A permanent organization of the military land forces of a nation or state
A large number of people united for some specific purpose
There are plenty of advertisements on television and the press encouraging you to “be the best” or “have an exciting new career”, or “do something challenging in your spare time”. But what does it mean to be in the army (when I talk about army, I am including the navy and the air force)?
For sure, it’s exciting! Who wouldn’t want to carry around a gun, fly about in jet planes at the speed of sound, or fire missiles? It beats regular work for a living. You get to wear combat clothes, you are powerful; and best of all, you get respect. Who gets the kind of respect a soldier does?
People do what you say; they obey your commands. No one respects a builder, a plumber, or an office clerk just because of the job they do. Why?
The reason you get respect as a soldier, is because you bring fear into everyone’s lives. You bring the option of death if they do not comply! And it feels good to have that kind of power in your hands, doesn’t it? Yesterday you were a street sweeper or an office worker no one paid any attention to, and today you are the most powerful man in the world.
You wear your badge with pride. You are important. You are someone who demands respect. But who are you without your gun? Who are you without the thousands of armed men by your side? Who are you without the bombs that can kill or maim thousands in one go? No one.
I wonder why you want go join the army? Is it a deep sense of wanting to protect humanity from evil people, or wanting to do something “worthwhile” for your country?
Let’s talk about the sort of people who join. Well, it’s mainly men who join up, especially for the fighting – women just haven’t got the killer instinct like men have. Women are programmed to create and to nurture, not destroy; so they make bad front line troops.
So are these men committed to peace? Are they men of great learning and awareness – independent thinkers? No, of course not.
I don’t like generalising too much, but I would say that the average soldier is quite aggressive (required), lacks self-esteem as an individual, has no awareness of himself in the world, is of fairly low education, is able to be moulded into what ever the army requires, will follow orders without questions, and above all, is willing to kill anybody his commanding officer says “kill.”
High ranking officers are another breed. They are men who have education, but have been conditioned by their families and universities into believing are “fighting for a righteous cause,” “for queen and country” and all that sentimental ideology, and will put across a convincing intellectual case for everything they are doing.
Let’s go into this more deeply, shall we?
Do you know what it is to be brainwashed (subjected to intensive forced indoctrination resulting in the rejection of old beliefs and acceptance of new ones)?
It doesn’t seem possible that a modern civilisation would brainwash its citizens, but that is exactly what the army does. They remove any trace of the compassionate, loving man, and replace him with a killing machine that follows orders; and follow orders they must. Can you imagine the chaos on the front line if people used their own judgement as to whether to kill a man? No, the soldier must conform; there’s no time to think. Kill or be killed. “It’s him or you,” you are told in training. “Who’s it going to be soldier?” “Him, Sir, Yes Sir!”
Does this not seem strange to you, that your employer would want to break your mind into thinking only what he wants you to think?
If you work for a computer company, or at a book shop, would you expect your boss to scream and shout orders at you incessantly? Would you expect your boss to break you and recondition you to doing exactly what was wanted even if it went against everything you were? I don’t think so.
Humans do not have a biological predisposition to murdering other human beings in war; it has to be taught. You are forced to overcome any feelings of compassion and empathy for others, and do exactly what you are told. This is a job unlike any other.
I met a couple of ex-soldiers a few years ago, and I mentioned to them that they were just killing machines. They were upset when I mentioned this, and said that wasn’t what modern day soldiering was about. Yes, they would kill if necessary, but their job was much more complex than that. They told me about intelligence work and peacekeeping work etc. They firmly believed that they had not been conditioned and that in a modern army unit, whilst there were orders, they were openly encouraged to think like an individual.
But individuals are not what makes an army strong though. There is a clear chain of command, where the thinking is done at the top, and filters its way down through the various ranks until you get to the private.
If you are a soldier in the army reading this, you may feel angry that I have misrepresented you, and you feel you are doing everything in a good cause – but whose cause? Humanity’s?
I don’t think any person would agree that armies are working in the interest of humanity. Maybe it’s for your country, because you “love your country so much,” but remember many people have gone to war believing were right.
You don’t think millions of german soldiers would have gone to war if they didn’t believe they were right. You may believe you have “right” on your side, but whose right is it? God’s? Your leader’s?
Hitler convinced everyone he was right. People believed him. They joined the army and they killed because they believed it was “right.”
