Wholesome Marketing Ideas, Bite Size

Wholesome marketing ideas, bite size

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Prisoners of war

At 11:00 AM on November 11th, we will gather at cenotaphs, pause at work or at school, and reflect on past wars, on the sacrifices of our troops, and on the debts we owe those who fight.

I pause to think about the folly of war. I think about all of the victims. That includes the countless civilians killed.

I reflect on the puzzle of why civilian casualties remain “countless” in a world where everything else is meticulously counted. "What gets measured gets managed," is a well-known management maxim. Is this why we refuse to tally the civilian toll of our wars?

I reflect on the stark asymmetry of our concerns. We agonize over the psychological trauma of our returning troops, but do we ever look back on the village where our bombs killed most of the boys aged 10 to 15 who were gathering firewood on a hillside?

I reflect on the hypocrisy of the rhetoric of a “just war” deployed to justify control over resources. I wonder how we square the circle of the sanctimonious, straight-faced claims that we can impose democracy and human rights through the barrel of a cannon.

I reflect on the liberties we so easily give up in the heat of war; how we allow our governments license to kill and incarcerate their own citizens, without trial and without the checks and balances that underpin our freedom. In the whipped up fury against the enemy du jour, we shoot ourselves in the foot.

I reflect on the blank check we write our armed forces. I wonder why we do not demand accountability for the trillions spent laying foreign lands to waste. I wonder why, despite the vast superiority of our resources and firepower, our forces are still being chased out of countries we attack, by resistance fighters in sandals, armed with little more than Kalashnikovs and home-made bombs.

I wonder why in the twenty-first century, we still resort to the barbaric idea of war.

I wonder how many of those present at solemn cenotaphs at 11:00 AM on November 11th are reflecting on reasons that glorify, justify, and perpetuate war. 

I wonder whether, as long as war continues to be glorified and marketed, we are not all prisoners of war.

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