In old times, it is said, the king of a people would march to war in the first row. Today, politicians are absent in the wars they propagate. After watching this YouTube video clip here, I definitely want politicians to adhere to the tradition. The clip is real footage from helmet cameras of U.S. soldiers fighting in the Iraq war:
After reading through some pages of comments on that clip on YouTube, I got an impression of what war means for many of those U.S. soldiers in these days: it’s what Evan Wright says right in the title of his book: “Generation Kill“. Soldiers, understanding themselves as handicraft workers whose crafts is fighting and killing. They’re not political, at least not the point where their political view influences whom they’re fighting for. They’re lonely, unparented kids, fighting because it deems fun to them … . (For the details, see a YouTube video clip report on Generation Kill).
Now I’m not universally against military action. This is a torn world, and sometimes we have to use brute force to keep it from breaking into pieces. BUT. Brute force should never be in the hands of unethical people. Of those who thing fighting a war is fun. Nowadays, just this happened in the U.S. Armed Forces. And nobody seems to be aware of that. This is why I want politicians to take part in the fighting for some time: to see what brute, greedy mass is executing their commands, and how that torments the foreign people whose land was invaded. (And I’m not even talking here about the unethicality of these commands themselves, in the case of the Iraq war.)
Yes, politicians should experience first hand what war looks like these days. That will improve their ability to decide wherefore to use war. Yes, whoever want to be able to decide about war should have been at the front line for years, and should have seen comrades and civilians dying. War is a means, but it should be the last one. Barack Obama is definitely right in preferring understanding, negotiation and peace to war.
And if you want to study more extensively what real war looks like (well, what videos of real war look like), there’s really plenty of material on YouTube. I watched some shocking ones and made a selection for you:
- Camera on tank during fight in Baghdad
- sniping in Iraq by blackwater; Blackwater is a private security agency / army, and I still wonder what this guy is doing in the vid: how can he be sure there are so many enemys over there?
- Iraq Sniper Attack US Marines; here, the U.S. Army tank shoots down a whole hotel building to drive out one Iraqi sniper
- Spiegel TV – Sniper im Irak / Sniper in Iraq (German); includes the story of a U.S. soldier watching a video made by the Iraqi snipers who shot him down
- US Army soldiers and Marines fighting in Iraq; this is a promotion video of an army fan, just like the first cited video in this article is; note the violent lyrics of the background music – every kind of sane judgment regarding the earnest reality of war is absent in the videomaker’s mind, though war means dying
- Street Battle in Iraq
- The Real Iraq War (What They Didnt Want You To See!); take care, horrible pictures of the real effects of war inside. Really horrible.