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Tue Apr 10, 2012, 04:28 AM

 

Soldiers Are Not Heroes

By Harry Paterson

You might need to sit down for this one. Ready? OK, here goes…

Soldiers aren’t heroes. There. Shocking, eh? Well, consider this; the army, like any organisation comprising hundreds of thousands of men and women, will contain almost as many different types as there are people. There will be the diligent and the lazy, the honest and the deceitful, the brave and the cowardly and the humane and the pitiless. They can’t all be heroes, you know. Not even all the dead ones.Now I don’t know about you, but I’m sick to the back teeth of the emotional blackmail with which we are daily assaulted. Appeals to ‘Support Our Boys’ everywhere you look and every poor, duped and brainwashed unit of working-class cannon fodder, unfortunate enough to step on an IED in Helmand Province, virtually elevated to Sainthood. Even the BBC, laughably dubbed Bolsheviks Broadcasting Communism by the more unhinged and bellicose of our gin-soaked Colonels and their twin-set and pearl-adorned wives, seems to have turned itself into the Department of War Propaganda with never so much as a hint that there might exist, out there in the country in which it purports to report, an alternative view. I’d even bet it was a majority view, too, by now.

I’m also more than a little sick of the accusing and outraged responses my articulating of such sentiments provokes. There is, currently, no army anywhere on the face of the planet fighting for me or to keep me and mine safe. I wasn’t asked if I wanted UK troops in Afghanistan and I’m certainly not stupid enough to believe that now they are there, they’re fighting to protect my family and yours. Oh sure, there will be some soldiers, maybe even many, who believe that’s what they’re doing but, back in the real world, most of us know the real reason they are there is to secure and then protect by force cynical Western interests revolving, mainly, around resources and geopolitical influence in the region. By that, of course, I mean largely American interests, to which we become ever more subordinate.Frankly, Afghanistan and the UK’s ongoing involvement there makes me angrier than I’ve been for a long time and I resent the frothing, rabid, racist idiots, drunk on blind patriotism and the bullshit dripping from the state’s propaganda tit. Expressly designed, of course, to keep the stupid proles docile, compliant and on-message. You sup if you want to but count me out.

Now I’m no wild-eyed, army-hating pacifist. I’m privileged to know some fine human beings who have served in the British Army. One, in particular, spending an eventful career involved in incidents that will definitely not be subjected to public scrutiny any time soon. Interestingly enough, though, they all seem to have a far clearer and much more accurate understanding of the motivations underpinning the UK’s military excursions than those who support them. Motives, they would assure you, which have nothing whatsoever to do with noble concepts like freedom, democracy and philanthropy.

Continue: http://harrypaterson.co.uk/politics-current-affairs/soldiers-are-not-heroes/

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Arrow 14 replies Author Time Post
Reply Soldiers Are Not Heroes (Original post)
MichaelMcGuire Apr 2012 OP
Egalitarian Thug Apr 2012 #1
MichaelMcGuire Apr 2012 #3
JonLP24 Apr 2012 #2
MichaelMcGuire Apr 2012 #4
JonLP24 Apr 2012 #9
MichaelMcGuire Apr 2012 #14
Godot51 Apr 2012 #5
rrHeretic Apr 2012 #6
Chemisse Apr 2012 #7
loudsue Apr 2012 #8
Namvet67 Apr 2012 #10
panzerfaust Apr 2012 #11
lunatica Apr 2012 #12
malaise Apr 2012 #13

Response to MichaelMcGuire (Original post)

Tue Apr 10, 2012, 04:37 AM

1. I remember when we didn't have to import sanity from across the pond.

 

Like everything else, we used to make our own.

K&R

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #1)

Tue Apr 10, 2012, 04:53 AM

3. Just remember its on loan, as we may need it back when there's a shortage (nt)

 

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Response to MichaelMcGuire (Original post)

Tue Apr 10, 2012, 04:42 AM

2. I agree

and was a troop myself and the reason I say that is the same reason the author did in the first paragraph. All different times of people. Of course some are heroes and in most cases& depending on war they're heroes to the people's lives they immediately saved like the one that used his body to absorb the blast of grenade that landed in a HMMWV.

I agree 100% w/ this part

“2000 tanker drivers are complaining that £45k a year and a final salary pension, is too little for a dangerous job? Yet our boys and girls out in Afghan get £24k or there about to get shot at? Round the 2000 tanker drivers up, send em out to Afghan, then ask 2000 soldiers if they want to earn £45k a year driving a fuel tanker about. Problem solved…. repost if u agree”

This is a ridiculous argument and one that cannot withstand even a moment’s scrutiny. Firstly, the idea that no one has a right to defend their wages and living standards from attacks by this vicious, greedy government of toffs, simply because they aren’t soldiers, is too stupid for words.

