Troops As Imperial Props

British soldiers may be encouraged to wear their uniforms while off-duty in an attempt to boost their popularity with the general public. The possible move is part of an ongoing review into how best to improve the public’s perception of the military.

Returning British soldiers have been met with mixed reactions from a public that does not whole-heartedly support the country’s involvement in the Iraq war. The MoD spokesman said the review is an attempt to find a way to ensure the armed forces are better appreciated and understood by the general public.

Er no, it’s to further use them to promote government policy. And no, I will not blindly respect the military or someone who has knowingly volunteered their labour to commit a war crime, that is not all troops, but let’s stop putting halos on camouflage, some are in it for the violence and the power. Many got used because they were already in, many (perhaps most) are used as Yoshie posted

“He didn’t have to go to Iraq. He chose to go. He wanted to be with his brothers.” These are the words of the clearly distraught and heartbroken mother of Thomas, a marine recently killed in Iraq, describing her son’s fatal decision to extend his enlistment in order to deploy with his unit. Of course, his family tried to convince him otherwise, but Thomas was adamant that “abandoning” his comrades as they headed into harm’s way was not an option. . . . We fight, then, neither to achieve victory nor to kill an “enemy.” We fight and, like Thomas, we die, because we love and could not live with the guilt and the shame of abandoning our brothers. (Camillo Mac Bica, “The Brotherhood of Warriors: The Love That Binds Us” MRZine, 19 March 2007)

In other words, the ruling class grasp what is best and noblest in men, their love for one another; mutilate it by excluding the Other — enemy soldiers and civilians and homosexuals in their own ranks, for instance — from men’s love; and exploit it for their profit.

I have sympathy for them but by 2004 the lies and slaughter were very obvious, at that point if you signed up you are supporting the crime with deadly force, it’s time to think about that. As Nezua wrote You Forge Of Yourself A Dull Weapon. The elevation of military service to the level of some kind of saintly calling by venal politicians is a very familiar characteristic of fascism.

The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. Ruling elites always identified closely with the military and the industrial infrastructure that supported it. A disproportionate share of national resources was allocated to the military, even when domestic needs were acute. The military was seen as an expression of nationalism, and was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling elite.

Need help: War Resisters International

If you have a sincere religious, political or moral objection to the war on Iraq, or to any other campaign, then you are legally entitled to an honourable discharge as a conscientious objector.
The procedure can be prolonged and difficult. You are advised to contact the AT EASE helpine for further advice on a Sunday 5pm-7pm. 0207 247 5164
Email: atease -at-
(replace -at- with @ and remove spaces)
Your first step is a letter to your Commanding Officer stating your position.

Update: Worshipping Empty Uniforms podcast from Ruins of Empire.

6 Responses to “Troops As Imperial Props”

  1. ralfast Says:

    Again with the worshiping of empty uniforms, now its mandated from upon high. Great, just great!

  2. RickB Says:

    Ah yes, I should put in a link to your podcast too!

  3. ralfast Says:

    Only if you think you really, really have to….


  4. libhomo Says:

    I am curious. Here in the US, we have what we call the “economic draft.” This is a shorthand way of saying that many people are stuck in poverty and the only way of getting out is to join the military.

    Is there a similar situation in Britain?

  5. RickB Says:

    Good question, I would say very generally there is less of that here as we do have greater health /education/welfare support. So you might feel your choices are narrow but it is not as desperate as the US (for now). But they do like to target 16 year olds who are not doing so brilliantly at school or work (ideally I think the recruitment age should be at least 21, they know they are seducing kids with fantasies of soldiers and groovy machines that go whizzbang). The poverty draft remains so the hard question is at some point can we still accept that as reasoning to serve in illegal and appalling wars. At some point the hard answer needs to be no (and then the question of why such poverty in the richest nation on earth). The military has to be starved of manpower if the policy of war doesn’t change. Counter recruiters try hard but they don’t have the funds to replace the army wage for every poor would-be recruit, that is the clear blackmail of economic policies that create a desperate underclass. However the more people who see the wrongness of the war the more reluctance to view joining up as an option at all and the more help for people who have nothing but still refuse to be recruited.
    There is also this to consider, if you join up you will undergo psychological conditioning designed to remove your reluctance to kill and if you are in combat that training tricks you into killing, however it does not help with the after effects. That is the grift the military pull (often I think it is like the tobacco companies pretending they don’t know their product harms people), and when that bites you are left with an underfunded VA and often a lifetime of problems. However poor you were that cannot be a good option.

  6. Fuck Your Militarist Propaganda « Ten Percent Says:

    […] Your Militarist Propaganda March 7, 2008 — RickB Only a short time ago the government was making noises of a review of whether to encourage the military to wear uniforms […]

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