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Hate for (calling them) Heroes 

Since the beginning of the Iraq and the Afghanistan wars the Sun runs a campaign that calls any British soldier who dies over there a Hero, may it be because he or she died in a battle, was ambushed or shot accidentally by a bored fellow soldier.

Now everyone with a bit of a brain should know by now that the reasons the UK went to war were everything but heroic.

Under the name of fighting terrorists and spreading democracy it really all happend for mere colonial and capitalist interests in securing resources mainly in the form of oil. (Afghanistan is one of the key access points to the Kaspian Sea - which is one of the biggest untapped oil reservours in the world! - and i don't think i need to tell you how much oil is in Iraq - it's an old story)

For people who might not know: The UK doesn't have a military draft system - which means that everyone joining the army completely does so at their own free will. So in the moment you sign up - you sign away your right to complain about the danger it might bring for you. It was YOUR decision! And you also know perfectly well that in case you get killed - you'll leave behind a few really heartbroken people. (I'm sick to see another story about a wife with a little child who lost "Hero Dad!")

So for whatever reason (the queen?, the uniform?, "adventure?", killing humans? money? "something to do"? "education?" "a career?" ) you join the army of this imperialistic country namely United Kingdom - you lose the right to be called Hero forever! Instead they should call you victim of a lying greedy system or maybe just Egotistic Idiot!

And if you now say - you joined the army because you want to help people and safe some lifes - then go and bloody join the Fire Brigade!!!

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Reader Comments (2)

They don't choose the wars they fight, the powers that be choose them. When they sign up they could be working peacekeeping missions in Africa, or they could be dealing with security in Iraq, or they could be fighting the taliban in Afghanistan. It's the powers that be (the government) that decide what wars they fight. Ostensibly, they are there for our protection, but if the government decide to send them elsewhere, to fight for a different reason then that's what they must do. They don't really get too much say in the matter.

To suggest they should just 'join the fire brigade' instead is at best simplistic and at worst stupid. Regardless of what your ideals are we do need an army, that is simply a fact. And if we need one, then we should feel lucky that people are willing to sign up for one, to earn a relatively meagre salary, rather than have to endure the horror of a draft system; with pansies like me having to protect our country - I shudder to think..

The issue I think you are trying to address belongs to the people choosing what wars we fight, not the people that are fighting wars on their behalf. While they may not always deserve the moniker of heroes, they are exceptionally brave men and women. True, they know 'the risks' when they sign up, but that doesn't mean their sacrifice is any less. I know the risks of taking recreational drugs - but I still do it. God forbid, but should something bad happen to me while partaking of these recreational drugs I very much doubt my friends would say "well, he knew the risks" don't belittle a wife who's lost a husband, and a child that's lost a father, for their husband/dad choosing a career path that has placed him in harms way.

I DESPISE the Sun newspaper, for a million and one reasons, but calling the men and women of our armed forces heroes certainly is not one of them.

March 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterR ME

Thank you very much for your long and quite passionate reply to my article. It’s always great to hear what other people think – that’s why I write a blog.

First of all two points to make clear –

I don’t say I hate soldiers or say they can’t be heroes.

What I hate is a system who traps (very often brave) people into becoming canon fodder in wars fought for purely imperialistic interests – and then to call them Heroes – just to please their grieving families and make them believe their loved ones didn’t die in vain but in a good cause. Imagine otherwise all the upset people – the government is scared of anti-government/ anti war-riots like during the Vietnam War. Calling them Heroes – giving them a post-mortem medal – collecting money for the injured soldiers - keeps the masses quiet.

The Sun seems to work hand-in-hand with the government here.
Just imagine The Sun would bring out a headline like this “Another Father of 2 dies because of Government’s War Lie” – which would be the total truth when talking about Iraq! That’s why I hate that Sun Hero-campaign so much!

But I also hate the fact that many men and women blindly or even openly sign away their lives for a government who does so.

In your defense of the soldiers you say that they don't chose which wars they fight! You are right! But that's nothing new. That's how it's always been - and as you know Britain has fought quite a few wars in their imperial past - a few in defense but most as colonial attacker. So anyone who signs up for this army must know it's a bit like playing Russian roulette - you might stay alive or you end up with a bullet in your head. You will agree - it's not a clever game to play!

You also say that they are exceptionally brave men and women! I certainly agree. Surely they will go through a lot in a war - very often fighting for their lives and for those of their comrades. But that's what every soldier does - in every army. Even those on the "enemy" side. So being brave does not necessarily mean it's a heroic thing.

I still haven't made my mind up about whether or not the world really needs armies. It's just this famous sentence: "Imagine, it's war! And nobody joins!"
But a part of me does not believe in the good of mankind – there were always wars and their will always be - People will always attack other people. So a DEFENSE army is probably a necessity. (Hopefully I’ll be proven wrong some day).

And I am not sure what is better for that – a professional or a draft army? But for me there is a clear difference between someone who is forced to join the army and then to go to war or someone who willingly signs up by own choice to do so.
Having been in the army myself - we have a draft system in Germany - I've seen first hand what a very evil thing it is for many peaceful fellas like me (and probably you).

But I've also seen men who LOVED being soldiers - and even signed up to become professionals – to do a 12 year-service instead of 10 months draft! Some of them smart and clever "I want a career with power"-guys and some others just plain stupid "I love weapons" kind of types.
But also a lot of them joined because they have no other idea what to do with their lives. I met some really nice but sadly misguided people, who thought they are in for some adventure, traveling and an education - and misjudged the chances to be sent to an actual war. (I believe it might be the same over here in the UK - just look at the Hollywood War Movie-style ads the British Army has released in the past – they make you believe joining is the best thing you can do!) That's why you can believe me that I have my doubts with people who join an army by their own choice.

You have to agree – the soldiers who died in Iraq didn’t die because they defended the security of the UK! All they defended where some capitalist interests. As I have said before they were sent there mainly for oil. They invaded a whole country to fight Saddam Hussein – because Bush and Blair made us believe he was behind September 11 and had a lot Weapons of Mass Destruction – which later was revealed as a complete lie.

And I am not convinced that by bombing Afghanistan you will in any form contribute to destroying terrorism. If you know just a little about the psychology and the reasons for terrorism then you’ll probably find they might have just done the opposite.

Those wars are – and I repeat myself – are purely fought for imperial interests.

And last but not least – I have never belittled a soldier’s wife or her child, because of her husband chose a “career path that put him in harms way”. I think the way you’ve phrased it underlines my whole point. It seems that the government has made people successfully believe that joining the army is an acceptable or even good career path – where in case you get harmed or die might even be called a Hero.

March 24, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteritchy i

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