Saturday, May 27, 2006

Support the Troops (Killers or Murderers?)

On the topic of armed conflicts and especially war on Iraq, many say something like, "Regardless of your stance on the war itself, one should support the brave men and women fighting and the sacrifices they make." Or simply, "Support our troops, not war." (Or, A good 'third' option)
While I understand the underlying sentiment, the expression makes a spurious point. It falsely simplifies and dichotomizes a complex situation. True, governments decide to go to war and the troops fight it, but when is a 'troop' not a part of the government (as the military is a branch)? Well, the civilians at the pentagon obviously, but all, from private to president, are engaged in the war machine - A machine that inevitably creates destruction.

Collateral damage and friendly fire - what wonderful ways to express the killing of innocent lives. 'Friendly fire' doesn't sound the same as "Your teammate shot you in the head." Collateral damage on the other hand, is not always so 'collateral.' Most people do not know or do not want to admit that the destruction of civilian targets is a consistent theme throughout war. Thus, a war begins and it is accepted civilians will die. Know that.

If the troops succeed it means they have successfully neutralized aggressors. This means they killed people. The people they killed could have been military or civilian. Both types have fallen under the umbrella of 'success.' But, sometimes, outright murder occurs (i.e., unplanned civilian killing). Even more rare, it is witnessed or reported in the NA press. Shocked?

People have been trained to kill and sometimes they end up murdering. Once pondered, that is hardly a suprising occurrence. What did you expect would happen?

So, do you support killers or murderers? Obviously we sometimes need killers, but one must realize that such a requirement comes with a potentially murderous cost.
If only we did not have to choose.

NB: Canada is not innocent.


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