WarGerhard Vinnai
On the psychoanalysis of war
(published in Handbuch Kriegstheorien 2011)

” … In war, the killing taboo is suspended. It even comes to its reversal when the state demands of its soldiers: ‘Thou shalt kill other people.’ The abrogation of a hasty taboo requires particularly sacred justifications. This taboo must lose its validity only when everything sacred appears to be threatened. In contemporary Western societies, the lifting of the killing taboo must be justified by the defense of their highest cultural values: war must never be legitimized merely by the defense of interests. The enemy must always represent diabolical evil, and one’s own camp must always appear as the embodiment of good. One’s own aggressiveness must be denied and projected onto the enemy as split off. Holy war demands that it always be presented as an act of self-defense against an insidious enemy who has forced peace-loving peoples to take up arms. …”

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