Write an opinion statement discussing how war desensitizes us to the suffering of individuals.

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At least for Americans, most wars are fought in faraway places. This physical division often creates a feeling of "otherness" for wars that seem to belong to people living in places like Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Somalia.

There is a risk of being desensitized to the suffering of individuals because we do not personally see the ways individuals are affected by wars in these seemingly remote locations. Additionally, the world has changed greatly since the days of the Vietnam War, when images of live battles and injured American soldiers were broadcast at home. At the time, these images were shocking to the collective American consciousness, but that is often no longer the case.

Instead, we live in an era of endless news and potentially endless images of terror. Our society constantly streams its horrors around the world to the smartphones we carry with us everywhere. What was once shocking is now commonplace; suffering and tragedy seem to abound in every corner of the world—even at home. And because it is so commonly viewed from our own locations of relative safety, there is again a danger of becoming desensitized to the tragedy simply from repeated exposure.

By nature, wars establish a collective us-versus-them mindset. There is therefore a tendency to view the "other" side as collective whole instead of recognizing the individuals who are suffering in the midst of war. There is also a tendency to imagine that this collective group of people on the "other" side have common beliefs and goals that we do not share, which further desensitizes us to the suffering of individual people.

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