Soldiering is Slavery

The sound of the trumpet…the call to arms…outward hints at the ghost of ‘duty’ that has entered  and become embedded in  those who kill on behalf of the monopolists of force. Of all the types of slaves, the ‘soldier’ is the one that receives the most extreme form of indoctrination the state apparatus can provide. The real active life of a soldier is horrific  to most people – caught in a thin line betwixt life and death, he kills on the behalf of the organisation he represents.

Violence spews forth from the dark chasm of heteronomy, and nowhere is this more prevalent, more exposed, and more tangible than on a field of battle. And when it finally comes, the killing represents the final exclamation mark of a thousand duplicitous asides, handshakes with daggers in eyes, whispered commands and bare-faced lies – all the hallmarks of the ‘decency’ I mentioned in a previous post.

Abject horror being the natural response to violence on this scale, a natural response must therefore be purged from the soldier slave. His indoctrination is uniquely complicated in that, on the one hand, he must learn not to ‘think’ but to ‘act’ – to accept orders without question – to be practically thoughtless – an automaton that responds instantly to command. This is important not only for quick, efficient action, but also to achieve the dissociation of the soldier slave from the murderous reality that surrounds him. On the other hand though – and this is where the complexity confuses matters – he is taught not to view himself as an automaton.

Many of them are taken from impoverished backgrounds, having ‘achieved’ little to nothing, and feeling compelled to ‘achieve’ something based on the inherited, third-party construction of value that presents military membership as an ‘honourable’ ‘achievement’. Most families are ‘proud’ of their soldiering kin, chiefly because the action of joining the military provides social capital amongst those who endorse the heteronomous culture of death and destruction – but also as a coping mechanism to help cover any deep-seated disgust (on a subconscious level) of the violent reality of it all. Indeed, the core of all false valuations of murder is found in the essentialist form of the ‘hero’. The more he successfully kills or helps kill, the more the soldier is buried in metals and ribbons until he is either discarded as no longer useful, or killed himself.

Another powerful symbol is the ‘repatriation’ of the coffins of those brought back from the Helmand front, or the Malabar front, or whatever front that has opened up because of the front-facade that the propagandists set up. The death-boxes are draped in the symbol of the state the slave served with ‘duty’ and ‘honour’: a final send-off paid for by their owners.

And finally, is it not strange how so many soldiers speak of how ‘proud’ they were to serve, yet it is considered to be the highest insult to ask a soldier if he has killed and if so, how many? If they were truly proud of ‘being’ a ‘soldier’ then surely they would speak of their actions with honesty and pride? I have little doubt there is a small minority of soldiers with the kind of mindset who would brag about such things, however that seems to be very much the exception. The truth is, they are not proud of what they have done and so repress conscious thoughts of it, and remain silent whilst they receive plaudits for acting in imagined ways on a glamorous and  mythical battlefield of ‘heroes’ placed in the ‘public mind’ by those in control.

This has to end.

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One Response to Soldiering is Slavery

  1. myrthryn says:

    I heartily agree. A while back, I wrote a sonnet expressing this very thing, if you’d care to read it.

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