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BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?

GUEST,CS 26 Apr 12 - 09:35 AM
Rapparee 26 Apr 12 - 09:53 AM
GUEST,999 26 Apr 12 - 10:12 AM
olddude 26 Apr 12 - 10:19 AM
GUEST 26 Apr 12 - 10:31 AM
GUEST,josepp 26 Apr 12 - 10:33 AM
GUEST,CS 26 Apr 12 - 10:35 AM
GUEST,CS 26 Apr 12 - 10:43 AM
GUEST,999 26 Apr 12 - 11:13 AM
Leadfingers 26 Apr 12 - 11:32 AM
GUEST,Lighter 26 Apr 12 - 11:45 AM
ranger1 26 Apr 12 - 12:46 PM
gnu 26 Apr 12 - 12:54 PM
Richard Bridge 26 Apr 12 - 12:57 PM
GUEST,CS 26 Apr 12 - 01:30 PM
gnu 26 Apr 12 - 01:45 PM
frogprince 26 Apr 12 - 01:52 PM
Bonzo3legs 26 Apr 12 - 01:53 PM
Rapparee 26 Apr 12 - 02:04 PM
gnu 26 Apr 12 - 02:12 PM
kendall 26 Apr 12 - 02:13 PM
Jeri 26 Apr 12 - 03:50 PM
Charmion 26 Apr 12 - 04:30 PM
GUEST, Lighter 26 Apr 12 - 04:47 PM
Richard Bridge 26 Apr 12 - 05:01 PM
Charmion 26 Apr 12 - 05:25 PM
GUEST,CS 26 Apr 12 - 05:34 PM
gnu 26 Apr 12 - 06:36 PM
Little Hawk 26 Apr 12 - 07:51 PM
Little Hawk 26 Apr 12 - 07:54 PM
Rapparee 26 Apr 12 - 09:16 PM
artbrooks 26 Apr 12 - 09:29 PM
gnu 26 Apr 12 - 10:41 PM
michaelr 26 Apr 12 - 10:44 PM
gnu 26 Apr 12 - 11:16 PM
GUEST,Teribus 27 Apr 12 - 03:02 AM
GUEST,Eliza 27 Apr 12 - 03:39 AM
Richard Bridge 27 Apr 12 - 05:01 AM
GUEST,Eliza 27 Apr 12 - 05:55 AM
Les from Hull 27 Apr 12 - 10:51 AM
Richard Bridge 27 Apr 12 - 10:58 AM
GUEST,Teribus 27 Apr 12 - 11:02 AM
Little Hawk 27 Apr 12 - 11:16 AM
Megan L 27 Apr 12 - 01:41 PM
Ebbie 27 Apr 12 - 03:23 PM
GUEST,josepp 27 Apr 12 - 04:07 PM
Little Hawk 27 Apr 12 - 04:23 PM
artbrooks 27 Apr 12 - 04:28 PM
gnu 27 Apr 12 - 04:45 PM
GUEST,999 27 Apr 12 - 05:56 PM
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Subject: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 09:35 AM

I'm aware that this thread may be potentially highly flammable, but I just wanted to provoke a discussion about the glaring disconnect (which I perceive at least) between the way in which the military have been aggressively packaged and marketed in recent years and the reality.

An opinion piece published on Indymedia articulated some of my own strong misgivings about the "Heroes" PR campaign/propaganda we have all been subjected to from the mass media for the past several years. A campaign I for one have found decidedly nauseating, and the saccharin quality of which I've been forced to endure recently in a choir while learning the 'Military Wives Hymn' which goes so far as to directly identify army boys with Christ in it's use of the lyric "my prince of Peace!":

"Those who join the world's armies are not heroes. They are, by definition, mercenaries – invading, occupying, murdering and terrorising in return for a pay-check. There is nothing heroic about this. Heroes do something extraordinary and spontaneous for no reward, monetary or otherwise. All soldiers – whilst they agree to murder and dominate on behalf of the oppressors – are mercenaries."

More here, in which the piece also discusses the way in which the army are being currently trained to suppress public dissent in the wake of this govt.s "austerity" cuts:

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2012/04/494634.html


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: Rapparee
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 09:53 AM

Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,
The hour when earth's foundations fled,
Followed their mercenary calling,
And took their wages, and are dead.

Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned, these defended,
And saved the sum of things for pay.
                         -- A.E. Housman

When you know what the hell you're talking about, then you might want to open your mouth. Otherwise you'll sound like a fool.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 10:12 AM

'How do we pick and choose where to get involved? Canada and other peacekeeping nations have become accustomed to acting if, and only if, international public opinion will support them - a dangerous path that leads to a moral relativism in which a country risks losing sight of the difference between good and evil, a concept that some players on the international stage view as outmoded. Some governments regard the use of force itself as the greatest evil. Others define "good" as the pursuit of human rights and will opt to employ force when human rights are violated. As the nineties drew to a close and the new millennium dawned with no sign of an end to these ugly little wars, it was as if each troubling conflict we were faced with had to pass the test of whether we could "care" about it or "identify" with the victims before we'd get involved.'

Roméo Dallaire

That man a mercenary? I don't think so. If you are unaware who he is, think Rwanda and 20,000 people he saved from being butchered. Canada had the good sense to make him a Senator after they got rid of him as a military leader. You can find "The General and the Genocide" with a google search. Read it, then tell me about him being a mercenary.

You are entitled to your opinion about those who have left all or parts of their minds and bodies in conflicts, but please don't say shit like that in front of me, thank you.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: olddude
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 10:19 AM

Well one hell of a lot of those so called "mercenaries" gave their life so you can post freely on this website. Without them, you would be in jail or dead .. so I thank the hero's that came before me and are here with me now


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 10:31 AM

"Those who join the world's armies are not heroes. They are, by definition, mercenaries – invading, occupying, murdering and terrorising in return for a pay-check. There is nothing heroic about this. Heroes do something extraordinary and spontaneous for no reward, monetary or otherwise. All soldiers – whilst they agree to murder and dominate on behalf of the oppressors – are mercenaries."

Demonize much? As a former-"mercenary" I can forthrightly state that we who join the military are not heroes just for that fact alone. But neither are we murderers or terrorists. We do the job assigned to us whether we like it or not. And, yes, we do it for a paycheck. I'm sure as hell not going to do it for free. That was the hardest 6 years of my life.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: GUEST,josepp
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 10:33 AM

Last post was me. Also look up "mercenary," I think you're unclear on the concept.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 10:35 AM

Maybe when the US ceases it's incessant campaigns of military aggression against the rest of the world, then I'll be interested in having my opinions criticised by those those who support their massive military machine.

WWII was a long time ago by the way. And as heroic as many of those who served back then may have been, it can't be used to condone aggressive Western military activities today.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 10:43 AM

By the way, I do apologise for any offense caused to those here by expressing my views. I'm aware it's a very contentious position.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 11:13 AM

CS, it is certainly a hot topic. I meant no offense to you personally.

In more or less democratic countries, soldiers go where their elected civilian representatives send them. The issues you mention are real, but the folks you have to address are in Ottawa, London or Washington. Believe it or not, most soldiers would be very happy to serve their time in peace without being shot at or shooting at anyone else.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 11:32 AM

So , CS , does that make the guy who went awol instead of going to Iraq for the first war after twelve years of living it up on VERY good money in Germany a 'hero' ??   NOT in MY book ! And YES ! I HAVE been there , and been shot at for my trouble. At least in UK service personnel do a damn difficult job , even if it IS for money


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 11:45 AM

Housman wrote his defiantly sarcastic poem in response to German World War I propaganda that German soldiers were wholesome patriots while the British Army was made up of "mercenaries" from the slums.

A "mercenary" fights for whoever pays the most. Few members of any national military fit that category. Of course, if someone wants to claim that receiving a salary to serve automatically makes a mercenary(because everybody hates mercenaries), they can go ahead and say so. But the real distinction should be obvious.

As for heroes, battlefield heroes do what they do unselfishly, no matter what side they're on. That includes the "bad guys."

They don't think, "Gee, if I save/ kill that guy, I'll get a medal!" Not every hero gets a medal. Far from it. Normal people don't seek to be shot at or blown up just to get a snazzy medal. People who do are psychos.

