The public seems to be waking up to the reality that the British Army is not a force for good in the world. Not only have several Student Unions banned the army from recruiting there – on the very reasonable grounds that these new recruits would soon be off killing people in places where they have no right to be – but soldiers in at least one area have been instructed not to wear their uniforms in public for fear of vilification by members of the public. This conjures up quite a strange image of hardened squaddies skulking in the shadows to avoid dangerous mobs of Daily Mirror readers, armed with nothing but their rapier-like tabloid wit.
Predictably, Gordon Brown has appealed for these pillars of the State to keep their drabs on and for we subjects to show some dashed respect for what he calls “servicemen”, missing the point that it is their very apparent lack of service to either their countrymen or the citizens of the countries they are occupying which is prompting this reaction in the first place. What, Gordon, is this oh-so-important function which these unfortunates are fulfilling, without which our way of life would collapse? The silence is deafening.
So I urge everyone to follow suit – show these hirelings the same respect you would perhaps not to a crazed high school gunman, but to a hitman caught with his cloak and dagger askew. Jeers and catcalls, public shunning, ridicule… while perhaps not the do-as-you-would-be-done-by scenario I usually advocate, these seem a reasonable enough response to antisocial behaviour. (We have smoking ban, why not an overseas-interference ban, too?) Though come to think of it, I would like to think that if I decided to boss people around at the point of a gun I’d come in for some serious stick from my mates.
I’m sure some soldiers are in it for the violence, but the majority probably misguidedly join up to make something of their lives and do some good. Plastering over the macho ads with VSO posters, while keeping up a steady stream of barracking, seems like a good way to bring morale and eventually numbers down – with a full programme of forgiveness and rehabilitation for those who leave.
But of course the real problem is the sponsors of this international crime gang – us. We voted for the people who sent them there, and are even now funding their misbegotten exploits. So save the really nasty stuff for Brown, Cameron and everyone else who supports organised State violence – take their bloody jobs away.