At Psychology Today, Dr. Jack Shafer comments on the absurdity of the belief so dear to Americans, that wars are like John Wayne movies:
We teach our marines to kill and then wonder why they can’t do it humanely. Taking another person’s life is a difficult task. We need a reason to kill someone; a good one. Marines are told who the enemy is and ordered to kill them. The rationale for killing follows soon thereafter, for without rationale, killing becomes a difficult chore.
The easiest way to develop rationale is to place yourself above your enemy. I am better than he is; therefore, he deserves to die. In all military conflicts, the combatants demean their opponents, . . . .