Wars, Wars, Wars
June 3, 2013
Sometimes when I board an airplane the head stew asks passengers to applaud the sacrifices our brave soldiers have made in defending the United States. I don’t applaud. For one thing, no soldier has defended the United States since 1945. For another, any dentist, bus driver, or musician has done more to benefit the country, and less to bankrupt it and give it a bad name, than all the armed services combined. Why don’t we applaud dentists?
It is curious that soldiers are held in honor, revered, and regarded as national heroes. Psychopathic serial killers who murders fifteen co-eds are viewed with revulsion. Why the difference? The young women killed by Ted Bundy were utterly innocent. So were the Iraqis murdered by the Air Force in Baghdad. I don’t see why pointlessly killing the unoffending in one country is admirable, but in another, isn’t.
Of course, soldiers are better at it, and thus much more destructive. They kill hugely, wreaking havoc, destroying countries and lives and cities, while the Bundys get only a few. The distinction is one of efficiency and scale. Morally they are indistinguishable.
Why the loving respect for soldiers? Militaries cultivate every instinct, every crime that decent people abhor. Why is this thought noble? In basic training in the Marines, I learned how to stab a bayonet into a sentry´s kidney so that the agony and sudden loss of blood pressure would quickly silence him. And how to garrote him with my forearm, while at once pulling him backward and throwing my weight onto his head, snapping his neck. Shoot an enemy in the stomach, not the head, we learned, as this will strain his medical services.
Doing these things in defense against an invading army is justified, but hardly something to be proud of. Invaders almost without exception are reprehensible.
Serial killers often torture their victims. So do soldiers. Torture has been part of war since war was invented—and it probably antedates other forms of prostitution. Today only the United States makes torture an avowed part of national policy, but all militaries do it. The internet makes secrecy harder these days, so we hear of Abu Ghraib, of waterboardees in Guantanamo choking, drowning, puking, screaming, begging for mercy. We get hints of crushed joints and lifelong cripples produced in the CIA’s secret torture camps.. Yet there’s nothing peculiarly American about it. Armies do what armies do. Sadism and butchery of prisoners and civilians run through military history.
Soldiers put a great deal of thought….
via Fred On Everything.