Death and the old con-job


How will they dress up the deaths of the five American soldiers reportedly killed in southern Afghanistan yesterday by their own side? They’re using the term ‘fratricide’ at the moment, which sounds marginally better (I think) than ‘friendly fire’. But when the bodies or remains are shipped home to the US,  how will the burial ceremony speak of them? Probably that they died fighting in the cause of freedom. Certainly not that they died in a futile war thousands of miles  from home because the people they were fighting alongside literally didn’t know what they were doing.

Remember George Bush’s ‘new world order’? No, not the dumb son, the vacuous father, George Herbert Walker Bush. When Iraq invaded Kuwait, he sent US forces across the globe to set things right, and the killing of Iraqis was presented as a kind of mordant video game. What  followed was not a new world order so much as a new world disorder,  as 9/11 was followed by the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq (again) and further slaughter in related regions.

Did those five soldiers enlist because they bought the old lies about ‘Freedom’s first frontier’?  (that was Vietnam, incidentally.) Or did they join up because it sounded like an adventure, or because they couldn’t think of another way to make a living?  A living for which they’ve paid with their lives.

How high up the chain of command does it go, do you think, before the resounding rhetoric is recognised for the cynical con-job it is? The fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, we’re told, was/is being done by a coalition of allies. British prime minister Lord Palmerston was surprisingly frank about that, back in the nineteenth century: “Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests.”

How sad those five men had to be sacrificed in the interests of…what? You tell me. 

22 Responses to Death and the old con-job

  1. paddykool June 11, 2014 at 8:42 am #

    Well Jude. For the most part war is a nonsense perpetuated by military and economic interests. Of course it has always to be sold to the public before they can sacrifice their sons {and increasingly, their daughters} to something which is set up to line the pockets of a few. Most of those scooped into its maw are from the less fortunate social places .Some are simply indoctrinated to believe in a glorious brave adventure . The bald truth is that there is a military complex set up and sustained by factories producing the weaponry , uniforms and all the assorted paraphernalia of conflict and that has to be sustained to line the pockets of a few.

    Not a lot changes .A war like World War Two was predicated on German expansion and the threat had to eventually be faced . Increasingly though , wars are cherry-picked for strictly economic reasons .Yes , there’s an argument that our future comfort depends on the control of oil-producing countries but we cannot pretend to moralise about the reasons we enter conflicts. There are plenty of war situations that we could have entered for altruistic reasons but sharply stepped back from .Plenty of situations in very recent history.

    I’ve recently read the Vietnam book “Matterhorn” by Karl Marlantes. It is very enlightening , or should I say it is a timely reminder how much can so easily be forgotten by each new generation. We watched that war live on television but this book brings home what “friendly fire” actually means to some poor mother’s son right there on the ground, . It also reminds us how easily expendable that poor bugger is to the powers that sent him there. .

  2. Jim Lynch June 11, 2014 at 11:07 am #

    “War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.”

    Gen. Smedley Butler USMC.

  3. Patricia Davidson June 11, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

    But the Yanks will spin the old song…dulce et decorum est, pro fide et patria..these young men like so many of their countrymen died for absolutely nothing and all that is left are mourning mothers of Afghanistan and America

  4. Patricia Davidson June 11, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

    But the Yanks will spin the old song…dulce et decorum est, pro fide et patria..these young men like so many of their countrymen died for absolutely nothing and all that is left are the mourning mothers of Afghanistan and America

