|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.