Sunday, November 10, 2013

Let's stop glorifying the killing of people all over the world by supposed "heroes"

Only one more shopping day until the deluge of maudlin bathos about "heroes" who went all over the world killing other people. I prefer Canada's Remembrance Day to the U.S. Veterans' Day and the post-9/11 abuse of the word "hero."

Let's take this in parts. Veterans of war are, generally speaking, people who trained to, and were prepared for, killing other human beings on command. That's institutionalized murder.

War is simply wrong by any standard. Without soldiers willing to shoot there would be no wars.
 To glorify veterans has a myriad of problems.
  • First, you don't get to be a "veteran" just by wearing a uniform. You have to go to actual war. People who were posted in Germany or Korea during the Vietnam War are not veterans.
  • Second, people in uniform volunteer for it and are paid handsomely, so it's a job; if they deserve a special day, let's have a Garbage Collector Day since they protect our health risking their own by exposure to noxious materials. People in uniform get 
    • discounted food and housing (plus clothing, remember the uniform?);
    • health care unrivalled by anything available to civilians; and
    • a pension and lifelong benefits.
  • Third, veterans are not automatically heroes. That's why even the military has medals for heroism and not every GI Joe or Jane gets one. Heroism involves valor, prowess, gallantry, bravery, courage, daring and fortitude. Just sitting on your but in a uniform doesn't cut it.
Veterans are few and far between and they are no more deserving than other citizens who do as much or more for the national community without killing anyone.

In sum, for these and other reasons, November 11 should be reserved for remembering the horrors of war, which is brought on by those willing to kill on command. We recall the tragedy of war in hopes it will never happen again.


Geneviève Reumaux said...

I am puzzled with this post and the one you posted years ago on Saturday, July 22, 2006 A Grateful Nation, where you celebrated some "hero".

To me there is no hero in wars, there are only the horrors of wars. And definitively no, I don't think that "it will never happen again" since it's in human nature to fight and kill for any reason.

Anonymous said...

I would agree with you if you are referring to that which has taken place since the draft was stopped. Prior to that, not so much. Also, while supporting pacifism might sound morally superior, logic says it doesn’t work. All the pacifist has done is given an aggressor permission to take whatever he would like to take. Since we’ve been the aggressor for the past ___ years, we’ve more or less lost sight of this. -Gayle

Cecilieaux Bois de Murier said...

Genevieve: I did not say there were no heroes. Just fewer than are called that.

Gayle: I was about to agree on the draft point, except that there was such a thing as conscientious objector status and anyone with principles could claim it, or go to Canada and Sweden, where the living was and is pretty good -- in some respects better than in the United States.

john garrett jones said...

There has to be a radical turnaround in our thinking about warfare if we are to be able to focus all our energies on halting the meltdown of our planet whilst there is still time.
The main thing is to get away from the idea that our national defence and security depend on having our own armies. We know this is the reverse of the truth. Just because we have strong armies we are willing to take on rival armies belonging to nations we have come to regard as ‘the enemy’. So we go to war, cheerfully doing all the things we are not allowed to do at home, killing and maiming and all the whole sorry story. Of course we lose a lot of our own people, but what does that matter so long as we win?
This is so pathetically stupid it is hard to believe it is still happening, but it is - and planet earth is the main casualty.
The rash of insurgencies we have witnessed in recent years is even stupider since it usually loses any focus at all.
Wouldn’t it be nice if all the armies were peacekeepers, not wagers of war, controlled by the UN and the Human Rights charter, not national politicians or maverick insurgents? How could this happen? See the website below: