Armed Forces Day
Yesterday, 27/06/09, marked the first in a worrying new state organised annual public festival. Armed Forces Day is being touted as a day to ‘celebrate’ the nations armed forces and, according to their website, “show our support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community: from currently serving troops to Service families, and from veterans to recruits.”
This event is an attempt to, once again, place the military out of bounds for criticism following the coming to light over recent years of the ineptitude of the military top brass in keeping the troops alive and the barbarity of the culture on military bases. The leaving of military veterans, particularly those injured in the course of duty, on the scrap heap as soon as they have served their purpose is something the military has also been criticised for of late.
The rhetoric of Armed Forces Day, and military apologism in general, is phrased in such an emotive way as to make those who would criticise it out to be inhuman monsters. Similar to the ‘with us or against us’ false duality of George W Bush’s pro Iraq invasion speech it is insinuated that those who stand against celebrations of violence and rabid nationalism wish to see the streets flow with the blood of squaddies.
This is, without a doubt, true of an insignificant minority. The vast majority of those who criticise not only the state but the existence of the armed forces at all want to see the disbanding of the army. I mean why would we want to see harm come to the lads and lasses of the British armed forces? They are after all our friends and relatives, partners and lovers. The armed forces, well those who do the dying anyway, are almost exclusively made up of working class boys and girls so why would other members of the working class want anything other than their safety.
For many of our class the military is an attractive option for a seventeen year old on the dole queue or working in McDonald’s for minimum wage. A far higher wage than anything you’re likely to get in civy street and the promise of travel and adventure. What an attractive deal. The risk of death isn’t a real risk because, lets face it, at seventeen you’re immortal.
The Afghan and Iraq wars have however done a great deal of damage to this appeal. The obviousness of the lies spun by the state coupled with the number of coffins draped in the union flag returning from the deserts has led to a drop in the number of young men and women willing to sign up to fight and die.
The military has always been an active recruiter with nationwide advertising and recruitment stalls on the street and a, rather sickening to be honest, presence at jobs fairs at high schools. This move though from the military recruiting as an independent entity to a public festival, organised by the state, aimed at celebrating its very existence and recruiting yet more meat for the grinder, displays an attempt to militarise our culture.
Public festivals to celebrate military prowess are nothing new and have been used by the vilest of regimes as a cultural event that reinforces nationalistic sentiment and subordination to the power of the state. From Nazi Germany through Stalin’s USSR to modern day North Korea these celebrations of the states power to murder the citizens of other parts of the globe have been an integral part of the psychological remodeling of their societies. The reinforcing of the connection between cultural identity and the military will be an even more efficient recruitment tool than even national service. With national service you have a large force of, mostly, unwilling troops. By making military service part of a persons identity means that you have ready and willing troops. It’s not this generation that will see the effects of this cultural militarisation but future generations who will see a psychological shift towards accepting that a persons role is to serve in the armed forces.
Unless that is we can stop this in its tracks.
The other thing is, did noone think of the historical significance of putting tanks on George Square?
Posted on June 28, 2009, in Glasgow, Politics, Scotland and tagged anti military, anti war, armed forces day, british military, british nationalism, creeping fascism, Glasgow, militarisation, Nationalism, peace, troops home. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.