We shouldn’t be quick to criticise troops
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.