I’ve been trying for days – unsuccessfully – to come up with a post for Memorial Day. Today, though, I found one that expresses my unconventional, some would say unAmerican, thoughts. Thanks to Colin at Zeal for Truth.
Today is memorial day in my country of birth – the United States. In this country, so often the soldier is seen to be the archetype of American heroism. Much like in ancient Rome, an individual hero, made of moral selflessness, who submits himself to the collective, ordered machinery of the military to provide for the defence of his family, community and nation.
I see things quite differently.
Throughout history, the soldier has often come from the poorest of backgrounds, having been told by the propaganda of the state that the military is his best option in life. His individuality is broken down, and his is used on behalf of those elites which control and direct the military to kill other people who have been similarly conditioned.
We should remember soldiers as victims of the state. The state lied to them with false promises, and exploited their very lives as the means to control some resource, obtain some territory, advance some ideology or, at worst, eliminate or subjugate some peoples. We should mourn the American soldier as we mourn the German Soldiers from 1939-1945: men and women who could have produced so much for the benefit of humanity, but who were instead sucked dry, and summarily discarded like so much trash.
There is nothing glorious about the military. There is nothing glorious about war.
We should mourn and weep for the soldiers who have died. We should see them as the victims of sinful, fallen man and cease to demand their service, except only in the most dire need of defence.