Posts tagged War
A while back I was thinking (something I do accidentally on occasion) and I realized just how bad it would suck to be in a warzone. I am not a fan of violence outside of violence for fun. Sparring with other people is delightful and fun and I highly recommend it to anyone with the body to do so. Heck even if you don’t just take up something like casual boxing. It’s incredibly refreshing.
But darn it I’m digressing!
(I Googled tomato. Here’s a pony.)
But for me I’m entirely not invested in combat. I’m not invested in nationalism or patriotism. For me each person is important and vital and when they are killed or commit a crime I feel like they’ve been failed. Some world that should exist did not exist and they were punished for it. For me the thought of being knee deep in a firefight in Afghanistan is terribly disgusting and I imagine how horrible it would be to find myself staring at a gun held by the opposition.
Because for me I have no investment (as stated). They are not my enemy and frankly if we had a checker board I would be alright with a few rounds. We could laugh about relationships and drink Hansen’s Root Beer. They do not see me though. I am no longer a person in this situation. I am a symbol.
I represent their sadness, their fear, the antithesis to their paradise.
Naturally I took this thought and I expanded it to life in general. When people walk into a retail store they don’t see a bunch of people in outfits. They see representatives of that corporate entity waiting to serve them. Retail workers are seen as automatons who are the literal mouthpiece of the business. Not just mouthpieces but literal direct connections to the mother brain.
(Buy the protection plan. Buy the protection plan. Buy the protection plan. Destroy all humans. Buy the protection plan. )
You’ll read about this all over the internet and you’ve heard it in your own family (maybe even you). People talking about how they really stuck it to that asshole working at Best Buy because he wouldn’t give them a discount on the 42’’ plasma that they’ve been dreaming about.
Imagine the horror of being a police officer dressed during a violent riot in a city? While it is true there is a dramatically poor environment in police stations (which gets worse yearly because of reasons I can discuss sometime) it still doesn’t negate the fact that a lot of police officers are people.
They aren’t the embodiment of their position or their precinct, they are people who needed a job. Our clothes are another entity entirely. This is what I’m trying to get at. This is why I hate interviewing. People expect you to walk in wearing the person they want to hire. Dress shirt, tie, fancy pants, and nice shoes. They aren’t here for you they are here for that symbol.
When a cop is killed two separate entities are murdered. The target – the cops outfit – and the likely innocent person wearing it. When a soldier is torturing another soldier they are torturing two entities. The representation of the nation they are at war with and a completely innocent person wearing those clothes.
All that terror, all that pain, its all meant for a thing that never feels it. In the end all that happens is a person is failed.
I remember when I was in college the floor I lived on talked about the “green shirts” as this dark and dirty sect of sub humans that hunted down innocent party going college kids and ruined their lives. It amused me then when I became a green shirt (I needed money) that they would still say it but say “Except for you, you are a great guy.”
They had met me before I put on the suit and so they knew about the person within the suit. This I think is vitally important I think. Being able to see both entities. The symbol and the person within. So many deaths, so much hate, and so many wrongs are likely sourced to this blindness.
As I stated in the intro. The way I conceptualize it best is putting myself in that position. Imagining myself as the cop, or the retail worker, or the soldier. Imagining the terror I would feel, the sadness, the anger, or whatever else. Once I am inside that situation I can better remind myself that these aren’t merely symbols or set pieces to some fanciful live action roleplaying game. These are people with their one and only run.
It smells a bit like a kittie toot right now, I don’t know what it is about small mammals that gives them such potent gas output. If I could train our kittens I imagine I could register them as chemical weapons. Not what I wanted to talk about tonight but certainly something worth mentioning.
Just watched Iron Man 2 for the first time and there was something in it that settled with me a little too well. The political games that were played in it where Tony Stark was nearly robbed of his creations by seedy politicians who had close connections with other corporate interests.
What I find most odd is that the film presents it in an utterly believable fashion. This should bother people, seeing the parody and seeing how close to home it actually hits. The use of emotional manipulation to get support behind man handling individuals for profit, and worse still war profiteering. It was hauntingly reminiscent of the Halliburton scandal during the Bush period.
What bothered me second was the unmanned weapons in the film, I imagine most people who keep up with news recall the unmanned drones which recently got found with Keylogger viruses on them. If you haven’t seen the film by now I’m going to be spoiling it a bit but this was all probably in the promos. Anyways, the idea of someone taking control of robotic weapons and using them against civilians or against the soldiers who belong to their very army is a serious issue.
