The crimes of war don’t stop on the battlefield. Here is an account of how fighting in the first Iraq war changed Timothy McVeigh:
McVeigh was assigned as a Bradley gunner, and his Army buddies report that he was “just thrilled” when he blew up his first Iraqi vehicle. McVeigh’s friend Kerry Kling reports, “He said when they were invading Iraq he saw an Iraqi soldier coming out of a bunker and that when the first round hit his head, it exploded. He was proud of that one shot. It was over eleven hundred meters, and shooting a guy in the head from that distance is impressive.” McVeigh’s mother reported that he was “totally changed” by his experience in the war, and that when he came home, “It was like he traded one Army for another.” Or, it might be added, it was like he failed to respect the carefully nurtured differentiation between “heroic” and “terrorist” violence (Lee Griffith, The War on Terrorism and the Terror of God, Eerdmans, 2002, pp. 150-151).
How Many McVeighs Will This Iraq War Create?