That war is wrong seems to be a given fact on this page. War is nothing but two groups of people despising the other just because of the place they were born in, and both of them resorting to violence to solve that issue. It is an irrational hatred of “the enemy”, followed by even more irrational violence, in which people are murdered for no other reason than their nationality or ethnicity. But there is more to it. War is not just wrong in itself, but the military that involves itself in those wars is perhaps even worse. It is a terribly unjust institution, with rampant inequality, and it is no wonder then that war-crimes are so common, considering the terrible condition that the military is in.
More surprising perhaps is the fact that soldiers are still admired in many countries, that serving in the military is seen as “doing ones duty for the nation,” even in Western countries that support equality. After all, if there is one place where inequality still runs rampant, it is the military (and your local football team, surprisingly enough regardless of what you believe the term “football” means). Not only is homophobia still the norm in the military, but even more mind-boggling is the fact that, aside from sexual harassment being an everyday occurrence, women are actually treated differently in a legal way.
Particularly, earlier this week, my brother received a letter from the Dutch military, telling him that if the Netherlands ever makes military service mandatory again, he will be called to duty. Of course, the chances of this actually happening are minimal, but that doesn’t make it any less strange that girls his age did not receive this letter at all. Whether you interpret this as unfair against men or as proof of the patriarchal idea that women are too weak to fight is irrelevant, because in the end, what remains clear is that it is an inequality. One of many.
This is just an example from my own country, but it’s the same in the rest of the world. Only Norway and Israel have conscription for women, where in Norway it’s a very recent change and in Israel sexual harassment is a major issue that makes the news time and time again. The attitude of the average soldier is extremely sexist and “patriarchal”, both against women and against LGBTs, so how can we ever expect these people to establish democracies in war-torn countries or to promote equality in countries that are characterised by intense discrimination?
In the end, soldiers are human, and what much psychological and sociological research has shown is that humans very easily adapt their behaviour to the environment they’re in. Whether it’s a commander giving inhumane orders, colleagues torturing people for the fun of it, bullying soldiers with different sexualities or harassing female colleagues, most people, especially those with lower education (who are more likely to be a soldier in the first place), will join in and start doing the same. It creates a culture of injustice and inequality, which is combined with the irrational hatred and biased media that always accompanies war. It is a recipe for disaster, and rather than reverence and admiration, it deserves nothing but opposition.
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