It is even worse than that for TCNs in Iraq(I have no clue if the military uses them in Afghanistan). Foreign nationals mostly from places such as India, Phillipines, and countries in Africa that are employed by a third party to do all sorts of work, sometimes highly dangerous for work & living conditions(similar to Foxconn in a national channel news report) you couldn't imagine for little play. Supply convoys usually utilize 20+ of them in fiberglass vehicles with no weapons or armor, most bases the military rests at, they have to stay at the staging areas(IOW a parking lot) overnight while soldiers stay in tents or in some bases, trailers. The made roughly $300-$400 a month. The head TCN on whatever convoy(usually someone that understands English so that they can relay information to other drives) makes around $600 a month. Following the logic above, soldiers complaining about those low wages & lack of benefits should become a TCN then complain about wages.

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Response to JonLP24 (Reply #2)

Tue Apr 10, 2012, 05:09 AM

4. The £45k a year, only accounts for about 20% of tanker drivers.

 

According to the linked article.

The facebook status post/repost is ridiculous as for reasons highlighted in the article and reposted in your comment. "This is a ridiculous argument and one that cannot withstand even a moment’s scrutiny. Firstly, the idea that no one has a right to defend their wages and living standards from attacks by this vicious, greedy government of toffs, simply because they aren’t soldiers, is too stupid for words."

In reply to;

"2000 tanker drivers are complaining that £45k a year and a final salary pension, is too little for a dangerous job? Yet our boys and girls out in Afghan get £24k or there about to get shot at? Round the 2000 tanker drivers up, send em out to Afghan, then ask 2000 soldiers if they want to earn £45k a year driving a fuel tanker about. Problem solved…. repost if u agree”

I also very much doubt the UK tanker drivers would have a issue with soldiers and or tanker drivers in Iraq or elsewhere increasing their wages, working conditions and living standards.

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Response to MichaelMcGuire (Reply #4)

Tue Apr 10, 2012, 07:01 AM

9. I read the whole article

so I'm hoping I didn't say anything that was a misunderstanding in case pointing out(20% & tanker driver issue) was a contrary challenge to something I said because I'm 100% in agreement with you here. I apologize if that is not the case.

I highlighted the area of the argument I'm in full agreement with and used an example that is worse off as far as pay, safety, and benefits is concerned to use their illogical argument to apply to a group of workers they wouldn't be all that concerned about(arguing against a union bargaining for higher pay--likely a Conservative). I probably and still am using that sloppily but was trying to break down their logic in other ways the article broke it down. How--I--feel is that I don't care at all if someone or union demands higher pay. I will never be mad at that, it is silly to do that, if they don't have the bargaining power & skills that aren't so easy to replace they won't get the higher pay(I would never concern myself how others are paid unless it is shockingly low).

So with that I agree tanker drivers wouldn't have an issue and speaking to those argument (they should go to Afghanistan-then complain) makers, there are three levels of employment in Iraq(again don't know Afghanistan). TCNs, military, and US-contractors. TCNs probably under $10,000. Military--Probably $15,000-$45,000(typically between $20,000-$35,000). US-contractors make in the high double digits to triple digits. Also US-Contractors hire fuel truck drivers. Fuel truck drivers for a contractor in (if like Iraq) Afghanistan would actually make around $100,000 so they really shouldn't complain about fuel truck drivers requesting higher wages.

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Response to JonLP24 (Reply #9)

Tue Apr 10, 2012, 07:53 AM

14. fair enough (nt)

 

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Response to MichaelMcGuire (Original post)

