Why can’t we give people jobs that don’t involve killing people

You escaped from the Dole queue, from Mum’s nagging, from a United Kingdom where you really weren’t wanted, or appreciated.

Anna‘s post reminded me that the military is the only public works programme that is widely supported. If our society fucks up someone’s life chances they can always find “meaning” and “skills” and “camaraderie” in the military.

Why we can’t give people meaning doing something useful? For example, we live in an ageing society, soon to be in need of a great number of carers. That is something far more productive than the military and wouldn’t cost a penny more.

I have a feeling that some people who think it is good people can find meaning in the military might think care work is below our boys; I think that reflects badly on them not me.

If your support for the military is grounded in giving people a chance in life you might want to consider giving people a chance in life that doesn’t involve centrally directed ultraviolence.

Oh well, this opinion is deeply unfashionable and tantamount to saying that our brave boys are wasting their time killing foreigners and dying for no good reason. No good reason?! Why look at the monuments we’ll build them!





Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas!(7) Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime. . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.


4 thoughts on “Why can’t we give people jobs that don’t involve killing people

  1. Time to re-read 1984, particularly the bits dealing with “The Book”. The purpose of war is to dispose of excess capital without improving the lives of the people, lest “the great mass of human beings who are normally stupefied by poverty … learn to think for themselves”. “It is a deliberate policy to keep even the favoured groups somewhere near the brink of hardship, because a general state of scarcity increases the importance of small privileges and thus magnifies the distinction between one group and another.”

    In other words, you can’t tell that you’re rich without the poor, and if we didn’t spend all that money on destruction, we might risk eliminating poverty. What are you, some sort of communist?

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