“Governor McClellan never spoke truer words when he said about armies, that they are good at only two things- to kill people and to break things. When we make a myth about soldiers lost in combat, as we must, to show that they are patriots, that they only joined to defend the threatened borders of their fatherland, that happened to run through Hanoi and Baghdad, Havana and Kabul, Panama City and Ramalah. we know what we are covering up. When any nation drafts all their 18 year olds to join the army of the motherland, gives them a gun, and an alibi, where a slap or a joke is an act of terror, where throwing stones is like launching nuclear weapons, then you have to know you are joining an ARMY, whose purpose has never changed since Hannibal and Julius Caesar -your job is to kill and break.
Your alibi, of necessity, is that you are killing to save and smashing to defend. The war story since Homer is the oldest Human story- How is it that we think being part of the Black Panthers or the Viet Cong or the IDF or the Black Watch is being a disciple of Mother Teresa. The real violence of violence is when it is dressed up as peace. Some nations do that better than others. But America from Vietnam knows ” We had to bomb the village to save it,” or the British in Belfast ” We had to imprison the kids in case they grow up to be terrorists.” These are part of war’s anthology of “Lies worth Lying about.”
Alexander Jones ” How Armies have a smashing time.” 1992 Odeon Times Herald