The actions of people who say, "Gee, if I blow up those helpless civilians I'll go straight to Heaven!" are indistinguishable from psychotic actions, IMO. Regardless of their religion.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: ranger1
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 12:46 PM

Ask to see a soldier's paycheck sometime. They don't get paid much for putting their lives on the line.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: gnu
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 12:54 PM

I can understand YOUR view, CS, of the PR part of things but I agree with everything said opposing the "mercenary concept". Especially 9's... "please don't say shit like that in front of me, thank you.". Except for the "please" part.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 12:57 PM

Armies are a regrettable necessity for countries, but I do worry about the mindset of those who join military forces voluntarily. Those I know who have joined at very low levels seem in many cases (not all) to be the sort of people to whom dominance is the answer to disagreement. Those who I know who have joined at any level seem in almost all cases to be the sort of people for whom orders have a protected status, who want to be protected from having to think for themselves, who will follow orders blindly and want to be able to give orders that will be followed blindly - and who may have enjoyed or suffered those things in their families.

Those I know who used to be in military forces seem often to have suffered mentally as a result of the things they have done under orders.

But the military in Afghanistan surely are right on the whole to be prepared to fight the Taliban - look at what the Taliban did. Their leaders and the civilian commanders above them however surely erred. AFAIK there has never been (Teribus or Keith A may know better than I) a successful invasion of Afghanistan and now there is a military shambles almost as bad as Vietnam.

Iraq - well the invasion may have toppled a tyrant, but again an ignominious retreat is dawning and I strongly suspect that a regressive theocracy to rival Iran will emerge. Libya - well, wait and see, but the requirements limiting candidacy in election (if elections do ever properly result) are not promising.

I tend to feel sorry for but suspicious of the man or woman in uniform. Conscripts have no choice, but those who volunteer to fight must surely be mostly those for whom fighting rather than the triumph of good over evil is a virtue, because they know when they volunteer that they do not have the choice of whether they serve good or evil - only that they have offered to serve and now must serve, as they are commanded.

But is there a better path for a country than to maintain a military force?


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 01:30 PM

Thanks for that thoughtful response Richard. In particular I would tend to agree with this:

"those who volunteer to fight must surely be mostly those for whom fighting rather than the triumph of good over evil is a virtue, because they know when they volunteer that they do not have the choice of whether they serve good or evil "

As a musical aside, I just realised that one of the folk songs I sing vividly describes some of the issues touched on here. Arranged by Andy Irvine and based on a Romanian folk song collected by Bartok at the turn of the century, to me it feels as keenly pertinent today as ever:

Blood and Gold


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: gnu
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 01:45 PM

Bullshit. Many are forced to join the military because it's the only paycheque available. The rich of our nations MAKE it happen for THEIR benefit.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: frogprince
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 01:52 PM

Bingo, gnu.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 01:53 PM

"Bullshit. Many are forced to join the military because it's the only paycheque available. The rich of our nations MAKE it happen for THEIR benefit."


I wondered how long it would take for that old chestnut to emerge from the loonie left!


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: Rapparee
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 02:04 PM

Being an "old chestnut" makes it no less true. Been there, been that, seen that, got the medals.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: gnu
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 02:12 PM

Bonzo... yer the loony if you don't understand that reality. I suspect you may have been born with a silver spoon up yer ass. Never heard of poor people in our countries? That's rich.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: kendall
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 02:13 PM

Don't get me started!


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: Jeri
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 03:50 PM

We're from different countries with different economic situations. Thinking of those in the military as mercenary is a simplistic was of looking at things, and has a lot to do with not knowing anything about what people in the military do that isn't swallowed from third-hand (at least) sources. In my case, I did disease prevention. Would that ever qualify as something a "mercenary" does? I also joined because I couldn't find a job and I needed the money, so I KNOW that's one reason people join.

If it doesn't matter what job one does, but who one does it for, I suppose that makes all government employees mercenaries.

I associate the term with someone who kills for money, and doesn't care who they're killing or killing for. Not only is there no right or wrong, there's no loyalty based on principles.

Most people in any military are, whether you think it's good, bad, or maybe, are loyal to a country.

Military members also can decide not to shoot or do whatever is expected. They can be prosecuted, but they can refuse orders.

