Sunday, 7 August 2011

Do we really need an army?

President Eisenhower warned against the perils of ".. the Military Industrial Complex" and its assorted evils. Armies are for invading and occupying enemy states, or for fighting against invaders... 

So the army. A fighting force. But what are we fighting for? There are so many opinions on this it is hard to know where to begin. Just take a look at this thread and you will see what I mean. 

Most will say that without an army, what do we have to defend our culture and our way of life. Our families and our land.

Others will say, what from? Were all human right? 

Imagine this. A world without borders. The concept of a country is a thing of the past. We are all from planet Earth. Its a stretch for the imagination, but the possibilities are endless. 

The real question then is why do we need to fight?
and again the list becomes endless
- Oppressors. (leaders that take human rights into their own hands and oppress the people they rule.)
- Culture (or to preserve culture)
- Economics 
- A safe place to live
etc. etc. 

But the overriding reason, I personally believe is FEAR! 
Fear of the unknown. A lack of understanding between people. Different opinions. An army makes its people feel secure. Makes people feel as though they are safe from the 'terrorists' or the 'religious extremists' that are lingering on the edges of our borders. 

Have you ever found however, that once you confront the fear and begin to understand it. All of a sudden the need for defence ceases to exist. Even in the most basic of situations. A drunk German man came up to me in the station the other day and as a joke with his mates got right in my face and started singing some random song. Now obviously, I do not understand him, why he is doing it, or even what he's saying. Naturally a small amount of fear creeps in. You begin to wonder, is he dangerous. What if he gets obnoxious and tries something. 

I said to him "Mein deutche ist nict so gut . . ." Smiling sheepishly. And immediately he responded nicely. He may have been drunk, he may have thought it was funny with his mates to get into my face and sing. But even more rewarding I'm sure is to meet a human being that creates a small link into which a measure of understanding can happen. He began to tell me that he speaks Swiss German which is slightly different. He asked me where's good in London for Rock music. (I told him Camden) I hope I was right. 

My point is. The world is a different place now. Via the internet and the jet engine. We have the means and the power in our hands to realise that no matter where were from or what we believe. Were not all that different. 
I'm not going to pretend that all people are lovely. Of course there is evil in the world. Take the recent Norwegian disaster. There are evil people in our own countries as well as everyone elses. But the fact is that they are the minority. 

We do need a protection force then to help keep the evil at bay. But not necessarily an army. As president Eisenhower said. 

 ".. the Military Industrial Complex" and its assorted evils. Armies are for invading and occupying enemy states, or for fighting against invaders... 

We do not need to invade any more. The world is already accessible to every Tom, Dick and Harry. The internet and the jet engine have made that possible. What we need instead is an international objective to make the most of our potential as a human race of varying culture, experience and belief, and see the beauty in our differences. Not the fear.

There have been steps in the right direction. Through the internet some of north Africa's people have risen up against oppresion and been successful. The NATO organisation (A collection of military powers) Is not an invasive organisation. It is a humanitarian one. It protects people all over the world. Both from dictation and from things such as poverty, starvation and natural disaster.

I can only hope that this positivity continues. Maybe one day the need for Borders will once and for all cease to exist. It might take centuries, even millennia. But like the oil industry. We all know deep down that it is not the future of our people. 

Would love to hear peoples opinions on this.



  1. Interesting post Graeme! I think you make some good points, especially about military operating more on fear then anything else. I think we will have an army for a long time to come. However, I think it is possible to change or expend their objective. An army should be a group that does not come together to just protect the land from another army, but rather all kinds of evils, such as abuse, starvation, and sickness. Way to write a post that provokes a lot of thought!

  2. From Osamah Ahmed Al Rasbi - Didn't read the blog, but in short no. Beyond a comprehensive police force you seriously don't need an army. Having an army is making two statements: 1. You don't trust your people. 2. You don't trust the global community. People ought to grow up. Armies have more often than not started wars and caused havoc instead of keeping the peace. Of course for this to work, all nations have to drop out their armies simultaneously, don't ask me how.

  3. From Dan Hamman - It's easy enough to say 'an army isn't essential', that is until we're attacked. We can't risk that happening, no matter how unlikely it seems. It'd be nice to not need one, but think then what could have happened to our country in World War II. An army is essential for a country our size, but for defence, conflicts pertaining to our borders. Sniffing around the middle east or libya like the USA's lame sidekick is when I'm ashamed of our army and the men told they're fighting a brave cause, that is in reality unnecessary and waged with nothing more than vested, not human interests.

    Also, Graeme, the whole idea of bridging the gap between fear is a lovely one, but there will always be little nooks and crannies in the world that will never see that sort of enlightenment, usually down to the actions of a few deranged individuals. Just like how I wish for religion (the biggest cause of most wars and conflicts) to be dissolved, it's easy to wish for from our cosy English homes, but when you've been brainwashed to believe that your cause is for your tribe to prosper and none else, it's harder to be so objective. Religion, and the virulent ideas that spawn from the good intentions of it, is the real barrier 'bordering' countries and people within them from one another.

  4. From Osamah Al Ahmed Rasbi - Correct me if I am wrong, but world wars begin when the first decisions are made that governments expand their armies. If Germany's army is getting fat, the UK's will "have" to match it up or exceed it. What happens when there is no army to begin with ? Again, it's down to good will from nations. A bit like Switzerland. But you can forget all of this until capitalism finally dies out. In order for a capitalistic nation to continue flourishing it "must" continue expanding it's territories endlessly, by trade or sometimes by force.

    Regarding religion, I don't think religion is causing barriers. Religious fanaticism on the other hand does. The same way atheistic fanaticism is causing barriers, namely racial and nationalistic ones. Religion has a unique ability of transcending nationalities and races, but then again, it will clash with other religions. If people didn't fight in the name of religion they will fight in the name of money. You can decide which one's killed more so far.

    I think at the end of the day, the even spread of wealth and education on a global scale will bring about a high enough level of tolerance and understanding to the point that it will be silly to have an army for the "just in case" situation.

    Armies = a rip off insurance policy.

    Pump these billions in investments and education and you will far more likely stay away from wars. How do you convince the patriotic lunatics is beyond me. But I know that people need to turn a new page it's 2011 already. The world wars are old school.

    Armies are fun for a while but they get old and pricey. If people can see beyond the national pride then it's not too hard to see that it is feasible that people rely solely on law enforcement/ natural disaster divisions and nothing more.