False Idols and the Insidious Foreign Policy Propaganda

On a popular social networking site a notification came up that vexed and perturbed me greatly. It requested that I support a cause to grant brutally murdered soldier Lee Rigby a state funeral, since he has inexplicably been ordained as a ‘hero’. I ruminated over what a ludicrous suggestion this was. My response was to enquire as to whether there was anywhere to sign a petition AGAINST a state funeral for the poor young soldier hacked to death in Woolwich. For Heaven’s sake, is his blood more precious than any other victim of a violent crime just because of the nature of his occupation? Thousands of Afghans, Syrians, Iraqis have not been able to honour and bury their dead following the terrorism acted out or supported by the West. Why should this young man receive more than the standard funeral and commemoration of his life? He certainly should not be immortalised or exalted, like he has been in the media, as anything higher than he was: which is one of many hundreds of thousands of tragic and unfortunate victims of politically or ideologically-driven violence. Petitions like the above and media coverage like we have seen the past couple of days is dangerous and irresponsible. Soldiers have become false idols in Britain and America especially, conferred with the label of ‘hero’ simply due to the nature of the contract in which they enter. They are not judged on their deeds but on the uniform they wear. They do a difficult and perilous job it is true, but they are aware of the difficulties and dangers; they come with the job. Doctors and nurses do a very hard and often thankless job, and they are ones who save lives, not destroy them. But yet they are confronted with grief, and sometimes even abuse and violence, in A & E wards around the country.
The venerated status of our servicemen and women as well as the exhortations to “support our troops” are the product of government and media propaganda. It is how the government keeps dissidence regarding overseas conflicts in check and how they manipulate the people into consenting to or supporting unjust foreign policies. Of course people will respond with enthusiastic acquiescence to the call of “Support the troops” that the government and national media disseminate. It is an obvious sentiment that people will follow and accept without question. But we need to grasp what these rallying cries really mean. Put simply, they are carefully constructed linguistic tools designed to manipulate the masses and manufacture consent. So that “Support our troops” becomes “Support our brutal foreign policy” “Support this unjust war”. Attention is deflected from the real issue, which is the wanton murder of thousands by the government for its (not our) selfish interests. The government foments this hero worship so as to justify their ’cause’. It is a curiously brilliant exercise designed to control public opinion through the media as well as an ingenious con trick. Language is a powerful mechanism that can be skillfully  manipulated and capitalised on as a method of winning popular consent to otherwise controversial and sometimes detrimental policies. It can be as simple as playing around with nouns so as to impose a menacing image upon or supposed enemies (e.g. terrorists, insurgents), and shroud our own deadly mercenaries in a positive light. Our fallen troops are named, their pictures on our television screens and in our newspapers; sometimes a quote from a family member is included, on how kind and loving the deceased was. However, a dead foe is the same as a living foe, nameless, almost without human characteristic, and of course always and unequivocally a terrorist or insurgent. No mention of the family who survive him. You see it is all a game of control and manipulation. The goal is to manufacture our consent, by attempting to detach us emotionally and compassionately from the deaths of non-Western combatants; soldiers who are dehumanised and depersonalised for defending their land from foreign invasion, a cause thoroughly more just than the one our governments preach.  According to the government our soldiers are engaged in eradicating terror, and spreading the liberty, equality and fraternity of democracy. While those who defend their country from foreign invasion are labelled ‘terrorists’ or ‘insurgents’, as if the cause to defend their land and themselves is unjust and punishable by their elimination. It is all a con.

I have a respect for soldiers and certainly do not wish to vilify them and label them as the enemy, or as the ones responsible for bringing Islamist terror our shores. They are just the poor, unfortunate indoctrinated pawns in the geopolitical and ideological games of the true enemy: your government. A government that has put all our lives in danger thanks to their collaboration with America’s ‘War on Terror’. We became a target as soon as troops set their foot into Iraq and Afghanistan, and the government of the time knew this to be a consequence of involvement in the conflicts. Terrorists cannot reach the politicians, the chiefs of staff or the field commanders so they target civilians for the purpose of enacting retribution. You think your governments are not aware of this fact? This government and the MoD likes to exalt soldiers as ‘heroes’ for their propaganda and diversionary purposes, but they generally do not have the slightest concern for their welfare. Why is it that the age of enlistment is so young? Well simply because they can easily be broken down at such an impressionable age, and indoctrinated with not only an army head, and a soldier’s mentality but also with the fallacy that life in the army is a job like any other. They leave the assembly line to become the warriors of political ideology, no longer answerable to themselves, but to a government and chain of command that inculcates them with false rationale and perverse “sense of duty” rhetoric. The military is supposed to be for national defense, but the West has made them into machines of repression and conduits to further their own interests, and it all rests on the government’s careful and insidious conditioning of the military as a collective of heroic patriots.

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About johnny3wishbone

University of Bristol alum Follow me on Twitter @DanielAdshead25 A few of my favourite things: International development, human rights, justice, wildlife conservation, primates, politics, literature, music, catharsis, theatre, my fiance, history, environment, current events, writing, reading, running, fundraising, campaigning, activism, travel, Prague, Bristol, Mexican food
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