A machine will likely not miss a shot, it won’t think twice, and the person controlling it will be far too far away to feel even the smallest sense of human emotion about the issue. I loved the film, but being reminded of our headlong rush into remote control killing machines made me mighty uncomfortable.
As war has become more distant a prospect it has become much easier to wage. Soldiers rarely think twice when killing a building full of people is just a matter of loading up a drone fighter and having it fire at a certain set of coordinates.
So consider this a double whammy post, if you haven’t seen Iron Man 2 I would recommend it, enjoyable film, and be wary of any military which adopts unmanned war machines. There needs to be some level of fear for the aggressor, it is bad enough that Congressmen send economically disadvantaged people to die in other countries, worse still that many of them are disadvantaged because of laws those congressmen and their predecessors passed, but when that last wall comes down, the need for human to wage war, all resistance to the prospect is lost.
There is something to be said about the addition of unmanned crafts and robot combatants into the warzone. In a video game I’d say that thing is “This is awesome”, but unfortunately in the real world there is a very real danger with this kind of change. The US, especially, has already become dangerously disconnected from the complications of war. So much so that I used the word “complication” rather than “horror”.
I’ll admit that my brush with death was rather fast and unexpected, but it was one of the most horrifying moments in my entire life. I can’t recall ever feeling that utterly helpless and terrible before, or after, again. I can’t truly fathom what it would be like to see your death coming at you head on, being wounded on the field and watching your soon-to-be killer aim a gun at your face, to stare at the very shell that is about to scramble your brains.
The evidence isn’t necessarily strong that you’d literally die instantly either, the little fragments of your conscious that are left staring up at the sky as you quickly bleed out and cease to be. Worse still if you find yourself on the delivering end of a melee weapon, sliced up and discarded. Feeling searing pain and sudden numbness, perhaps even seeing a part of you fall to the ground, no longer your own.
War is a nightmarish thing, if ever there was evil this would be it, front and center. There has been almost no war, in the history of ever, that was necessary. Each one that could be argued as such was caused by an unnecessary conflict that preceded it. It would be a grand error to assume that it is a heavy burden to send off soldiers to die, if it was it would not be done so quickly and with such fervor. If this was such a great burden there would be more children of leaders standing at the front lines, but they don’t, because these people know what horrors await those who trust them and they would never subject their own offspring to such living nightmares.
It began with the advent of the long range weapon, slings, bows, cannons, guns, missiles, and bombs. With each advancement in the technology the distance between the killer and the killed has expanded and with it you see an inverse square relationship with their emotional baggage to the situation. For every foot of space you put between the killer and the killed you deaden the impact of the event on them by an every greatening factor until people are unleashing drones upon civilians and potential combatants without so much as a second thought.
Recall that Apache video from a few years back where they gunned down anyone within sight and could even be heard laughing on the tape? The distance between the killer and their target was so great that the emotional connection with the event was all but obliterated. These were not acts of murder but merely acts, like toasting bread or changing a car tire.
The further from the face of our foe the further our chances of seeing humanity in them. Where it used to be a necessity to work hard dehumanizing your enemy in the eyes of your soldiers, now the effort need barely be applied at all. Just remind the population that these efforts keep the horrors from showing up on their doorstep and let the blood flow.
I cannot in any way believe that a single person who voted for either the Afghanistan or Iraq war cares about human life, I cannot believe they value life in nearly any fashion. My reasoning is fairly simple, and likely flawed, but their actions just don’t support such a thing. I value peace, so I do not cause conflict, I value knowledge and words so I respect them and explore them, I value at the basest level my Magic Cards and so I put them in sleeves to protect them from the elements. At every level from the important to the trivial I create a halo of protection and respect around those things that I value and I ignore or abuse those things I do not value.
For instance if you see me with a plastic bottle or Aluminum can I’m probably crushing the heck out of them because they are trivial to me, little empty husks that serve no purpose soon after they are emptied. They are discarded and forgotten.
I’ve lost sleep over books I like getting water damage, I don’t lose sleep over crushing a soda can. So check in with the very people who vote for war, find how many of them cannot sleep every night. How many of them are constantly churning in their beds because somewhere thousands of miles away people are being murdered, not only from another nation they’ve never been, but people considerably closer. Some perhaps even related to people they know, the degrees of separation are so freakishly small yet I don’t see these men and women losing any vigor over the matter.
They shout with passion in town halls, rant on the floor of congress, or smile joyfully at press meetings.
If I sent someone to fight someone who had wronged me and they were murdered, I would be a broken man. Knowing that I’ve taken someone not only to the precipice that I once teetered upon, and further still pushed them to a beyond that cannot be returned from.
I don’t know if I’d be able to think of myself as anything but trash after that.