It’s Remembrance Sunday, and I’d be remiss to let it pass without some kind of remark, I think.
I stand by what I posted this time last year, though it has to be said that I probably didn’t actually say as much as was appropriate about my respect for the troops involved, instead grinding my teeth about the politicians who send them to their fates (a reaction which was not diluted in any way by seeing Tony Blair lay a wreath this morning. The man clearly has no sense of causation, or even conscience).
So: I think war is a bad thing. A very bad thing, in fact, the very breakdown of civilised behaviour, and a sign that at least one party to the situation is allowing the primal basal ganglia of the brain to rule over the more evolved parts. Not a good thing at all.
And sometimes it does seem that there are some people who are unwilling to listen to reason, and who seem incapable of being dissuaded from certain actions unless it’s with the application of force, or the threat thereof. Granted, there are obvious examples of this where one can easily point to a moral high ground, and other examples where the morality is more murky, or downright absent. That said, there does therefore seem to be an argument – however regrettable the need – in favour of the existence of some kind of military.
The point I’m trying to make here is that whilst I think I admit with some chagrin the need for the military, there does seem to be such a need at this stage in human evolution, and as such I’m both grateful to, and in awe of, the men and women who fulfil these roles, and who are willing to die in doing so. I don’t think I could do it, frankly.
Gallingly, though, there seem to be all too many people who think that war is some kind of game, or political stratagem, or personal crusade, and these people utterly lose sight of the fact that what is lost is not a handful of votes or some financial amount, but the lives of real people, who will be missed and mourned.
Even more annoyingly, all too many of these armchair commanders are people who seem to know little about the subject of war, or (and you know who I’m talking about) have actively sought to avoid it whilst being all too happy to send others into conflict, or to send them into battle for the most spurious of pretexts. These people, unfortunately enough, seem all too frequently to find their way into government.
And their actions do nothing to honour the memories of those who die in the service of their country. It is the bravery, unfortunately, of those who are safely out of range.