At least it seems it's been a while since we re-played this particular argument. Maybe there will be some new thoughts.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: Charmion
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 04:30 PM

This is such a first-world problem.

Whenever this topic comes up, I see once again the gap that yawns between the civilians of prosperous developed nations and the men and women who serve in the professional armed forces of those nations. Have this conversation with an Afghan, or an Israeli, or perhaps a Sudanese, and brace yourself for polite confusion or scornful laughter.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: GUEST, Lighter
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 04:47 PM

> the gap that yawns between the civilians of prosperous developed nations and the men and women who serve in the professional armed forces of those nations.

Should read "some civilians."


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 05:01 PM

There would be more to your theory gnu if it was so easy to get into the armed forces, but it isn't - I know a number of youngsters right now who can't get in. It's just another job to compete for. So it's still a choice. At least in the UK.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: Charmion
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 05:25 PM

Sorry, Lighter. Some civilians. I'm a civvy myself, after all -- now.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 05:34 PM

Firstly, I think it may be worth clarifying that my initial post was principally (albeit not necessarily entirely) aimed at the UK, inasmuch as here in the UK we've been saturated with the "Heroes" propaganda machine for some years now, so much so that as said above, the IMO obnoxiously populist 'Wherever You Are' Military Wives Choir hymn, directly identifies soldiers with the 'Prince of Peace' Christ himself.

Secondly, my -and seemingly others*- increasing anger at this unrelenting sacrificial 'Christlike' propaganda, may have arguably generated a false dichotomy of black v's white, whereby the inverse negative image of the propaganda, encroaches upon the reality - which may in truth lay somewhere in the middle of both.

That's not to say I retract my objections to the ways in which soldiers are cynically used as imperial tools by politicians, but that I think there are clearly a variety of reasons that soldiers sign up - including economic choices as pointed out above.

This does not mean that I personally would condone such choices however, but that I recognise others may have a differing set of priorities to me, as indeed is their right.



* there is a Facebook group "Soldier's Aren't Heroes" which I can't link to due to the volume of hits hating on it!


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: gnu
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 06:36 PM

Ricky... tell them to apply for service as a grunt in the US. Bob's yer uncle. A bit of paperwork and wham bam thank you Maam.

And, as for my "theory", bullshit. Plain, pure bullshit. It's a fact and if you deny it, you deny reality. Even if the UK has more applicants for military service than jobs available, it merely points to the fact that poor people are fighting for those jobs. I believe you have kneecapped your own arguement... check AND mate, mate.

It ain't rocket science. It's just the way it is.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 07:51 PM

There are all kinds of different angles to this matter, and the truth is not WHOLLY contained in any one of them. Therefore, best if people don't respond with the first kneejerk reaction that their background moves them to when their buttons get pushed....but think about the subject at some length.

First of all...

1. A true mercenary is by definition someone who willingly fights for ANY side that pays him well enough, regardless of what the cause is or why. And he'll change sides if offered higher pay! That would be a pure 100% mercenary...his position is completely ammoral and it has only to do with getting the best pay he can get.

There are some people like that. Most soldiers do not fall under that definition, however. They are mostly willing to fight only for the side that they most believe in or identify with in a military conflict...and that means, they'll fight for their country, their culture, their religion, their political affiliation, etc. They usually fight for the culture they're most familiar with, to put it simply.

And they may be quite naive when it comes to that...thus they may end up backing very questionable causes, as I think is the case with the people out there fighting America and the UK's imperial wars, which are really being fought for the control of oil, not for democracy.

Nevertheless, the soldiers in the official armed forces are usually under the (false) impression that they are fighting for decent things, such as democracy, liberty, freedom, etc....they are not consciously acting as mercenaries.

2. They ARE getting paid. Of course! No one would go at all if there wasn't a salary being offered. People have to expect to get paid if they are going to work for any enterprise, because they have to support themselves and their families. The mere fact that they are getting paid does not qualify them as mercenaries. There would BE any armies if the soldiers didn't get paid something for serving.

3. What about the question of "heroes"? There are countless heroic acts performed by people on all sides in every war, regardless of whether it's your side...or the other side. But do these herioc acts in themselves mean that the people performing them are "heroes"??? It's a matter of opinion, isn't it? I think they're just ordinary people in dreadfully stressful situations, doing the best they can...and their governments CALL them "heroes" in order to bamboozle more people into getting into the same awful circumstances.

