I have noticed a plague sprouting up on social networking sites. You’ll have seen it if you’re on Facebook, G+ or Twitter, even if you thought you’d carefully avoided adding anyone with inclinations towards nationalism or dreadful reasoning. I’m speaking, of course, about all this “help our heroes” bollocks.
Now, before I get lynched by a collection of gun-loving nutjobs, berieved relatives or deluded, camo-wearing, Modern Warfare fanatics: wait until the end before you fetch your torches & pitchforks.
I have a number of friends who have served, or are serving in the armed forces. One of my very good friends served in both Iraq and Afghan wars as part of the parachute regiment. He threw himself out of planes and fought against soldiers loyal to oppressive regimes, sustaining numerous injuries along the way, saving the lives of civilians and fellow soldiers countless times, and generally displaying great bravery. Every single person who has fired weapons at enemies in defense of what they believe in is a person I admire greatly for their strength, courage, and many varied skills. I do not envy them their traumatic experiences, nor do I wish to diminish their amazing feats.
What I do want to do is look at them honestly. They are not fucking heroes, ok? No servant of any military force with any sense of reality sees themselves as a hero. You know why? Because they have killed human beings.
I was once on the bus with one of my military friends, and in the course of a conversation about what he did for a living, someone asked him how many people he had killed. This fellow actually asked a man who has dealt with real situations that he had only ever seen in pixels, movie screens or on the news, how many brothers, husbands, fathers and sons he had slain. The brain-dead, inhuman, gun-shagging imbecile.
This is the kind of person who posts bullshit like “help our heroes” or “think of our soldiers this christmas/easter/friday night.” These morons who believe that going to fight on behalf of ones country is the pinnacle of achievements in life, oblivious their own ignorance.
Don’t think of our soldiers just because its an arbitrary day of cliches and ingenuine compassion – think about them a little every day, and use whatever means you have at your disposal to try to turn this hellish planet into a world where they’re out of a job, you dick-monkey! You want to help your “heroes?” Then next time the government decides that it wants to send your family members across the world to claim another patch of oil-rich land for our contractors, take the photographs of your soldiers to the protests against putting them harms way in the first place! Don’t pretend to support the military if you don’t lift a finger stop them being sent to a hell that you have only an idealised experience of.
I do not pretend to have any first hand experience of battle myself, but I do have knowledge of what war does to people. I have heard the stories and seen the injuries that result in young, intelligent, able-bodied people return from a tour of duty incapable of ever leading a healthy civilian life ever again. Do I want these individuals to be supported, financially, physically, psychologically and emotionally? Fuck yeah! I want them to be shown gratitude for the hard work they have done in difficult situations, just as any other human being who has done their job well deserves to receive.
Do I want them thrown up on a pedestal and paraded as the epitome of “heroic” behaviour? Bloody hellfire, NO!
You want to see a hero? Tough shit. We’ve just got humans in this world. Just wonderful, amazing, talented, ingenious, magnificent human beings. If saying someone isn’t a hero, but is a damn good specimen of humanity offends you – then your opinion of humanity must be even worse than mine, you poor sod.
Let me be frank, without (for once) any intention of offence: soldiers are highly trained, professional killers. That is their honest job description, as old as the concept of a nation itself. They are problem solvers for the issues that bother a country – usually the existance of another country in its particular, current form.
There have been attempts to justify military actions for almost as long as their have been militaries. Cicero, Augustine of Hippo and St Thomas Aquinas all came up with various theories of “just war” in an attempt to absolve the immorality of mass-murder – the latter two doing so for the benefit of a church who had so very often supported huge military campaigns. In the days of empires and expansion, from Rome to the British empire, it was argued that the army & navy fought to bring civilisation to the savage. During the world wars we were fighting against aggressive facism that threatened the lives & livelihoods of millions. These days, defenders of the armed forces say that they are fighting for democracy, or for freedom, or to release the population from oppression.
They may as well claim that we’re fighting for puppies, kittens and cute babies – it may have more effect as an emotional trigger. See, these apologies have never stood up against the simple fact that a military force, and all actions taken by them, are simply violent expressions of the will of a country. The primary purpose of any army, navy or airforce is to impose the will of one nation upon another. Can this lead to positive things? Without a doubt – the Nazi’s did not take over Europe; Iraq is still shakily taking its steps towards a truly democratic government; Libya is free of decades of dictatorial oppression. I have no complaint that the outcome of the majority of actions taken by the armed forces of the UK never result in any good.
The issue I hold is that a great many silly cunts still consider soldiers to be warriors freedom, crusaders for liberty, or bringers of civilisation to the uneducated. This is total bullshit. If our human weapons were truly intended as a humanitarian force, meant to quell unrest and release the downtrodden from the boots of their oppressors, then they would never have a fucking day off. We would send soldiers to Zimbabwe and relieve the government of their positions. China’s human rights record would not stand as it is. Israel and Palestine would not still be separated by a bloody massive wall. Why don’t we, if the military is meant for this job of spreading freedom and peace? Well, there’s no valuable resources in Zimbabwe, Israel has the support of the USA, and we rely on China to make our cheap consumer goods. It seems that the supply of low-price clothes to Primark is of more imortance than liberating the child workers who make them…
The military has its primary purpose of serving, defending and enforcing the interests of the government – which may not even be the same interests as the nation’s population, as we all saw when they ignored nationwide protests and sent troops into Iraq – on what turned out to be misleading (and possibly fabricated) evidence. Anyone who argues that their loved one is a warrior for the people is a deluded imbecile, blinded by the excuses made by ruling parties since time immemmorial.
That’s what I hate about war even more than the senseless killing, abhorent cruelty and simple inhumanity – the lies. Tell me we’re going to war to defend our financial interests & those of our allies, with an eye to also remove a dictator from power and hopefully provide a platform for democratic government when the dust settles; I may well still disagree with the violent actions, but I will respect the transparency & at least somewhat positive hopes of your motivations. Tell me you’re going to expend the money, resources & lives of your citizenship, purely for the freedom and democracy of a country thousands of miles away and at no advantage to yourself; I will laugh in your lying (or possibly very gullible) face, you wretched tower of human excrement.
So when you tell me that your child, husband, wife, or even you yourself are a soldier; I will tell you that I hope they return safely and wish them the very best luck. Tell me that they are a hero; I will laugh. Hysterically. In your naive little face.