…remembrance day, patriotism for the profits of war…

…nothing better in an age where ‘existential’ enemies are created at a politician’s whim..

Maria Farrell over at crooked timber has a post particularly appropriate for those who see value in sombre remembrances of those lost or damaged in causes wholly at variance with what they were lead to believe.

Farewell to all that. Ms Farrell’s opening paragraph invites the reflection necessary for these tragic, extravagant events,

The Union Jack came down in Camp Bastion today, marking the end of the UK’s combat role in Afghanistan and its misconceived campaign in Helmand Province; the campaign with no strategy, less chance of success and a gossamer-thin plan. It has come to a dignified end with a choir of establishment generals (is there any other kind?) and politicians serenely harmonising the nation’s oldest hymns; ‘mistakes were made’, and ‘perhaps we might have done it differently’.

Many comments add further depth to the article.

‘Remembrance’ seems an artifice triggered each time the corporate bugler sounds the call for the defence of the realm, the home and the hearth, the cherished but threatened ways of life. Unmentioned by the heralds of war is the reality of corporate profits from serial misadventures that wreak unwarranted havoc on alien lives and their countries. It is passing strange that with all the ease of access to information and self-edification that so many can still be seduced by the elusive ‘nobility of sacrifice’ of the Minstrel Boy.

The minstrel boy to the war is gone,
In the ranks of death you’ll find him;
His father’s sword he has girded on,
And his wild harp slung behind him;
“Land of Song!” said the warrior bard,
“Though all the world betrays thee,
One sword, at least, thy rights shall guard,
One faithful harp shall praise thee!”

The Minstrel fell! But the foeman’s chain
Could not bring his proud soul under;
The harp he loved ne’er spoke again,
For he tore its chords asunder;
And said “No chains shall sully thee,
Thou soul of love and bravery!
Thy songs were made for the pure and free
They shall never sound in slavery!”

The clear distinction, of course, is that this Thomas Moore song is more of a paean to freedom, a commemoration of friends who fought and died for the liberation of Ireland.