Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan: As long as you look concerned and worried, slaughter as many people as you want!
American soldiers have done it again. Their reckless irreverence has taken their noble profession—which mostly consists of killing everything in their path—and made is somehow cheap and tawdry.
Here they are, honorably slaughtering people in Afghanistan on behalf of you, the American citizen, and one of them has to go and sing Don McLean’s “American Pie” while doing it. Can anyone say, “asshole”?
The public is furious. How can this happen? Sure, we send our guys down there to fight and kill—but do they have to SING while doing it?
And Don McLean?! Couldn’t they at least had the decency to sing some Dylan?
The Just War theory holds that morals do apply to war and Jus in bello gives some apparently reasonable codes for how to conduct warfare, but I don’t see any of them that isn’t breached every day. It’s a dirty war.
This is all very confusing to me.
But if you’re going to kill someone, you obviously have to behave like you’re in a Hollywood movie. The soldiers there usually behave dignified and remorseful. They have conscience. Like Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan. He constantly walks around with a concerned face.
We like concerned faces on our soldiers, oh yes we do! Tom Hanks would never sing “American Pie” while shooting people. He would just look concerned and maybe mumble a couple of words about warfare’s horrors.
We don’t want soldiers who are comfortable killing.
There have been several incidents like this. US soldiers pissed on the corpses of dead Iraqis. Not exactly tasteful, but I imagine things like taste went out the window the second the murders took place.
We’ve had some trouble here in Norway, too. An officer in the Telemark Batallion shouted “To Valhalla!” before going into battle, and that’s not cool, because you know who else used old Norse imagery? The Nazis, that’s who! So never mind that Valhalla and Viking mythology are part of Norwegian culture and history, because the Nazis went and spoiled it all for, like, forever.
Another Norwegian soldier even said being in combat was better than sex. He enjoyed it. We can’t have that.
If you’re being sent by us to kill in our name, you better not enjoy it!
Obviously, we at home are the ones who should decide what is moral over there. With the luxury of safety and distance, we can be clearheaded enough to pass judgment on what those brutes do in Afghanistan.
I find everything about government sanctioned murders confusing. I’m still trying to figure out how capital punishment can possibly be justified.
I asked our soft-and-hairless editor Jim Goad about his thoughts on this moral outrage about the singing soldier. He answered:
It sort of reminds me of English serial killer Dennis Nilsen, who would dress up his victims after killing them and then start playing. Someone asked him how he could possibly do such a thing, and his response was along the lines of, “I’m pretty sure they stopped suffering once I killed them.”
So Dennis Nilsen—lunatic and obviously a very naughty man—actually makes more sense to me than our media.
So it’s good to kill and destroy on behalf of your government, but do it with a little taste and dignity, or else the murder is obscene. Remember that a murder isn’t obscene unless you enjoy doing it.