The combat environment has the effect of flattening out civilian identities. If you're young or old, or a graduate from Harvard or the son of a farmer from Alabama, or if you're gay or straight or good-looking or ugly: none of those things matters much in combat, as long as you can conform to the group expectations.
Of the primary emotions, fear is the one that bears most directly on survival. Children show fear. Adults try not to, maybe because it's shameful, or, in some circumstances, dangerous. The fear response is automatic, though, and your body runs through its reflexes whether you want it to or not.
I have been working since I was 20, and I'm 38. I actually once averaged out what I had made over my professional life. I think I could have made that much as a waiter or an insurance salesman. You know, I spent so many years in my 20's making $10,000 a year.
No matter how many people you kill, using a machine gun in battle is not a war crime because it does not cause unnecessary suffering; it simply performs its job horrifyingly well.
I think, unfortunately, we live in a world where people attack other people and I think a legitimate rationale for war is the saving of human life, the saving of lives of people who cannot defend themselves.
When you're scared, you're still hanging on to life. When you're ready to die, you let it go. A sort of emptying out occurs, a giving up on the world that seems oddly familiar even if you've never done it before.
The negative effects of combat were nightmares, and I'd get jumpy around certain noises and stuff, but you'd have that after a car accident or a bad divorce. Life's filled with trauma. You don't need to go to war to find it; it's going to find you. We all deal with it, and the effects go away after awhile. At least they did for me.
No one will remember that President Obama supported the Arab Spring if it eventually fails and the region collapses back into the political Dark Ages. If we actively engage these movements with advice, with money, and, when necessary, with military force, then we get a vote in how it all turns out.
What is and isn't justified by military necessity is, naturally, open to interpretation. One of the key concepts, though, is the law of proportionality. A military attack that results in civilian casualties - 'collateral damage' - is acceptable as long as the military benefits outweigh the price that is paid by humanity.
I don't think people would climb mountains or jump off bridges with parachutes or kayak Class V rapids if those things didn't offer the brief and horrible illusion of imminent death. They would just be complicated, time-consuming endeavors that we'd steer well clear of because they got in the way of real life.
If you get an infection, you get a fever; the fever is your body dealing with the infection. If you get traumatized, your mind and your brain have a reaction to that trauma. If you're not dreaming about it, something's probably wrong.
My wife, Daniela, and I live in an old house from 1810 with three fireplaces at the end of a dead-end dirt road on Cape Cod, so I turn the trees into firewood for us and a friend of mine sells the rest.
The Kosovars were granted autonomy at the end of World War II, but then aspiring president Milosevic had the autonomy revoked in 1989, and the Dayton Accords of 1995, which ended the recent war in Bosnia and Croatia, failed to address the issue of Kosovo's status.
There are no journalistic ethics that transcend the value of human life. There are none. In a situation where you can save a human life, you must. There isn't any conflict in my mind.
I went to Afghanistan in '96 to write about terrorist training camps south of Jalalabad and Tora Bora, in the mountains. I was there right before the Taliban took over, literally a few weeks before they took Kabul. The frontline wasn't terribly active, but it was definitely there. And they swept into power.
Well, you got to remember, bin Laden killed 3,000 Americans and, in some ways, he and his ideology killed tens of thousands of his fellow Muslims, including Pakistanis. I understand that that was provocative and complicated for Pakistan, but only if you accept the idea that he was an acceptable member of Pakistani society.
In some ways, risk-taking is the ultimate act of self-indulgence, an obscene insult to the preciousness of life. And yet, how can one dismiss something that persists despite every reasonable theory that it shouldn't?
I decided to start a medical training program for freelancers, only freelancers. They're the ones who are doing most of the combat reporting. They're taking most of the risks. They're absorbing most of the casualties. And they're the most underserved and under-resourced of everyone in the entire news business.
One could reasonably argue that the Turkish pogrom against the Armenians during World War I qualifies as a crime against humanity, as does the United States' ethnic cleansing of Native Americans.
Here's an easy way to see if a war movie is being truthful: If you see an explosion on a faraway hillside and the sound of the explosion and the detonation of the bomb happen at the same time - if they're putting the sound and the vision together in the same moment - they're going toward our cultural understanding of war, not the reality of war.