So the "hero" labelling is something that is mostly done by governments to keep the public supporting a war. And they wouldn't dream of calling equally brave fighters on the other side "heroes", would they? So our governments are cynically and hypocritically using the term "hero"...not for the good of the men they send out to die...but to manipulate public support for a war.

I am reminded of what Adolf Galland said once, long after the end of WWII. He was one of Germany's greatest surviving fighter aces, and he had many friends among his former opponents in the Allied forces after the war, and was considered an honorable man by the men who flew against him.

At any rate, a brash young reporter said to him in the 1990s..."Mr Galland, how does it feel to be a real living hero of the air war?"

He gave the young man a long, solemn look, and said, "I don't recall any heroes. I just remember my those who lived...and those who died."

That pretty well sums it up. He was there, and he knew the empty rhetoric of "heroism" that is bandied about by governments and media and exactly what it is used for...and he was not going to pander to it one bit. It wasn't glorious. It was a tragedy on a simply massive scale. So why glorify it?

4. Now, back to the matter of mercenaries...although the soldiers employed by a government are NOT technically mercenaries, in my opinion....you could certainly argue that they are mercenaries by default...if you want to. That's a matter of indidual opinion. If so, they're not consciously aware that they are, but they're being used.

It is my opinion that governments have been cynically using soldiers ever since armies have existed. This is true of virtually all governments, and a lot of soldiers eventually realize it, specially when their side loses a war. They experience disillusionment and realize that their leaders were just using them. They feel revulsion for what was done to them. This was certainly true of a vast number of Axis soldiers after WWII, and some Allied soldiers also had this reaction after the fact, depending on their experiences and their individual nature.

Others remained true believers in the cause. That comes down to a matter of individual belief and temperament.

5. Every shade of opinion offered above in this thread has some justification to it...some kind of reason and consistent rationale...but it isn't the only way one can look at it.

6. If you're a patient person, you'll be willing to see the angle the other person is coming from and understand it.

7. If you're not a patient person, if you can only see from one angle....then you'll tell them they're full of shit and start verbally abusing them.

And that's what I mostly see happening on the Internet. Pretty sad.

8. And there are still other ways one can look at this very complex issue. One might address, for example, the privatization of warfare that is occuring primarily in the USA as private American corporations like Blackwater and many others of the same type take over what the government-employed soldiers used to do, and field many paramilitary forces to fight America's wars (and to deal with something like security following Hurricane Katrina). Those guys DEFINITELY are mercenaries, because their employers are doing it strictly for profit, and getting very well paid to occupy and brutalize 3rd World countries (or poor neighborhoods) on behalf of corporate interests.

And that's scary.

Virtually all wars are fought basically for profit. To secure land, resources, trade routes, and political power. In that sense all wars are mercenary actions (by the aggressor)...but the soldiers themselves are usually pretty much unaware of that. They are told all kinds of other idealistic moral reasons for why they are fighting...generally a pack of lies.

And that's sad.

Who are you going to blame for it? The soldiers? Or the rich people who sent them out to fight?


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 07:54 PM

Say...There are a few minor typos in the above. It happens. Use your common sense, and I think you can figure them out easily enough. Just pay attention to the context, and it shouldn't really be that hard.

There's a "would", for example, that should be "wouldn't".

I could go through it all piece by piece, but I've already chewed up more than enough time on this thread. And there are other things I could be doing.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: Rapparee
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 09:16 PM

To enlist in the Armed Forces of the US you need either a GED or a high school diploma. Minimum. The days when someone is going to allow a dropout to drive a multi-million dollar tank are over. And if you have REAL computer experience (not just FB and games) it helps.

Training is rigorous, and while I as an ex-grunt might not agree with it, I'm not in a position to criticize because my own service was long ago and far away in many directions. Even then you did your best to turn out soldiers, not just cannon fodder...and so did whoever you were fighting (e.g., the Viet Cong).

