Friday, 23 March 2012

#ReclaimFriday: For the War but Against the Troops Redux

Hearts Broken
Over five years have passed since the original post. It was always due a revisit. The original was inspired by Bill Hicks and was part of a 'what if' series. This time I hand the reigns over to the peacekeeping hippy Cosmetic Brain Surgery for his take.

Guest Sermon by Cosmetic Brains Surgery
It is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners. Albert Camus
From a facebook status doing the rounds in the US in July 2010
Lindsay Lohan, 24, is all over the news AGAIN because she's a celebrity drug addict. While Justin Allen 23, Brett Linley 29, Matthew Weikert 29, Justus Bartett 27, Dave Santos 21, Chase Stanley 21, Jesse Reed 26, Matthew Johnson 21, Zachary Fisher 24, Brandon King 23, Christopher Goeke 23, and Sheldon Tate 27 are all Marines that gave their lives this week, no media mention. Honor THEM by reposting!
Only the names and faces change
A typical red/left response to this would be to mention the hundreds of thousands of brown skinned nameless others, the hundreds of thousands of wounded and psychologically scarred. A blue/right response would say this was population control and we should start enforcing these kind of policies at home – except for the housekeeper as it’s hard to get good value for money foreign labour these days. Some hardcore war fanatics would add that this was all to stop terrorists, nearly two hundred thousand of them and a wounded terrorist, all four-hundred thousand of them, whilst not as good as a dead terrorist is a very close second. The bystanders in this ideological warfare could be forgiven for believing the whole world is populated by terrorists and just want to be left to live their lives in peace. 
Man has no right to kill his brother. It is no excuse that he does so in uniform: he only adds the infamy of servitude to the crime of murder Percy Bysshe Shelley
All too often conflicts are viewed with a lens of statistical analysis and labels of 'us and them'. No one really speaks for the children left behind and on the odd occasion when we do our humanity is directed to our own children [except when the begging bowls for aid come out - when it's okay to pity their children]. Throughout FutureHistory, what have children, regardless of the banners their parents bore, done to deserve to have their hearts so completely torn apart?
"The effect that the war has had on some of these kids who're coming home and having a tough time dealing with what they've seen — I mean, some of these kids are traumatized and mentally destroyed by what they've seen" [Tom Araya via MTV] 

