yes???? to the first question, i’ll get to the second in a bit. i think it’s mostly like - without detracting too much from the horror of what happened to him, i think there’s an element of him that isn’t - more inclined towards what the winter soldier was forced to become, but an element that meant the bridging wasn’t TOO hard, wasn’t TOO different from what he was doing before. providing look out for his squadron, pulling a trigger and watching a man die two hundred meters away - so far away that you don’t even see the blood; the motive or the reasoning behind it isn’t the same as a political assassination using the same tactic, but the action itself - that’s not that different? it depends, i think, on what kind of conditioning that hydra was doing in universe (because we never got too much information on exactly what the electric chair did); they wiped his memories, but it’s obvious that they couldn’t wipe all of it. so i’m inclined to believe that saving steve and at least some of those sniping skills came from muscle memory - which means that the foundations for the winter soldier was laid before they ever got their hands on him.
so yes, dirty work and the ugly multiplied; i don’t think he could have ever become the winter soldier without hydra, but think about what he was going to do after the war - he was too good, had too much training and expertise for them to let him go. and what else was he going to do? if he had lived and lived through the cold war, i think he could have been persuaded to do increasingly shady shit as long as he believed that there was justification for it. the stuff that steve wouldn’t do and steve couldn’t do, but backed with an ideology that steve believed in and told to him in asides; i think he could have bought it. i think he would have done it, at least fractionally. so even if he never became the winter soldier by himself, just the trajectory of his life so far - the practicality and the pragmatism, it would have brought him pretty close.
which i think answers your second question? which is that just skills wise, not everybody could have. steve would have the physical make up for it, but it all depends on the conditioning. i think that after seventy years even steve would have broken; i think anybody would.
Me: Bless you
Friend: *sneezes five more times*