This was in The Guardian last Saturday. I found it moving.
The Sniper's Tale
Though I opposed the war, and still do, and resent being told that now it is being fought I should shut up and support our troops, I do feel that some support is required. Not shutting up. (What is the war for, if we lose that freedom?) Those who are bearing the burden of other men's decisions deserve to receive the cover they are promised, the logistical support they need, medical support, the knowledge that behind the lines are people working to make their task as easy and as safe as it can be.
That support cannot come from us. (I'd learn to knit socks if required.) It comes from the governments concerned making sure that everything about the campaign is set up to work properly. It should already be in place. The rest of us can pray - that's private. We can support families, if we know any - still private. We can urge that adequate arrangements are made for those returning after the war. That's public, and something that, on the evidence of Elizabeth 1's Poor Laws, has a long standing failure rate.
If we go out to say "Support the troops" it can too easily be made to mean "Support the War", and these two are not the same. With the warb now in progress, I support fighting it as cleanly as possible, as quickly as possible, and with as few casualties as possible, on all sides. Much of the talk I heard on the radio from the military this morning sounded as if that's what they would like, too. But I still will not support it as something we had to do, now.
I know that many join up because they do see it as a job that has to be done, in the interests of others who cannot do it for themselves, and though there are bad apples in every bunch of people, I wouldn't say they have chosen to join a group dedicated to killing, and insult them for it. I wouldn't think any serious army would find eager killers very reliable soldiers, anyway, and I imagine that a lot of the bad-mouthing the enemy that goes on is like operating theatre humour. It's needed to protect the mind from the unbearable.
Hold them in the light out there - they are all in a dark place not of their choosing.