Actually, this is about a dog, but the asterisk of the early post also applies...
I have written about the stupidity of medals, especially those misused by royalty and dictators. (Is there is difference?). Well, I never expected that this absurdity could be topped, but the Brits have managed. I stumbled over this headline in today’s Telegraph:
Animal VC for Afghanistan sniffer dog
Army Labrador sniffer dog posthumously awarded the Dickin Medal
for saving "many lives" before she was killed in an ambush
I’m sure that this dog is very happy, because a medal is better than continued life. If the poor thing had lived, I’m sure that a nice bone would have been more welcome than a bit of thread and base metal. The fact that there is even a medal for dogs is suspect, but an equivalent to the equivalent of a medal of honor is even more ridiculous.
Like I wrote, barking...
A headline about drones made me think. What happened to bravery?
Once upon a time, brave men served in the military and fought face-to-face or radar-to-radar. Remember the film, Top Gun? These pilots were the type of warrior young boys and cowardly men admired.
Now, “pilots” sit in containers in Nevada or somewhere equally safe and, more or less, play video games. The problem is that real people die, and one cannot re-set to the beginning. Screams of the wounded or relatives of the dead are unheard and, perhaps, even the anguished faces go unseen. No one seems to care about the aftermath, only the “hit”.
American politicians are so afraid of losing the life of a single soldier in one of their useless (except for profiteers...to include politicians accepting “bribes”) wars, that they do not care about the people dying needlessly. The original target might or might not be legitimate (no trial is ever held), but what has come to be acceptable to US leaders--collateral damage: a euphemism for a murdered human being--is anything by legitimate. This latest form of “combat” is cowardly. Top Gun is now a sissy and no better than a playground bully...but far more deadly.
I wonder if these “pilots” receive flight pay and are awarded medals for “combat” bravery. The military thrives on decorations: just look at the colored thread and base metals plastered on the uniforms of high-ranking officers...even when no wars were/are being fought. And, I’m not talking about members of England’s royal family.
The only danger faced by this new bred of “warrior” is that of being stopped by the police after a boozy night in nearby Las Vegas. I doubt remorse--neither for drinking and driving nor for murdering innocent civilians in a far-off land--ever tarnished a day or night. The gallant cavalryman of days long gone has been replace by someone cavalier.
Noticing the photos of the recent “excitement” in Holland, I was once again struck by the foolishness and delusion of old men in uniforms, which are meaningless. Each must need an ego boost, because they wield only imagined power and influence.
And, this shows the stupidity of humans, who honor and follow such empty suits...I mean uniforms.
It’s amazing how humans are easily enticed, enthralled, impressed, or placated by bits of colored thread and base metal, embellished pieces of paper, and honorifics. It does not matter that many rewards are trumped up and based on lies, half-truths, or misinformation. The artificial significance and imagined meaning are what’s important to those that find them so valuable for their egos. Pride is evident in every award-ceremony photograph. Certificates embellish walls in an attempt to enhance image, suggest personality, and provide worth to an otherwise empty life.
What would England do without its aristocracy? How would insurance companies reward their salesmen? What would veterans do with their medals, if there were no parades? People talk of serving their country, corporation, or military unit. No soldier wants to admit that he must give his life, even if deep down he knows that his country might take it. No medal can fill the void for once-proud loved ones. Corporations exploit their employees and placate them with worthless certificates, before making them redundant.
I feel that people should find value in aspects with substance and meaning, while being less susceptible to meaningless ornamentation...but perhaps that’s asking too much of the human race.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.