Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Should we excuse the soldiers?

I am a member of an email group -- a progressive one, by the way -- in which lately there have been posts from American members urging us to be nice to soldiers ... to send them Christmas cards and so on. My hackles rise at the 'Support Our Boys' voices on the Net, and I wrote this in reply:


I must say, I'm getting a bit weary of what I've been hearing since Vietnam, that because the youths they send to war are disadvantaged, they should be excused. That they should be treated as heroes.

Look, I know that a war is a gun with a working class boy at either end of it. I know that the military offers education (of sorts) and career opportunities (of sorts) that might be harder to get in the civilian world.

And I know that without capitalists and their lackey politicians there would be no war. But without soldiers there would be no wars either. Surely this war stuff has gone on long enough and it's about time that the egos of soldiers (disdvantaged kids or not) weren't bolstered by this culture of praise for their alleged heroism and patriotism. (Patriotism, certainly, has nothing whatsoever to do with the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, so let's discard that nonsense. Heroism? The Western soldiers are brave, no doubt about it, but their victims have less techno-firepower by a factor of maybe 1,000 to 1 and that's why 3,000 Americans have died yet over a million Iraqis are dead.)

I think that it's well past time to withdraw the warm fuzzy strokes from soldiers, and start to say, "Your job is NOT right livelihood, and unless all soldiers withdraw their labour, wars will continue. So, you should do the right thing, resign and get a proper job." There surely comes a point that the praise given to soldiers has to be withdrawn, because it's one of the few things that keeps these dumb kids killing. Yes, it will hurt their feelings, but the older I get the less concerned I am about the feelings of the millions of soldier boys, and more concerned about the feelings of their millions of wounded and killed. Fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity, and it's always at the behest of corporations. Enough is enough.

Maybe someone had a good excuse for war in 1200 or 1500 or even 1940. But in 2007 there is absolutely no excuse, and those who wage it are not heroes, but the enemies of peace, and we should call a spade a spade, in my opinion. I'm a bit sick of people excusing soldiers of their responsibility for the most evil thing on the planet. If that sounds harsh, so be it. Sweetness has got us nowhere when it comes to war. It must be stopped ASAP even if it means tough love, and telling a few home truths. Soldiers can get other jobs if they try hard.

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