But I'm out of that and out of here. Like LH, I have other things to do.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: artbrooks
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 09:29 PM

Troll alert


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: gnu
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 10:41 PM

Y'Art! I hear ya. I am gone too.

gnightgnu


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: michaelr
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 10:44 PM

It's a music thread now.

I call bullshit on "forced to join" etc. In the absence of a draft, and especially in the absence of what they call a "just war", no one is forced to become a soldier. It's a choice. Anyone can choose not to be a hired killer. It involves ethics.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: gnu
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 11:16 PM

Sorry, I had to come back for this one...

michaelr:

Ethics? No one is forced to become a soldier?

It involves survival for some of the poor in our countries.

What do you people not understand about that?

Join up or starve or steal. It HAPPENS. EVERY day.

I cannot believe you guys. How callous and how unfeeling for your poor brothers and sisters. Shameful. Almost as criminal as the rich who subjugate the poor in forcing them to kill in their blood for oil wars.

Ethics my ass. Youse all should get some ethics. And some compassion and understanding.

And, you should thank those soldiers for your standard of living and your freedoms. They come at a high price and the POOR are the ones who pay the HIGHEST price.

Fuck I am pissed off.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: GUEST,Teribus
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 03:02 AM

AFAIK there has never been a successful invasion of Afghanistan - Richard Bridge

Down through the centuries there have been many successful invasions of "Afghanistan" (During the Mongal invasion they actually had the entire population killed - can't get more successful than that) It was once given away as a wedding present. Throughout its history up until 1747 it has been passed from one Empire to another and thereafter it has complied with the bidding of Empires until it gained its independence in 1919.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 03:39 AM

Little Hawk, I've often been impressed by your rational and reasoned thinking, and your moderate, wide-seeing approach to contention. You have excelled yourself here IMO. I agree with all you have written. (Not that my humble opinion is worth much, but for what it is worth, you've summed up the topic from all sides justly and wisely. I really admire that.)


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 05:01 AM

Teri - I'd say that there was no successful invasion of Afghanistan since earlier than that, bearing in mind what happened on the retreat from Kabul in, what was it, 1842. The Mongol massacres took place before 1221. OK, maybe "ever" was a slight overstatement. But the history of Afghanistan on Wikipedia looks like some support for saying that since then no invading force has stayed in Afghanistan and all have eventually been supplanted by local forces.

LH - you start from the assumption that a mercenary will typically renege for a better offer. My very limited knowledge of medieval history leads me to think that a mercenary troop generally accepted and engagement for a period or task for a fixed fee and that quitting the engagement before then (unless the fee went unpaid) was both untypical and strongly disapproved of - and indeed militated against obtaining future engagements.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 05:55 AM

Many African mercenaries (among the many conflicts and uprisings, civil wars and rebellions over the years) have changed sides, either because the money ran out, more was offered by another party, or things got too dodgy! In medieval history, during the civil disturbances against Matilda, King Stephen's Fleming mercenaries (generally operating on the Welsh borders) were very capricious and unreliable. They definitely weren't fighting for him for any altruistic reason.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 10:51 AM

Well said LH. You've summed up the situation very well. I've very little to add.

People in the UK don't owe their freedom to soldiers since those who fought in WW2, like my dad (not that he had much choice). Even then a successful invasion of Britain by Germany would have been pretty much impossible.

Soldiers aren't particularly well paid, but they are fed clothed and housed somewhat.

And finally, killing people is wrong.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 10:58 AM

Incidentally the Irish Times today reports 10,000 applicants for 600 jobs in their military. That definitely makes application for such jobs a choice.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: GUEST,Teribus
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 11:02 AM

The massacre of Lord Elphinstone's Column in January 1842 might have been a bit of a reverse but his was only one of four British Garrison's in Afghanistan at the time. Akbar Khan must have latterly rued the second he decided to play the treachery card and order the Ghilzai Tribesmen to attack the 4,500 troops (700 British Troops and 3,800 Indian Troops belonging to the East India Company) and 12,000 civilians (men, women and children) withdrawing to Jalalabad under his (Akbar Khan's) safe conduct.

The British withdrawal had been decided upon in November 1841. Once Surgeon William Brydon rode in alone to Jalalabad on the 15th January the withdrawal order was rescinded and the three remaining Garrisons and reinforcements from India became a Force of Retribution ordered to teach the Afghans and Akbar Khan in particular a lesson.