  5. Francis D June 11, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

    The US spends more on their Military than the rest of the world combined. Geo-political control has an impetus of its own. Russia is being threatened in all fronts in a Nato/US effort to Strangle it. Japan, against UN edicts in place since WW2 has dropped the small defence force they were restricted to and have now a standind Army just short of 300,000. To also counter China’s rise in the far East and Globally, over 400 missiles are pointed at China from Taiwan with made in US/UK stamped on most of them…..these soldiers were mere expendable pawns in a bigger Chess game…..the stakes are huge as well as we know. As you said Paddyk theWars we didn’t…..? I would omit the ‘We’ myself, for to think somehow that we are involved in any of our Governments geo-political moves as they vie for control and to protect the corporate interests they ultimately protect is to live in illusionm MI5 is bigger than MI6…..the NSA in the US is three times the size of the CIA. Empires through history have usually overexpanded then collapsed…..Dangerously this New World Order Empire may have an altogether more reverberating Swan song before its death knells where audible. Idiots wear the Blood Red Poppy without knowing the irony of its colour. Commemorating the madness that was the ‘Great War’ is insanity in its purest form. The Wars since the US and their ‘well shampooed poodle’ Britain have been in since excluding WW2, are adventurist with Economics and Control their sole motives without exception…..I was in a Malachi O Dohertys facebook article on Gerry Adams and Memory there. His diminution of the right of the Provos to say they were at War, and his definition of what War is when ai tested him, proved that even an incisive mnd like the bold Mal can be very miopic when it comes to the greater picture of the true nature of War……..’So silently like wrongs hushed up they went, We do not know to which front they were sent….’ Wilfred Owen……these hapless pawns in the ground would know little of the reasons they were there, elsewise, they would not be.

  6. Wolfe tone June 11, 2014 at 6:01 pm #

    It’s strange how republicans are urged to ‘move on’ when it comes to the war people don’t like to admit existed in the north. We are admonished if we rake up old wounds by remembering our dead etc etc. And yet if the people who ‘celebrate'(bbc breakfast this morning) the start of ww1 would be outraged if they were told to move on. Endless stories of young men barely in their teens performing heroic deeds seem to be the constant.
    Stories of 14 year olds ‘lying’ to get admitted to the Brit army to fight the Great War etc. How grown men could be tricked by young kids is beyond me, but that’s the narrative we must all accept. Woe betide if anyone suggests there may have been a blind eye turned. Better to send poor youngsters to fight rather than send the people who actually reaped the rewards of the war?
    I see the Argentinian football team were pictured with a banner proclaiming the Malvinas are Argentinian………..i suppose they should really ‘move on’ too? ; )

    • giordanobruno June 11, 2014 at 10:21 pm #

      Wolfe tone
      It is possible for both notions to be true.
      The glorifying of republican dead in our squalid ‘war’ is just as regrettable as the glorification of the futile deaths in the Great War.
      How commenters here can be so clear on the futility of wars abroad yet so misty eyed about the brutal conflict here is a mystery to me.

      • Ceannaire June 12, 2014 at 12:04 am #

        Ach now, gio, you are stretching it a bit there. We Republicans are regrettable about the war here in Ireland. Why don’t you ask one, if you know one.
        We regret also the loss of life in other wars – some of our relatives contributed to those.
        There is no misty eyed nonsense about what happens in any war. Conflict is conflict. Ask a friend, if you have one.
        (With apologies to Mr Churchill).

        • giordanobruno June 12, 2014 at 11:12 am #

          I don’t have any friends so I can’t ask one.
          But no misty eyed nonsense you say? We’ll see about that in 2016.
          No murals to fallen heroes then? No tales of the great escape over a pint?
          No sanctification of young men, who were at best fools at worst sociopaths?
          I am a republican by the way. Just not the kind that thinks it acceptable to kill my fellow Irishmen for my cause.

          • Jude Collins June 12, 2014 at 11:20 am #

            I’m not surprised (about the friends bit)..

          • Jude Collins June 12, 2014 at 11:22 am #

            As to misty-eyed nonsense in 2016 – you may be right. However, the central point that has to be faced up to by those in the 26 counties is that the state was founded on violence. An uncomfortable truth but a truth nonetheless.

          • giordanobruno June 12, 2014 at 1:34 pm #

            True enough
            I would just like to see those who worked non violently for civil rights and indeed for a United Ireland given the reverence that the violent ones receive.
            To my mind resorting to violence shows weakness not strength.