But people who join armies do not know right from wrong. How can you? You are not allowed to think for yourself. In some countries, soldiers who refuse to carry out orders are summarily shot to make an example of them; and show the rest of the troops must obey. Some soldiers have decided mid-battle that it wasn’t right to keep killing people and have decided to desert, or refuse to fight. They found out what it was like to go against orders. Shot or imprisoned.
Armies must have discipline. They must have absolute obedience, or they fall apart, and the only way to make homo sapiens – the most intelligent species on earth – obey every order you give, is to break his mind, and give him a new set of beliefs that are in line with every other soldiers. Complete mind control.
Anything in accord with principles of justice
Foreign governments often intervene in what they call “rogue” countries, sending in the army to overthrow the government by the use of military force. They believe they are in the right. On first examination this seems to be fair. A lunatic despot brutally murdering people from his own country? Surely that needs intervention. If we kill him and his cronies, that will help the people return to modern life. After all, we in the democratic countries cannot sit idly by and watch people being murdered; so we go in with all guns blazing with right on our side. We kill and we maim in the name of freeing the people, but we seem to forget, that in the act of freeing people from such brutality, we ourselves have become brutal.
There is an old expression that says “the ends never justify the means.” When the atomic bomb was dropped on hiroshima and nagasaki, that signalled the end of the second world war. We stopped the war by showing we could be more brutal than the japanese could ever conceive. We dropped those bombs to stop more people being killed and here we are in 2006 with just as many wars raging around the globe. Think about it.
Has sending in the army – even if we believed we were right – solved anything? Maybe temporarily, but until people understand their own minds, and start valuing all forms of life on this planet, there will always be someone, somewhere, who believes he is right, causing suffering. Violence always creates more violence, no matter who is in the right. In the end, it doesn’t matter who is right; innocent people will always die as a result. Do you think the pilots who dropped the bomb on hiroshima believed they were right to do so, or do you think they had just become brainwashed killing machines on a voyage of destruction?
Obviously they were conditioned as soldiers into obeying orders, but they must also have had a feeling that what they were doing was right. That the act of dropping the bomb would save more people than it killed. Except as usual it killed innocent people who probably believed their country was in the right!
The thing about armies is that they must detach from recognising the right of the individual to life. They must see the man as an enemy, not a human being, and in doing so, remove the personal responsibility for their deaths. Imagine will you for a moment, that instead of killing the 100,000 people by dropping the bomb on them, the soldier went round and killed the same number of people in his own country – house by house, street by street, executing every one of them. What sort of man would he be then? A monster? Inhuman? The worst serial killer on the planet?
He would be reviled by all, and people would be sickened by these acts of violence. But give him a uniform, a flag, and the blessing of the government, and he becomes a hero.
Please think about this carefully for a moment because it is of the utmost importance. In my mind there is no difference; the only difference is that he killed people from his own country, not a foreign country, and nobody said he could.
What detachment enables a government to send people like you and I to war, call us soldiers, and get us to kill in their name? They sanction the deaths of thousands of people yet they are not called to account. They are the ones in power, and they send you to die for them. For what? Freedom? For who?
As a species we have failed consistently. It is by pure chance we have managed to survive this long; but with the invention of nuclear weapons it could all be over for us in less than a day. Us, the planet, the animals and the birds.
Have we not learnt anything from the past? Of course not! The present is the present and people still want power and control over others. Until we shift our thinking that will never change. There will always be a new hitler to replace the old one. Hitler is just an example, but he embodies all men seeking to dominate, and overcome others, through an idea. An idea that needs an army to spread its message.
Tell me, did mahatma gandhi need an army to spread his message; one of peace and love? No, you don’t need a gun for that. You don’t need soldiers. You don’t need weapons of mass destruction, you just need a voice. Armies are only despatched when the message needs reinforcement with the threat of death.
So although we have talked about governments and powerful men controlling the army, they would be nothing without you. You are the army, you are the trained killer. You are the one who is brainwashed into obeying orders. You. The human being who has spent millions of years evolving into what you are today.
Without you there could be no genocide, no destruction, no terror, and no murder. You cause it. You who join the army in person or support it in name. You have a wonderful brain, and an amazing body; don’t let it be used by powerful controlling men as a machine to rain destruction on the whole world.
Stay as an individual, an independent thinker; and remember that the ends can never justify the means; and right is purely subjective. If none of you allow yourselves to be brainwashed, where would the powerful men be then? You make them powerful. You give them the ability to threaten others. You are no better than the murderer who kills innocent people in his home town. There is no “cause,” there is no “enemy,” only humans; and if only you took time to get to know them, you would find out that they’re exactly like you.