Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Tommy this and Tommy that....

A political scheme that cannot be carried out except by soldiers will not be a permenant one. The soldier is an anacchronism of which we must get rid. Among people who are proof against the suggestions of romantic fiction there can no longer be any question of the fact that military service produces moral imebecility, ferocity, and cowardice, and that the defence of nations must be undertaken by the civil enterprise of men enjoying all the rights and liberties of citizenship and trained by the exacting discipline of democratic freedom and responsibility.
For all George Bush's blather about freedom, I doubt he could mach George Bernard Shaw's comment above - the whole passage is a blast against military ideology: soldiers are robbed of their freedom, infatilised by military discipline, stripped of responsibility. Why should officers require lynch law court marshals when railway companies can survive without them? Are they that incompetant to command?.
...soldiers pay the penalty of their slavery and outlawry by becoming relatively to free citizens, destructive, cruel, dishonest, tyranical, hysterical, mendacious, alarmists at home and terrorists abroad, politically reactionary and professionally incapable.
Of course, say that on a platform at the park, and people will look at you like a flat Earther. The very idea that a standing peacetime army was seen as the acme of political tyranny goes unnknown today - a standing army is the natural order (though this is a historical anachronism, much like the eternal presence of police, which, I discovered in a book yesterday, Rome lacked).


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