In the following ten months, Akbar Khan and his forces were defeated four times, the border fortress of Ghazni was blown up, the British entered Kabul and blew up the Great Bazaar and Akbar Khan fled. All the prisoners taken from Elphinstone's Column were rescued and Akbar Khan's father was placed on the throne (Five years later Akbar Khan was murdered on the orders of his father to prevent him causing any future embarrassment). The British withrew almost one year on from when the original order had been given and the Russians did not attempt to enter Afghanistan again until 1878.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 11:16 AM

There are different degrees of being a mercenary, Richard.

A complete 100% totally ammoral mercenary will simply serve the side which pays him the best, and he will change sides if offered better pay. There have been many examples of this, both in war and in organized crime. War, of course, IS an organized crime...but I digress. ;-)

A politically (or religiously) motivated mercenary will serve the side he prefers in a political or religious sense...IF he is paid enough to. He won't switch sides. He'll negotiate the price, and if it's agreeable to him, then he'll fight for the side he indentifies with.

A patriot will fight for nothing at all. A patriot is not a mercenary. A patriot may, though, fight for a very questionable cause or wrongful cause, not knowing it is wrongful...as millions of patriotic Germans did, for example, in WWII. One must keep in mind, though, that their general impression of the situation was formed by the information they were exposed to in their national media...and by their typical loyalty to the culture they had grown up in. Like people everywhere else, they believed deeply in their own country and they were ready to fight for it, if it appeared that their country was in danger. And it most certainly was, once the fighting started.

It would not have been clear to them at the time that their own government's policies and decisions were the main cause of the fighting. To the contrary, they figured that they were being told the truth, and that their own government was legitimately defending Germany against all kinds of dire threats from both without and within.

People are easily convinced of such scary things by their governments. Witness the USA in the present era....

People fight because they're afraid. Beware the government that employs the politics of fear. Such governments, like "lean and hungry men", are dangerous.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: Megan L
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 01:41 PM

Hmm the dictionary i just picked up(YES paper and pages of type an amazing invention :) )described mercenary as venal one who works for money or other reward

I guess that would probably cover most of the working population these days. Does that also mean the more money you work for the more mercenary you are?


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: Ebbie
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 03:23 PM

'...complete 100% totally ammoral mercenary...'

Redundancy and repeating oneself as well saying something over and over is over-kill, not to mention beating a dead horse, singing to the choir and carrying coals to Newcastle.

And the word is Amoral. :)


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: GUEST,josepp
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 04:07 PM

////Soldiers aren't particularly well paid, but they are fed clothed and housed somewhat.////

In the US military, you PAY for your food, your uniforms, and your housing. It is taken out of your check before you ever see it. It is NOT FREE. Nor is it optional for the enlisted ranks. Officers may elect not to pay automatically for military chow (IOW, they receive commuted rations or "comrats") but that means whenever they do go to the chow hall or the ward room for a meal, they must pay for it out of their pocket. It is not free. People get this idea that miltary personnel get freebies but that is not true. Same with medical and dental care--it's paid for by the military but not on a case-by-case basis. You're paying into it with every paycheck but don't have to pay for it when you actually use it--sort of like insurance or --dare I say it? Socialized medicine). The civilian world could learn a thing or two about how the military handles its own.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 04:23 PM

Right, Ebbie. I was emphasizing to the max, just to be 100% absolutely certain sure and positive and with no doubt left in my mind whatsoever that Richard would get definitely and exactly what it was that I meant. ;-D


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: artbrooks
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 04:28 PM

Josepp, your understanding of the US military pay system is sadly lacking. I would explain it, but that would require a major thread drift.

As far as being mercenaries is concerned, suffice to say that military pay, especially at the lower ranks, is so low that soldiers and their families often qualify for public assistance.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: gnu
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 04:45 PM

Art... that is disgusting ans shameful.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Heroes' or Mercenaries?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 05:56 PM

"As far as being mercenaries is concerned, suffice to say that military pay, especially at the lower ranks, is so low that soldiers and their families often qualify for public assistance."

It's the same in Canada, Art. I'm with Gnu: it's a disgrace.


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