Sunday, April 05, 2009

They're not fallen heroes. They're dead soldiers.

Local and national news always refers to the American military dead in Iraq, and now Afghanistan, as fallen heroes. (Other nations' military dead and civilian dead aren't referred to at all. They don't count.)

This imbues the dead, and hence the illegal military invasion and occupation, with a somber and sacred nature. It also eliminates the distinction between those who actually died heroically and those who died in accidents or by their own hands (an increasing number, apparently) or because they were sitting ducks.

No, a few are heroes, but most are not. They're victims of an American government gone mad, just like the million Iraqi dead and the millions displaced. And they aren't fallen. They're dead.


Kristen said...

May I quote a passage from 'Homefront' about the use of the word "dead"? It deals not with the "fallen" euphemism, but the "passed away" variety, but I think our points are the same. (In this scene, Mia is imagining finding out the love of her life has died):


Dead, dead, dead.

So final, the word, but at the same time, meaningless. Incomprehensible, even.

Dead. Deceased. Passed away.

‘Dead’ is best. Less clinical than ‘deceased,’ less voluntary than ‘passed away.'

How is Jake, Mia?

Jake’s dead.

Oh, I’m sorry to hear he passed away.

No. He didn’t pass away. He’s dead.

I also agree with you about the word "heroes." It's used too often. Being in the military doesn't automatically make one a "hero," nor does dying during a war. Which is not to say I don't respect and feel for all who die over there (husband was a deployed soldier), but HERO is a word that should be reserved for...well...heroes.

Those who go above and beyond.

David said...

Thanks for that comment, Kristen. It means a lot coming from someone who's seen all of that from the inside. I'm very glad your husband came back. (Puts that April Fool's Day prank in perspective, doesn't it?)

David said...

Oh, and I meant to add that I really like that excerpt.