Monday, 17 April 2017

The legitimacy of violence and the good ol' soldiers of the decent world

We continue to try to make out that soldiers and armies will act legitimately and with ethical behaviour. The deputy prime minister of NZ, Paula Bennett recently defended the actions of our SAS without knowing anything about what happennned that day in Afghanistan.And attacked a book she has never read, calling its author Nicky Hager a left wing conspiracy theorist. What I take from that is that she (and others) believe the SAS to be some kind of moral paragons. That they would not be capable of shooting civilians, or even mistakes.
In my opinion,that is a dangerous viewpoint. In history there is always the attempt to legitimise war and its minions.The belief its ok till kill certain people if we decide they are bad enough. As if drones will only kill bad guys when they explode on a village meeting in Pakistan. As if its ok for the 'good guys' to kill others and the 'bad guys' its not ok.
The belief is echoed in mainstream public media such as movies- and also in gaming- where we are encouraged to identify with the good guys and then, by some sleight of hand, its ok to eliminate 'bad guys' (and gals). And even have a drink or have sex shorttly afterward. The trick is, it means nothing to frag someone, if theyre a bad ass. Recently, the targets have moved to things like zombies and aliens and even half robots who we identify as bad, but somehow different and therefore killable.
Civilians have always been targets. Our wonderful liberated enlightened and ethical British relatives bombed a civilian city, Dresden, in the second world war. The morally superior Americans unleashed the new super weapon on a Japanese city of men women and children, not soldiers.
We need to be vigilant about the type of thinking that justifies (or doesnt even need to, under assumption) killing civilians, and assumes that 'our' soldiers will act with waving flags of ethically superior behaviour.War is an illness and the belief that using force solves problems in the long term and leaves its victors in great shape, is a kind mass psychosis.

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