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Lessons in violence

- By a veteran of the war in Afghanistan (2001-2021) In the winter of 2008, I was on the parade square of Lympstone Commando with the thirty others who had made it through training...

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Lessons in violence

By a veteran of the war in Afghanistan (2001-2021)

In the winter of 2008, I was on the parade square of Lympstone Commando with the thirty others who had made it through training. We shone in the November sun. The final words said to us by our drill instructor, and the only time in a career you hear the words, went thus: “Royal Marines, to your duties, march.” And then you’re off, and in theory, twenty-four years later, you stop marching and take your pension. I lasted three years, lightweight in Marine terms. As I often find myself explaining to my fiancĂ©e, there are various reasons that I didn’t last longer, not all of which can be covered in the required depth, and so will be skipped altogether. I have to just accept that much of it is down to me. I often felt a failure for some of the actions I took and things I did, but I now find some comfort that I was affected by war. That is, seeing the violence and what we were doing; being part of it did something to me. I saw and was affected by how dehumanising it is.

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