reload the magazine. Nor did I point my weapon anywhere but downrange as I worked. I reacted as trained.
When I resumed firing, I simply passed over the long-range targets that I'd miss anyway to pick off the closer ones as they popped up. I passed with about my average score. Training was the difference. I reacted robotically, you might say.
But I honestly can't remember the atrocity unit of instruction. But Jane says it's true so who am I to argue? I was a trained killbot programmed to commit atrocities.
So next time somebody wants to send me a hostile email, remember that I might just kill your chickens, ravage your women, slaughter your kinfolk, and burn down your hut (or mix and match to suit my mood). And then I'll put the 3 of clubs in your napalm-blistered fingers (I assume the better cards are reserved for actual combat troops, but that I'd qualify for something above the combat service support troops' "2's").
And as Jane says, who could blame me? I'm just another poor victim of the great big green killing machine.