Soldiers Are Not Heroes

Consider this: the army is built up of hundreds of thousands of men and women. Just being a soldier doesn't make every single one of them a hero...
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Consider this: the army is built up of hundreds of thousands of men and women. Just being a soldier doesn't make every single one of them a hero...

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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.

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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.

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But the point is this; currently doing the rounds on Facebook (where else?) is this…
“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.

Secondly, tanker drivers earn between £20K and £25K per year. The mythical £45K the Tory media would have us believe they earn is a figure that applies to less than 20% of the industry. And at what price? Dangerously long hours and working during holidays and days off. But that’s not all, is it? The unions involved are also fighting to ensure drivers receive proper training and valuable health and safety inductions (you remember unions, don’t you? The people who brought you the weekend, the forty-hour week, paid holidays, sick pay and put an end to sending kids down the pits, to mention just a few of their achievements).

Meanwhile, back at the Tory ranch, unscrupulous employers are being egged on by the oil companies to undercut unionised firms by hacking back on training, health and safety as well as pay and conditions. So when a knackered and stressed out driver ploughs his tanker full of petrol through your front room, taking out your kids in the process, along with most of your street and that union jack you’ve got flying over the garden, hopefully you might then wish you hadn’t been an ignorant and resentful idiot, incapable of independent thought and seeing the bigger picture.

But back to ‘Our Boys’; as a parent I value my children’s lives above all else. It was for that reason I told all three of them that joining the armed forces was not an option. By sheer force of will I had my way. Wrong? Maybe. Should let them make their own decisions, right? Possibly. To be honest, I don’t care. I know I’ll never have to stand weeping over a box filled with bits of my kids. I’ll never feel the rage, guilt, shame and self-loathing that would come with knowing I let my kids die for ruthless, immoral, war-mongering governments who demonstrate every single day that they have nothing but contempt for me, my kids and our class. Let them send their kids, let the privileged officer class be the heroes, let’s see the Cabinet sending their sons and daughters to perish in the desert.

So, you want to support ‘Our Boys’, eh? Then do it in the only way that matters; bring them back from Afghanistan. Oppose this pointless, unwinnable, immoral and dirty war. Give your kids the chance to live or you aren’t a parent; you’re a moral coward. A disgusting individual prepared to sacrifice your children for the hollow lies sold you by the governments of the UK and USA. Are you real? What kind of human being are you that you’d do that but presume to judge me for my lack of patriotism? Dulci et decorum est pro patria mori, eh? What is wrong with you people?
Troops out of Afghanistan now. And while you’re at it, support the tanker drivers.