The nauseating hypocrisy of the British war machine

By John Wight

The ritual of tribute to fallen soldiers is a tradition that dates back to Antiquity. From ancient times to the present day, the exaltation of those who died in battle in any given tribe, city-state or nation has played a crucial role in unifying any of or around the aforementioned elements. a story of shared goals and values.

Remembrance Day in the UK

Here in the UK or Britain we have the annual Remembrance Day tribute, celebrated annually on the Sunday closest to November 11, the anniversary of the Armistice Day, which ended the First World War in 1918.

Young and old, rich and poor, the message adopted on this day is that we are united in a common cause by nationality, heritage and history, and that those who died in action in “our” wars the have done in the best interests of all of us. and as such are worthy of our admiration, gratitude and honor.

There is, however, an insidious side to this annual ritual in Britain, one that has taken on the mantle of a national shibboleth. It is that at bottom the trumpets, the monuments and the fanfares are not only conceived to mourn the war dead of the nation but also, and above all, to glorify the nature of their dead and, by extension, to extol the virtues. of the nation’s militarism and martial warfare. strength.

This is even more relevant when one considers Britain’s recent involvement in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – wars in which thousands of civilians were killed or maimed, and for which there are no monuments. or ritual of commemoration. This does not include the many other colonial wars this country has waged throughout the history of an empire that should be a source of shame rather than the celebration that it is in the hearts of the country’s elites.

Hypocrisy

The sight of the country’s political leaders, former prime ministers, members of the royal family and various other dignitaries laying wreaths at the cenotaph to commemorate the death and slaughter of thousands of predominantly working-class men used as cannon fodder to maintain the class privileges they and they enjoy, is an act of nauseating hypocrisy to behold.

No amount of national propaganda can disguise the truth behind this hypocrisy – namely that Britain’s role in the world as a colonial power is vile and eminently dishonorable, and that the apotheosis of militarism that engenders this annual ritual acts as a recruiting sergeant encouraging future generations of young working-class men, deprived of opportunities and prospects at home, to engage and even make themselves available to be sacrificed on the altar of national prestige and degeneration.

The inescapable truth is that the thousands of young working class men who have died in Britain’s wars and military adventures thus far, have done so in the interest of a political establishment that has demonstrated little desire to offer them anything except at home. of poverty, alienation and eternal despair.

The hard truths of WWII

Even when it comes to the only war in British recent history that was needed, World War II, there are attached truths that dare not pronounce their name.

First, Churchill’s main objective in the war against Hitler was not to defeat fascism but to save the British Empire, particularly India, from which at the time his class derived most of the enormous wealth necessary for maintain and maintain the class privileges they enjoyed. The destruction of fascism, an ideology for which Winston Churchill had already shown admiration in the late 1920s, especially with regard to the fascist order of Mussolini in Italy, was a by-product of this goal.

Second, Hitler himself was an admirer of the British Empire, which he sought to emulate in Eastern Europe under the rubric of “lebensraum” (living space), envisioning the replacement of the native Slavic peoples by German settlers. / Aryans.

War addiction

Ultimately, Remembrance Day is an annual reminder that Britain is a nation and society addicted to war and conflict. Breaking this dependence first requires a radical change in our attitude towards war and in the way we view those who have died in past wars.

The liberal use of words such as “sacrifice” and “heroism” at this time of year, typically by well-fed and privileged politicians and commentators who have probably never known as much as a punch in the face, let alone combat, reveals an atrocious lack of understanding of the terror these young men experience and convey in places like Afghanistan and Iraq.

The idea that an 18-year-old from a disadvantaged background commits to the resolution to sacrifice his life for his country is a lie. They enroll by seeking to escape the dull and gloomy outlook offered to them at home, captivated by the illusion of excitement and adventure.

No training can ever prepare these young men for the horrors of war, for the sight of their comrades destroyed by their side, for the sight of slaughtered women and children, and no amount of bugles and parades can ever make up for those who do. come back mutilated. and / or psychologically damaged as a result, after which they are left at the mercy of charity.

The main enemy

The main enemy of the young men sent to kill and be killed overseas in illegal and unjust wars of aggression waged by the ruling elite now mired in foolishness and corruption are those who send them.

Last Sunday they stood outside the cenotaph in central London with tennis ball-sized poppies pinned to their chests, serving the false and false sincerity, solemnity and respect they have perfected over time.

War must be made a crime and those who incite it must be punished as criminals. For, in the final analysis, war does not determine who is right, only who is on the left. At this time of year we in Britain have no doubts that we still have a long way to go before we can claim the word ‘civilized’.

To finish.

John Wight is a Scotland-based political writer and commentator.

(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)


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