Relatively few soldiers actually perpetrate first hand the horrors of war, the rape, torture, and wanton murder of innocents that always accompany military actions. Most of those live out their lives in self imposed hell when their consciences catch up with their behavior. Only a very few become the professional killers responsible for the continuation of terror.
Most military personnel can distance themselves from atrocities. Artillery and aircraft crews rarely look upon the innocent civilians they routinely blow up. Support services enable the killing, but don't directly engage. Some of these folks later come to terms with their consciences, but some live in denial, building false stories about rights of passage and the glory of war.
Only one step away from these are the normal civilians of the militarized state. Though they distance themselves from war, they pay the taxes and salute the military. They consume the resources over which armies struggle and provide political justification. One needn't drive a Hummer and work for Lockheed to share complicity in the crime of aggressive war. If I use any oil or pay any taxes, my hands have blood on them.
It is a challenge to live in a militarized state and maintain resistance to war. It's about voting, activism, and speaking out, but to an even greater extent, it's about everyday choices to live peaceful, sustainable lives, refusing to accept the spoils of war.
Let's support each other's efforts to truly live by our values.