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Dulce et decorum est pro PR mori?

Written By: - Date published: 8:55 am, September 7th, 2011 - 13 comments
Categories: afghanistan - Tags:

This post by I/S at NoRightTurn will upset some but I think it makes an important point. It’s natural to soothe the pain of a death by labeling the cause heroic. The danger is that this understandable emotional reaction becomes hijacked to justify continuing an SAS deployment that is all about currying favour with the US and was never worth a soldier’s life in the first place.


The old lie

Yesterday Parliament paid tribute to Corporal Doug Grant, the SAS soldier recently killed in Afghanistan. One by one, the leaders of all parties stood up to mouth the usual platitudes: “fine man”, “noble cause”, “defending New Zealand”. Underneath it all, the same old lie, used by politicians whenever they send people off to die for their ambitions: dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.

It was a sickening display, made all the more sickening by the fact that it was bullshit layered on bullshit.

Afghanistan is not a war of self-defence. We’re not involved in it to “defend New Zealand”. We’re not even involved in it to help the international community. Instead, we’re there for one reason and one reason only: for the sake of closer relations with the United States, and the PR opportunities they bring the government of the day. And that, in the end, is what Corporal Grant died for: not for his country, but so that John Key could get a pre-election photo-op with President Obama.

No matter what you think of our relationship with the US, or of John Key, that’s not something that is worth a single human life.

13 comments on “Dulce et decorum est pro PR mori? ”

  1. freedom 1

    Every death in this conflict is one more heavy stone against the fragile balance of peace and democracy.
    I hope the article upsets so many people that it forces most of them to finally and truthfully consider why we are there at all.

  2. I wrote this blog post some time ago regarding the responsibility that goes with power and the consequences of changing the natural order of things. In the case of Afghanistan, they have had decades of interference and there can be no instant return to a natural equilibrium. That New Zealand took part in this debacle to the level that is being finally revealed is a point of shame.

  3. Afewknowthetruth 3

    All the narratives of empire are lies.

    The name of the game is to lie to the people successfully and keep them believing the lies.

    Ordinary people are inculcated into narratives and rituals of empire from an early age. Most find it impossible to see the truth, even when it is right in front of their noses.

    We will shortly be bombarded with the repetition of the official lies about 9/11, the pretext for the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Maybe we should sent some ‘peace-keepers’ to Libya to ‘help deliver freedom and democracy’ . After all, it’s never about the oil, is it?

  4. Bill 4

    Y’know, maybe on some recognisable anniversary connected to Afghanistan, all ‘us plebs’ should gather to pay tribute to all of the deaths in Afghanistan over the past years?

    A reasonable focus/gathering point, in my mind would be the war memorials up and down the country. They were erected afterall, on the back of sentiments of ‘never again’? And yet it all just keeps happening over and over and over….

    And the original sentiment has been subverted somewhat by what I’d term ‘ceremonies of glorification and hero worship’ by the very agencies who instigate and excuse the atrocious environments of slaughter.

    Just a thought.

  5. tc 5

    Isn’t it also a conflict of interest now with the Nat’s ‘mine/dig/drill wherever for whatever’ bent at odds with supporting the US’s quest for more natural resources to plunder/keep flowing back to uncle sam’s.
    Keeps them further from using resources the nat’s maintain we simply must develop the longer it lasts.

    • freedom 5.1

      sorry tc, maybe i am missing something but i am having trouble deciphering what you mean ??
      National selling all that is under Aotearoa is completely inline with the wishes of Sam’s war machine.
      Where is the conflict of interest?

      • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1

        Between our politicians job of doing what is right for NZ and them actually doing what the US corporations want.

        • freedom

          silly me, i automatically bypass that point whenever National are in power and over the years i plum forgot that doing what is right for NZ is part of their job

  6. joe90 6

    Journalist Stephen Glain on US Militarism.

    I was reading the Foreign Policy excerpt of your book, about the huge imbalance between the civil and the military arms of the US government. For example, the Pentagon has more lawyers than the State Department has diplomats.

    It also has more band members than the State Department has diplomats. That’s become so clichéd I decided to use lawyers instead.

    Also, while people are talking about cutting social security, the Pentagon exceeds its budget by $300bn.

    Yes, and has repeatedly failed to account, every year, for hundreds of billions of dollars – sometimes even more than a trillion dollars in expenditures.

  7. What makes it all the more interesting is the fact that while we are pretending to fight Islamic extremists in Afghanistan we are, by allowing our SAS to partake in battle, the US and NATO to pull out their troops to support Islamic extremists who want to start a Sharia based fundamentalist Muslim and extremely racist state in Libya. What do you think of them apples?

  8. Why cry about one stinking soldier anyway?

    His life was as insignificant as a pimple on the butt of an elephant anyway!

    What did that soldier do to make life better on this earth? How many people did he murder? The SAS are, after all, our own band of international professional killers.

    Never mind, we have more fools ready for the meat grinder!

    • You have no idea what type of man he was, how he lived in his life? That was a pretty cruel post.

      • Colonial Viper 8.1.1

        The man was the sharp end of a vast international political war machine.

        As a farmer, poet or father I am sure he was outstanding. But that is not the role we are commenting on.

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