The best hero is a dead hero

There’s little question that the majority of people consider those who join the military to be heroes.

Millions will click a “like” button on Facebook or elsewhere to declare that they “Support the troops“, probably on the basis that they “defend are freedoms” or some other similarly grammatically and logically questionable sentiment.  The media lays down a constant barrage of hero worship, making it very clear to one and all that regardless of your low social status, dubious personal characteristics or lack of educational achievement, the nation will adore and respect you if you would just sign up to go abroad to shoot brown people.

It must come as a shock then, when returning from active duty and finally leaving the military “are heros” discover the reality.

Almost one veteran an hour commits suicide in the United States, although the actual figures may be even higher because deaths are under-reported and no national register is kept.  There is help available to physically and mentally damaged veterans, but access is slow, and the service provided can be poor, as Air Force veteran Robin Temple alleges, with little or no legal recourse if things go wrong.

A third of all homeless people living on the streets on any particular day are veterans, sun, rain, sleet or snow, with as many as 800,000 experiencing homelessness at some point during any given year.

As tragic as this situation undoubtedly is, providing more help for veterans would cost money and let’s face it, US taxpayers didn’t spend trillions of dollars sending hundreds of thousands of troops to 800 military bases in over 60 different countries around the world at a cost of almost $1,000 per US citizen, just to then adopt a socialist “big government” system to support them on their return.  Hell no!

Dead heroes, on the other hand, are far less troublesome.

Besides giving them a decent send off with all the appropriate fan-fare, and mowing the grass over their graves, they require very little to no further support.  Their images are frozen in time, never ageing, untarnished human monuments to the glory of war.

They don’t wake up screaming in the night having re-lived being blown up by an IED, or shooting some young boy in Fallujah on the off chance that he might be an insurgent.

They don’t hang around the families they once were part of, in an estranged and distant reverie of haunting memories and psychoactive drugs.

They don’t shoot their families, and then themselves, and neither do they embarrass their government and leaders by making statements, videos, confessions to congress, or go on protests against the wars the government wants you to support, or stand up against the domestic militarized police force when they use excessive force against peaceful demonstrators, or worse, get injured by them.

All things considered, if you really want to be a hero, it’s far better to come home dead.

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Former NSA Director, Lt. General William Odom

Former NSA Director, Lt. General William Odom

Other quotes by Gen. Odom: “Voting only ratifies the constitutional deal that has been agreed to by elites- people or groups with enough power- that is guns and money, to violate the rules with impunity… Voting does not cause a breakthrough.”

“Terrorism cannot be defeated because it’s not an enemy, it’s a tactic… a war against a tactic is ludicrous and hurtful… a propaganda ploy to swindle others into supporting one’s own terrorism … and encourages prejudices against Muslims everywhere.”

The photo that was too hot for Facebook

On June 9th 1972, Nick Ut captured an image which shook the world and helped to bring to an end a long and bloody war.  This image more than any other captured the true horror of that war and it proved too much for public opinion to stomach.  It catapulted both the photographer and the subject, Kim Phúc, to international fame and was awarded the Pulizer Prize and the World Press Photo of the Year Award for 1972.

When, following the alleged Sarin attack in Damascus last August, John Kerry, US Secretary of State and Vietnam veteran, stated, “Make no mistake: President Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people” it struck me as more than ironic given that no one was ever prosecuted or held to account for the US’s own use of heinous weapons during the Vietnam War.  Who could possibly be more vulnerable than a naked little girl?

So, it seemed only natural to put the two together, the statement made by John Kerry and the image from Vietnam.

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The post took off, it was shared over a thousand times and had been viewed by around 50,000 people when Facebook first removed it, apparently for “violating community standards”.  I was given a 24 hour ban from posting as punishment.

This seemed absurd.  Facebook’s “Community Standards” state, “Facebook has a strict policy against the sharing of pornographic content and any explicitly sexual content where a minor is involved. We also impose limitations on the display of nudity. We aspire to respect people’s right to share content of personal importance, whether those are photos of a sculpture like Michelangelo’s David or family photos of a child breastfeeding.” Well, this image isn’t pornography, there is no sexual content involving a minor, and it was something of personal importance.  It’s also every bit as much art as Michelangelo’s David!

So, taking into account Facebook’s prudish nature, I amended the image and reposted it.  If anything, this actually sexualized it more…

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…but still it was removed and I was given another ban.

Censorship on Facebook is reaching ridiculous levels.  Our page is reported a lot, and almost every image we post simply because there are organised groups of people dedicated to silencing our voice because they happen to disagree with us.  They call us a “hate” group, as if saying you don’t think someone is a hero is hateful (if we wanted to hate on soldiers we’d call them “murderers” or “baby killers”) and say we should be grateful to the troops who “defend our freedom”, whilst they in the same breath try to take it away.