63A Vane Attempt

"Don't Need a Weatherman To Tell Which Way the Wind Blows" 

A Series of Innocuous Blogs for Vainglorious Edification.


Return from the Wars
August 31, 2009

If there were ever a moment in human evolution when far greater sources of wisdom would peer down on mankind and ask if the experiment had been a success - this may be one.  We have arrived at a turning point.  At intersecting paths where we must choose between a leap toward enlightenment, or to remain in the murky waters of delusion.  It is a kind of cosmic test.  A test of our ability to look upon ourselves with unflinching honesty and know where we have stumbled.  But it is not enough to know our frailties - we have religion to remind us of that.  This test determines if we have developed the integrity to admit to our most horrific actions - and to rise above them.  It is a twofold process.  Admitting wrong, and returning to right. 

It is nowhere simple as it seems.  Because mankind until now has invented myriad ways to avoid admissions of wrong; and barely considered the return to right.  While religion encourages confession, it has not pushed us to take the second step.  That step is to know that we are intrinsically good and that re-grasping that good is within our reach.  It is a process built on fortitude and belief.  It requires the rejection of corruptive pride and adoption of humility.  It demands we not stop at the admission of wrong, but go further to rediscover that which we were created with.  Man is born in innocence.  Losing innocence is the work of primal man.  Regaining innocence is an evolutionary leap; a step toward enlightenment.

To that end we are greatly encouraged by the single, heartbreaking confession of one man.  His spiritual plight is extreme, making his struggle more significant.  It is the tortured confession of a man who admits to crimes of the most horrific making, carried out under the guise of the most deceptive reason.  Who he is and from where he has arrived is unimportant.  In the spiritual sense he is everyman.  It is the honesty and courage with which he speaks that matters.  And his willingness to rediscover his own goodness - that gives us hope.  He was found by people supporting recovery of those wounded in battle.  We reproduce the work here with kind permission.

“There is no greater journey than to return from the wars forgiving ourselves and our brothers, embracing the inherent good we entered the battle with.”

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“This is a confession.  It is the most difficult thing I have done in my life.  Difficult because I am burdened by shame and humiliation for the things that I have done.  They are things I never dreamed I would do.  Things that no man should do.  Under any circumstances.  But it was circumstances that caused me to falter.  Circumstances that twisted my soul from the decency it came into this world with into a conflagration of hatred, remorse and self-loathing.  The truth is I have committed crimes against humanity.  They are sick, vile crimes that even under the brutal rules of war have been forbidden.  Mine are crimes that cause immeasurable human suffering.  They are crimes committed by a man hiding behind a facade built by others who know what they do is wrong.  Without this facade the good in a man would so humiliate him that he would fall to his knees.  With the façade, a man convinces himself that to torment another has purpose and reason.  He clings to the rotting belief that his contemptible acts are a “duty.”  And that the fetid misery he visits upon his fellow man is for the greater good.

I am no longer able to hide behind this facade.  I am, perhaps fortunately, so overwhelmed by shame that I have lowered its decrepit mask and now must see the monstrous creature I have become.  It is a creature as vile as the mass executioner.  Poisonous as the viper’s nest.  As filled with hatred of human nature as the most ruthless rapist.  What is it that brings about this self-hatred?  What is it I have done that causes this implosion of self-loathing?   I have tortured innocent men.  I have tortured men under the color of “law.”  And “duty.”  And “reason.”  I work for a government.  We have convinced ourselves and many around us that duty demands we spit upon conventions of humane treatment.  We have torn apart the rules of war.  We have trampled the demand for merciful dignity.  This is the cause of my shame.  Because I am the very man I set out to destroy.  Far from destroying evil - I have become evil.  I am corrupt and treasonous and a coward.  I have become the enemy.

While confessing this last is horrifying but true, it cannot relieve my shame.  And it cannot undo the unspeakable brutality I have forced on innocence.  I cannot retract the steps where I overlooked the electrocution of a man in the sick hope of extracting information.  And later when he was injected with disease-inducing chemicals I compartmentalized my guilt.  I tucked it away behind a door that said “Vile But Necessary.”  It is where I locked many horrific images.  The man whose mind was so emulsified by radiation he spit up pieces of his own brain tissue.  Blood flowing from his nose, grey mucous that was his brain dripping down his chin.  Had I not suffocated the tiny spark of good in me - I would not have used that door.  But I succumbed to lies.  I listened to those who commanded that we do the ugly, brutal things to keep our people safe.  Of course the unspoken truth - how could we keep safe from the ruthless evil that was us?

I began my life wanting only to do good and true things.  I knew the difference between right and wrong.  I did not learn this.  I knew it because I listened inside of me.  That voice or spirit gave me the proof I needed to know what was good and what was not.  But when I began to listen to the drumbeat of “duty” and “reason” - I rejected that voice.  I substituted the inherent good in men with calculating logic and compromise.  It was the beginning of my corruption.  Followed soon by the suppression of guilt and horror.  I substituted external whispers for the internal ones.  The external whispers are those of cowards and liars and contempt.  The internal whispers are those that drive me to confess.  As I do now.  Expressing my deepest sorrow.  Asking humble forgiveness.  Hoping only that it is not too late.  And that redemption is available to all who believe in it.  And that the path back to inherent good is never lost… is never, never gone.”

An anonomous man.