We shouldn’t be quick to crit­i­cise troops

Townsville Bulletin - - Voice Of The North - Townsville Bul­letin BRIAN DA­LEY, Cran­brook.

THE pub­lic de­bate about Face­book com­ments o f some of our Dig­gers ap­pears lop­sided. Sol­diers in all wars use lan­guage which de­monises and de­hu­man is es­theene my. Huns, Krauts, Japs, Nips, Slopes and Gooks are all terms used by our troops in past wars. Psy­chol­o­gists tell us it is eas­ier to kill an en­emy if we see them as less than hu­man.

The com­ments of these young peo­ple must be seen in con­text. Their con­ver­sa­tions are not held in the clois­tered, priv­i­leged and in­clu­sive so­ci­ety we en­joy.

These young peo­ple face death daily in de­fence of a fledg­ling democ­racy, pro­tect­ing women and chil­dren from the en­emy, in dirty, dusty and cold ter­rain. We send these sol­diers to Afghanistan, to pro­tect civil­ians and if nec­es­sary, to kill the en­emy. Yes, kill the en­emy. It is a lux­ury to pass judg­ment on these young war­riors from the com­fort of our cafes over a lat­tes as we pe­ruse the Bul­letin.

To­day’s young sol­diers have ac­cess to tech­nol­ogy which al­lows us to glimpse the ugly side of war. And war is ugly. ‘‘ But’’, as John Stu­art Mill said, ‘‘ . . . it is not the ugli­est of things. The de­cayed and de­graded state of moral and patriotic feel­ing which thinks that noth­ing is worth war is much worse.

The per­son who has noth­ing for which he is will­ing to fight. . . is a mis­er­able crea­ture and has no chance of be­ing free un­less made and kept so by the ex­er­tions of bet­ter men than him­self."

We need to be thank­ful that we have young peo­ple pre­pared to fight for free­dom on our be­half.

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