  7. ANOTHER JUDE June 11, 2014 at 6:05 pm #

    There has to be something in the drinking water in Britain and the USA because for generations young men have lined up to fight in stupid, sordid little conflicts. They never consider the feelings of the natives, whether they are Irish, Afghan or Iraqi. Their public (especially in Britain, at least America has a proud record of anti war sentiment amongst it`s more enlightened members of society…) never condemn their boys, occasionally they will criticise a politician or two but NEVER the troops. The fawning of Breakfast tv presenters whenever a `hero` comes on is beyond words. They are paraded before the FA Cup Final, poppies are worn for weeks rather than days. As for the poor saps who die in these countries, miles from home, half the time their deaths are passed off as accidents. Bad for morale to admit that Johnnie Foreigner is actually a pretty good shot.

  8. Iolar June 11, 2014 at 7:06 pm #

    Iraq is making headlines again for all the wrong reasons. Let’s not forget the late Dr David Kelly and his scepticism in relation to the invasion of Iraq. It is interesting that his post-mortem documents will be kept secret for 70 years. I wonder why?

    • Wolfe tone June 12, 2014 at 10:35 am #

      Iolar: be careful of ‘conspiracies’ for you will have William fay biting at your feet.

      How proud must these supporters of western armies feel to have reduced Iraq to the state it is now? An absolute example of how not to bring democracy to a country. Alas some would suggest this was the plan all along ie destabilisation of Iraq. Suspicions are the Brits/US fomenting the sectarianism going on there to achieve this objective. I recall two sas hoods were arrested a few years ago armed to the teeth masquerading as insurgents, and suspected of attacking both Sunni and shia in an effort to heighten sectarianism(where have the Brits done this before I wonder?) And just like Iraq they brought ‘democracy’ to Afghanistan and Libya and lo and behold they are now reaping the rewards of the North Atlantic Terrorist Organisations take on democracy. Absolute mayhem, well done NATO.
      Not satisfied with just these countries they almost got a chance to have a go in Syria but for Putin pulling the rug from under them and trying the diplomatic way. Ironically enough these al Qaeda operating in Iraq at the minute are believed to have spilled over from Syria conflict. These were the same people the west was supporting to overthrow Assad. Strange.
      Well if you are proud of your troops creating this mayhem in these countries so be it, but please allow others not to glorify this terror.

  9. Paddy everton June 11, 2014 at 9:03 pm #

    As Yeats put it….
    “Those that I fight, I do not hate.
    Those I defend, I do not love”
    I suspect that sums up the five young pieces of cannon fodder that were sacrificed on the alter of political expediency and corporate greed.

  10. Argenta June 11, 2014 at 9:28 pm #

    “How sad those five men had to be sacrificed in the interests of —what? ” Could the same comment not be applied to many of the young men in the I R A?

    • Jude Collins June 12, 2014 at 11:19 am #

      I expect it could. Although as I understand it, the IRA made clear to potential recruits that the chances of them ending up in prison or dead were high. That’s not the usual recruiting slogan. I remember as a child in a garrison town seeing large posters urging to ‘Join the Army and See the World’….

  11. Virginia June 11, 2014 at 10:21 pm #

    The US Soldiers will continue on as professional soldiers always do. No crying, or irrationally long blog posts, rather, using the intellect of soldiers, they will turn their attention to ensuring such a travesty does not easily occur again in the future.
    Note to the writer who used the term Yanks, Yank is an insult to many.

    • Virginia June 11, 2014 at 11:40 pm #

      Jude does dislike and urge is not to use trigger words.

      • Jude Collins June 12, 2014 at 11:17 am #

        Spot on, Virginia…Btw, I thought I had copyright of ‘Virginia’…?

  12. Francis D June 12, 2014 at 12:51 am #

    Virginia, you cite the professionalism of the US troops as if that was the main, indeed any part of the issue, or the question asked above by Jude. You ate part of a tiny minority in the World who do not see the US as the biggest threat to peace on this planet. Britain, their leutenent (sp), are all too willing to follow them into their agressive illegal resourse Wars. If it is all about the machismo of the modern Soldier without a critique of their role, WISE UP and use your Reason….not some short sighted idiocy. They died for nothing.