Tim Kahlor, a veteran from the Iraq war, was not always a deprived tormented young man fighting against the ideals of war until he experienced war's actual casualties. In an article by David Zucchino in the Los Angeles Times, he reports how war molded Tim and his motivations for fighting before and after the war. After his first tour, Tim realizes that he was only fighting because of his fear of death and for his survival. All things considered, patriotism is the key reason that explains why we fight in the first place, but not after the negative effects of war. During war, soldiers fight because of their fear of death, causing their survival instinct to take over. They fight because the leaders and generals tell them to, meanwhile the leaders do not know the real horrors of war.
Tim Kahlor remarks that he originally joined the army to fight after he felt a patriotic urge to serve his country after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, like much of the other youth. However, after completing his first tour, he immediately turns against the idea of war. After reflecting on his reasons for fighting, he develops an anti-war sentiment: "There's no time to grieve in combat, so you just stuff it.You see your friend die and then you go back to work." Tim demonstrates how he fights out of fear and does not reflect on his inner emotions. This deeply affects Tim's personal life when he returns home "not caring about anyone - the military, his friends, his family, or himself.".
In essence, war has developed into a chess match between the players, or countries leaders, where the chess pieces are the soldiers told to fight for their country. Meanwhile, on the inside, the soldiers crushed innocence leads them to fight for survival. As shown in All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, Kat reveals the reason for Himmelstoss' unfair treatment when he says, "Let a man be whatever you like in peacetime, what occupation is there in which he can behave like that without getting a crack on the nose? He can only do that in the army.