One of the most distinct messages that emerge from the story is the brutality of war. The sniper's mission is negation. His job is to negate the other sniper. He does not have to look his adversary in the eye and he does not need to know the identity of who "the enemy" is. There is a job for the sniper to do and he does it with focus and decisive action. When the sniper reflects on what he has done and becomes "bitten with remorse," one sees the story's message on war. There is little in way of victory at the end of this conflict. The sniper does not feel validated with what he has done. There is little triumph evident in the story.
The sniper's reflection on war as one where he curses everything and everyone reflects the fundamental emptiness that is part of the war experience in the story. Once the identity of the enemy sniper has become established, the feelings about the futility of war becomes the central message in the story. War creates death around the sniper and a sense of emptiness within him. In this message, the story details a very emotionally horrific statement about war.