Armed forces personnel are trained to deal with combat, and with death. They're trained to go to war at any moment. They accept the fact that they signed up to be warriors, and warriors fight, and often die fighting. If they didn't want to die, they shouldn't have signed up.
I used to serve in the Australian Army Reserves in my youth. I was a patriotic but part time member of the Australian armed forces. I knew I might go to war. I knew I might get killed, and that I might have to kill someone else just like me. Knowing this didn't stop me from knowing I would fight if I had to.
So why all the fuss about the deaths of soldiers in Iraq? Why are they complaining? And why are others complaining about them dying?
When a person signs up to join the armed forces, they do so knowing they might fight. Invariably, they believe the cause they'll be fighting for will be a just cause, one that is deserving of their noble sacrifice. They will fight in a war and willingly sacrifice their lives for a cause they believe is worthy.
And a country will support them if such a war is a just war. Where the cause is noble, and the sacrifice worth making.
"…we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender…"
– Winston Churchill, June 4th 1940
World War II was a noble war, a war worth fighting. Millions of people sacrificed their lives in order to support that cause. Battles involving many hundreds of thousands of men, with many tens of thousands killed in single battles, occurred throughout the war. And the sacrifice was worth it.
Everyone supported their country, and their armed forces personnel, because the war was just, it was worth fighting for. Without such sacrifice, the consequences were too horrible to imagine.
The war in Iraq, and against 'terror', is not a war worth fighting. The war is not noble, and is not just. Where Hitler invaded Poland in 1939 and brought about world opinion against it, so has the US invading Iraq brought about world opinion against it. There was no cause for the invasion of Iraq. Everything that the US used to justify their actions has been proven to be, if not outright lies, then at least incorrect. Their actions were wrong, and based on wrong information. There was no clear-cut, noble cause to be fought for.
As a result, armed forces personnel are dying daily in a country they invaded, and that doesn't want them there. They are not only fighting the local resistance movement of that country, but they are also fighting foreigners that are joining the 'noble cause against the US', as they see it. The longer the US stays in Iraq, and the longer they engage in a war against terror – which has no real enemy or target, and is instead a war against an idea – the more resistance the US is going to get from the rest of the world.
The Iraq war and the war on terror are not wars that the rest of the world can stand up and unite with the US on. The soldiers who fight in these wars are killing civilians in their attempts to flush out terrorists. And the terrorists are themselves civilians, acting against the US occupation and oppression. The more the US engages in such acts, the more they distance themselves from nobility and justice.
People are complaining about the deaths of soldiers in Iraq and elsewhere around the world because the war is unjust, and noble ideals are given lip service by an increasingly untrustworthy US government that daily is losing face in the eyes of the people it is supposed to be representing.
The people don't want the war. They don't want their loved ones, those serving in the armed forces, dying for a cause that is unjust. They don't want their loved ones killing or torturing civilians. They don't want their loved ones becoming the kinds of brutal and uncivilised antagonists that the US says it is trying to fight.
"Whoever battles with monsters had better see that it does not turn him into a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you."
– Friedrich Nietzsche
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