Monday, April 30, 2007

Join the Army and Terrorize the World

Concerns have been raised over the mental health of soldiers serving in Australia's Armed Forces, with allegations that victims of post-traumatic stress syndrome are victimised, and that adequate counselling etc aren't available (read the ABC transcript). I've been hearing stories of psycho soldiers all my life, and certainly you can't even say the word "Vietnam" without the mental problems of veterans being raised next. Well pardon me if you disagree (as many of you will), but it all seems to me to be pointing out the bleeding obvious. You would have to be mentally unstable to the point of being insane to join the Armed Forces in the first place. Sure, all the advertising on tele makes it sound like you're signing up for the valuable leadership training, to discover your inner strengths, to learn new technology and be at the cutting edge of science, but the basic fact is that a soldier's job, fundamentally, is to commit murder, and to do it for no other reason than because someone else told you to. You train to kill people, and all the window dressing in every PR department doesn't change that simple fact. So before we go making too many accusations about the Army not providing counselling to its soldiers when they crack up, we should look at the simple fact that they weren't entirely sane when they joined up, either. Apparently though, the sort of violence and sadism which passes for "following orders" is excusable when you wear a uniform and get paid to murder people, whereas the psychotics in the general population, like the lunatic who gouged out his girlfriend's eye with a cattle prod or the sicko who tortured a 74 year old woman in her own home are condemned. He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword. Next time that ex-SAS veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq in the ABC story has a traumatic attack, he should stop and think of how many of his victims are suffering the same thing as a result of his actions.

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