Tue Apr 10, 2012, 05:22 AM

5. From the introduction of Thomas Heggen's "Mr. Roberts".

Let us go aboard this Man o' War.
Step carefully there over little Red McLaughlin, sleeping on the hatch cover. Red is remarkable for being able to sleep anywhere: probably he was on his way down to the compartment when he dropped in his tracks, sound asleep. There do not, in truth, seem to be many people up yet—but then it is still a few minutes to reveille. Reveille is at six-thirty. In the Chiefs quarters there is one man up: it is Johnson, the chief master-at-arms. He is the one who makes reveille. Johnson is drinking coffee and he seems preoccupied: perhaps, as you suggest, his mind is thousands of miles away, following the battle-line in Germany. But no—to tell the truth—it is not. Johnson is thinking of a can of beer, and he is angry. Last night he hid the can carefully beneath a pile of dirty skivvies in his locker: now it is gone. Johnson is reasonably certain that Yarby, the chief yeoman, took it; but he cannot prove this. He is turning over in his mind ways of getting back at Yarby. Let us move on.
Down in the armory a group of six men sits tensely around a wooden box. You say they are discussing fortifications?—you distinctly heard the word "sandbag" spoken? Yes, you did: but it is feared that you heard it out of context. What Olson, the first-class gunner's mate, said was: "Now watch the son-of-a-bitch sandbag me!" Used like that, it is a common colloquialism of poker: this is an all-night poker game.
We find our way now to the crew's compartment. You are surprised to see so many men sleeping, and so soundly? Perhaps it would be revelatory to peer into their dreams. No doubt, as you say, we will find them haunted by battles fought and battles imminent. This man who snores so noisily is Stefanowski, machinist's mate second class. His dream? . . . well . . . there is a girl.. . she is inadequately clothed . .. she is smiling at Stefanowski ... let us not intrude.
You are doubtless right: certainly an officer will be more sensitive. In this stateroom, with his hand dangling over the side of the bunk, is Ensign Pulver. He is one of the engineering officers. And you are right; his dream is conditioned by the war. In his dream he is all alone in a lifeboat. He is lying there on a leather couch and there are cases of Schlitz beer stacked all about him. On the horizon he sees the ship go down at last; it goes down slowly, stern first. A swimming figure reaches the boat and clutches the gunwales. Without rising from his couch, Ensign Pulver takes the ball-bat at his side and smashes the man's hands. Every time the man gets his hands on the gunwales, Pulver pounds them with the bat. Finally the man sinks in a froth of bubbles. Who is this man—a Jap? No, it is the Captain. Ensign Pulver smiles happily and opens a can of beer.
What manner of ship is this? What does it do? What is its combat record? Well, those are fair questions, if difficult ones. The Reluctant, as was said, is a naval auxiliary. It operates in the back areas of the Pacific. In its holds it carries food and trucks and dungarees and toothpaste and toilet paper. For the most part it stays on its regular run, from Tedium to Apathy and back; about five days each way. It makes an occasional trip to Monotony, and once it made a run all the way to Ennui, a distance of two thousand nautical miles from Tedium. It performs its dreary and unthanked job, and performs it, if not inspiredly, then at least adequately.
It has shot down no enemy planes, nor has it fired upon any, nor has it seen any. It has sunk with its guns no enemy subs, but there was this once that it fired. This periscope, the lookout sighted it way off on the port beam, and the Captain, who was scared almost out of his mind, gave the order: "Commence firing!" The five-inch and the two port three-inch guns fired for perhaps ten minutes, and the showing was really rather embarrassing. The closest shell was three hundred yards off, and all the time the unimpressed periscope stayed right there. At one thousand yards it was identified as the protruding branch of a floating tree. The branch had a big bend in it and didn't even look much like a periscope.
So now you know: that is the kind of ship the Reluctant is. Admittedly it is not an heroic ship. Whether, though, you can also denounce its men as unheroic is another matter. Before that is summarily done, a few obvious facts about heroism should perhaps be pleaded; the first of them being that there are kinds of it. On this ship, for instance, you might want to consider Lieutenant Roberts as a hero. Lieutenant Roberts is a young man of sensitivity, perceptiveness, and idealism; attributes which are worthless and even inimical to such a community as this. He wants to be in the war; he is powerfully drawn to the war and to the general desolation of the time, but he is held off, frustrated, defeated by the rather magnificently non-conductive character of his station. He is the high-strung instrument assuming the low-strung role. He has geared himself to the tempo of the ship and made the adjustment with—the words are not believed misplaced- gallantry, courage, and fortitude. Perhaps he is a kind of hero.
And then in simple justice to the undecorated men of the Reluctant it should also be pointed out that heroism —physical heroism—is very much a matter of opportunity. On the physical level heroism is not so much an act, implying volition, as it is a reflex. Apply the rubber hammer to the patella tendon and, commonly, you produce the knee jerk. Apply the situation permitting bravery to one hundred young males with actively functioning adrenal glands and, reasonably, you would produce seventy-five instances of clear-cut heroism. Would, that is, but for one thing: that after the fifty- first the word would dissolve into meaninglessness. Like the knee jerk, physical courage is perhaps latent and even implicit in the individual, needing only the application of situation, of opportunity, to reveal it. A case in point: Ensign Pulver.
Ensign Pulver is a healthy, highly normal young man who sleeps a great deal, is amiable, well-liked, and generally regarded by his shipmates as being rather worthless. At the instigation of forces well beyond his control, he joined the Naval Reserve and by the same forces was assigned to this ship, where he spends his time sleeping, discoursing, and plotting ingenious offensives against the Captain which he never executes. Alter the accidents, apply the situation, locate Pulver in the ball turret of a B-29 over Japan, and what do you have? You have Pulver, the Congressional Medal man, who single-handedly and successively shot down twenty-three attacking Zekes, fought the fire raging in his own ship, with his bare hands held together the severed wing struts and with his bare feet successfully landed the grievously wounded plane on its home field.
These, then—if the point is taken—are unheroic men only because they are non-combatant; whether unwillingly or merely unavoidably is not important. They fight no battles: ergo in a certain literal and narrow sense they are non-combatant. But in the larger vision these men are very definitely embattled, and rather curiously so. The enemy is not the unseen Jap, not the German, nor the abstract villainy of fascism: it is that credible and tangible villain, the Captain. The warfare is declared and continual, and the lines have long been drawn. On one side is the Captain, alone; opposing him are the other one hundred and seventy- eight members, officers and men, of the ship's company. It is quite an even match