In his take on this, GingerZilla effectively viewed everyone fighting as part of an institutional racist set up and sided with the Prophet Bill who once proclaimed
“aren't you [military] all a bunch of fucking hired killers? Shut up! You are thugs, and when we need you to go blow the fuck out of a nation of little brown people, we'll let you know”
Whilst this view has some merit, it is woefully limiting* and fails to take a human approach**, not recognizing troops as fellow human beings. This is a problem armies face as the psychological effects of war can be devastating for everyone involved. Human beings are not naturally killing machines. It is this flaw in the human psychological make up and the bad publicity of dead troops - as opposed to any genuine feelings for those sacrificing themselves - is why we are now moving into an era of drone wars. This limits the deaths of our boys and girls but does little to mitigate the killing and maiming of others, made saccharine by the use of that lovable term collateral damage. Ultimately it still needs bodies on the ground and that will always ultimately, through our weapons or those we fight, lead to the death and maiming of children. 
Although this child could not say 'enemy' they were one
We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other's children. Jimmy Carter
A pro war stance effectively aligns you against the troops fighting for you, as you are knowingly sending them to their deaths. That is not supporting them, but condoning their slaughter. How many who believe otherwise and speak of freedoms would send their own children? Michael Moore and Sgt. Abdul Henderson, shined headlights on the rabbits on the Hill when they asked this very question. Unsurprisingly, the ones who voted for the mass killing of trailer trash are unwilling to sacrifice their own little bunnies for the greater good.
Run Bunny Run.
A more sane approach would be to work together to not glorify the violent solutions offered up by politicians and the media. As a society we have it rammed into us that violence is wrong, that it breeds only more violence yet it is always used as the first not last resort in international relations.
"You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war" Albert Einstein, (attributed)
A more compassionate approach would be to reflect on the ones left behind and think of when they are returned to their families broken. Why should we just worship not honour the dead by learning from them.  Was this not the message we took after the vast slaughter of the Great War?
War can so easily be gilt with romance and heroism and solemn national duty and patriotism and the like by persons whose superficial literary and oratorical talent covers an abyss of Godforsaken folly George Bernard Shaw, Common Sense About the War
Instead of having charities to help heroes when they return to us broken, why not allow them be heroes to their children by being there and teaching them to respect what every human being deserves as their birthright. Life on this rock, is lonely, intensely hard and tenuous. It is unnecessary to increase the burden of others when we will all suffer. 
Insurgents, enemies or humans? 
We should be against wars not troops and make a stand against the governments and journalists of the world, not just in the West, who are happy to bang the drums of war. They sign up for the ultimate sacrifice - their lives. They can give no more so we owe it to them, as fellow human beings, to stop the killing. Would you ask your own child to kill another human being and be proud of it? Is that not a tacit admission of failure as human beings? mother would ever willingly sacrifice her sons for territorial gain, for economic advantage, for ideology Ronald Reagan
The guns and the bombs, the rockets and the warships, are all symbols of human failure Lyndon B. Johnson
A starting point would be stop the facile worship of troops as something greater than they are, when after all they are just frail human beings like the rest of us. This means they are just as liable to commit the same mistakes and commit crimes, being anything but the martyrs both sides proclaim their own to be.
I learned nothing from war. War is not an activity for human beings; war is for criminals—rape, robbery and murder. Roman Podabedov (Russian anti-tank gunner) 
When it was recently suggested that British troops could turn into rapists, it was greeted with outrage in many circles. Yet this is not a gigantic leap of the imagination, nor is it singling out British squadies. It is one of the harsh truisms of war
At the Nuremberg trials and Tokyo trails, no women were called to give evidence and testify that they had been raped, despite the widespread acknowledgement of such things as the 20,000 Chinese women raped or enslaved for prostitution in what is know as the Rape of Nanking and the mass violation of German women by the liberating Russian forces. This silencing of wartime rape and sexual violence was viewed as an incidental and largely inevitable by-product of war, rather than a tactic of war.  War and Rape: Law, Memory and Justice
In Libya it was claimed that Gadaffi gave his troops viagra to rape, but this has never been substantiated and in the fog of the desire for war, retribution and plain old greed, that rape can and will happen should not surprise us. It happens in peacetime and it happens within our own ranks. It is not the exclusive domain of enemies. What should surprise us is how little it is reported and when it is, how little is done about it.
Conflict is the criminals' paradise; it is the only time when killing is allowed, theft is tolerated, and rape is forgiven Ramman Kenoun
True patriots, those who love the land they live in do not support this constant political need for war. It is not our natural state to be at war and like the soldiers who have to be desensitised, so do the population.
It is part of the general pattern of misguided policy that our country is now geared to an arms economy which was bred in an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and nurtured upon an incessant propaganda of fear General Douglas MacArthur 
We may fight for our freedoms, but fighting should be a struggle not a conflict. Violence is not inherent in any struggle and it is a tacit admission of failure.
If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in the struggle...your chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Profit is not freedom it is slavery, tied to an ever ending cycle of consumption and someone making money at the expense of others rather than an exchange for goods or services. 
War is never economically beneficial except for those in position to profit from war expenditures Congressman Ron Paul
That is really supporting the troops by helping them as human beings, rather than cheering the wanton destruction of human life.
I am the enemy you killed, my friend
We need to engage each other, starting from the belief that we are human, that we are not different. That is our common heritage, our bind no matter how far we have drifted over the millennia.
All humanity is involved in a single process, and all men are brothers. To the degree that I harm my brother, no matter what he is doing to me, to that extent I am harming myself. Martin Luther King Jr.
Whatever your beliefs, we are of one blood no matter how diluted and separated we feel from each other. The struggle for freedom must cross all barriers and embrace our common brother and sisterhood.
Our children are not born to hate, they are raised to hate. Thomas della Peruta
We need to take our reality back from the illusionists if we are to survive as a species. We need to stop conquering our planet and instead conquer space. If we do that, humanity will be occupied for a good while elsewhere. We need to bring our children home and keep them there.
If we falter, and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves Abraham Lincoln 
And on a more serious note: don`t try playing this at home, kids, because war is not a game - war, as Cannon Fodder demonstrates in it`s own quirky little way, is a senseless waste of human resources and lives. We hope that you never have to find out the hard way. From the Cannon Fodder Game Manual
* watch it or I will revoke your editing rights. We should be building memorials to the living. As a Megalomaniac it's in my interests to keep this idea in the public consciousness. Please remember this when writing your peace-nick eulogies.
** you should be thankful I did not take a lizard approach. My own preference, which understands that bastards like to fight and drink is to fight them in France. Once this has been accomplished and we have established a Greater Bastard by occupying North Gaul, I am willing to listen to suggestions such as taking the fight into space with these Bastard Isles leading the way fuelled by strong beverages and flag of my choosing.

Images: Wikipedia
Quotes: Antiwar unless otherwise noted

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