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Response to MichaelMcGuire (Original post)

Tue Apr 10, 2012, 05:54 AM

6. It's nice to know

 

that there are some, abeit very few, voices of reason in the world. I am so sick of hearing about so-called 'heroes' over here who are nothing more than tools of the corporatists. But of course there will inevitablly be another one of those sickening videos where a returning 'hero' surprises (ie: scare the crap) out of his daughter (it's always a girl isn't it?) in school.

It makes me want to throw up.

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Response to rrHeretic (Reply #6)

Tue Apr 10, 2012, 06:02 AM

7. I agree. And if it's not the daughter, it's the damned dog.

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Response to MichaelMcGuire (Original post)

Tue Apr 10, 2012, 06:46 AM

8. Thank you!!! I'm sick to death of the propaganda, too.

And the country music awards shows are THE WORST!!! I can't even stand to watch the awards show anymore because of all the military/jesus propaganda. It makes me sick. What they're selling, I'm not buying. Not THEIR military, and not THEIR jesus. Theirs is merely an extension of the rightwing propaganda.

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Response to MichaelMcGuire (Original post)

Tue Apr 10, 2012, 07:08 AM

10. I agree 100%

Last edited Tue Apr 10, 2012, 08:57 AM - Edit history (1)

I saw every form of atrocity in VietNam. I am not a hero for joining the marines and volunteering to go.Getting wounded doesn't make me a hero....it's a passive occurence usually. I saw a few heroes....very few.Most of us were there for the adventure or to prove something,or because our father's were in WW2, or to become a man at 19,or "because it's the only war we've got"(really heard that one) etc,etc. No one EVER told me they were there to prevent the domino fall of S E Asia to communism........we couldn't have given a definition of communism if our lives depended upon it....and they didn't.It looked like a real "rush" on TV to be in "Nam"...many from my neighborhood enlisted.......so my buddy and I enlisted......and were greatly disappointed to find out that you really can get half your face shot off, or lose limbs......that did not make any of us heroes by default......you can't be a hero by default. The article is accurate.P.S....there are atheists in foxholes.....a lot of them. I don't imagine that helps the hero image either...hehehehe

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Response to MichaelMcGuire (Original post)

Tue Apr 10, 2012, 07:23 AM

11. So, after only a dozen years,

 

posting like this are being allowed on DU.

Yep. Those in the military, like those outside, are just people.

Shocking concept.

Except to those in power, who cast all in the military as heroes.

Consider this NAZI poster which appeared in Holland after it was invaded and crushed by the Germans -



As nearly as I can transliterate this (I do not speak Dutch, but do have some of the closely related German) it goes something along the lines of "Dutch people: The Waffen SS, fighting for your honor and values against Bolshevism."

Kind of reminds me of how we presented bringing "Freedom" (TM) to Iraq.



In both cases: Bullshit propaganda, spread by those who profit from war, death, and destruction.

In both cases, to question the bullshit was to be branded as unpatriotic.


"Our Nation's Finest."









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Response to MichaelMcGuire (Original post)

Tue Apr 10, 2012, 07:32 AM

12. I'm glad to see someone on the inside allows their common sense

to trump the propaganda.

War will never end as long as the few at the top, who never see a gun aimed at them, have the power to send human cannon fodder to kill other human cannon fodder in the interest of those few.

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Response to MichaelMcGuire (Original post)

Tue Apr 10, 2012, 07:36 AM

13. What a great read

Rec

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