Just a job?

#1
The 100th soldier was just doing his job

Why the media frenzy? Death on the field is an occupational hazard, argues philip jacobson


It is right and proper to mourn every British serviceman killed in Iraq, but the media reaction to Corporal Gordon Pritchard becoming the 100th soldier to die was nothing short of hysterical - with more than a dash of hypocrisy thrown in. His photograph has appeared on virtually every front page under headlines dictated by each newspaper's editorial line on the war. Hence the Telegraph's reverential "Sacrifice"; the Mail's savage "How many more, Mr Blair?"; the Express's blunt "Killed for a lie".

Yet amidst the over-heated reports and sombre leading articles, one thing was largely overlooked: bluntly stated, getting killed is an occupational hazard for soldiers who go to war. In that respect, what difference is there between the first British fatality or the 101st, which statistically we may expect within the next two weeks? Cpl Pritchard's family made no attempt to duck this fact of life on the

Young men have always wanted to test themselves in combat, which explains the continuing appeal of elite units in the front line, emphasising that their son, killed in a roadside bomb blast, had been proud to join the crack cavalry regiment in which his father and brother had also served.

Irrespective of the rights and wrongs of the conflict in Iraq, we should remember that all those serving there volunteered to join the armed forces: in doing so, they implicitly accepted the risks involved. For many, that would have been an incentive: over the ages, young men have always wanted to test themselves in combat, which explains the continuing appeal of the elite units that are most likely to be involved in fighting.

It was something of a surprise, therefore, to find the Telegraph's distinguished military commentator, Sir John Keegan, agreeing with Tony Blair that Cpl Pritchard's death represents a "tragedy". It certainly does to the corporal's family. But Sir John taught aspiring professional soldiers for many years and he should understand better than most that dying on the battlefield is what the French like to call un hasard du métier.
FIRST POSTED FEBRUARY 1, 2006
http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/index.php?menuID=1&subID=275
 
#2
Well yes, I can see the point he's trying to make aboout the extra fuss being made over the hundredth casualty as opposed to the 99th or 101st, but it's a natural reaction to that tragic milestone. As most of the media referred to all of the hundred casualties, in my opinion it was a fair point for them to make.

As for the intimation that the great british public shouldn't give too much of a toss for soldiers who die because "they know the risks when they volunteer", well words fail me. Almost.

Surely the fact that we know the risks and still volunteer to serve our country should count for more, not less?
 
#3
Well ORC, not sure what your point is, but (takes breath)

The media frenzy wasn't unexpected and neither was the death itself - those cnuts had prepared their "Actions On" far in advance of the event. I read somewhere that when the figure stood (I think) at 97, and an explosion took place in Brit Sandy AOR, the BBC pestered the MOD like mad for more details....until they heard there were no deaths, after which they suddenly lost interest. Within an hour of news that the Red Sea ferry had sunk, Sky had pretty little graphics involving maps, a radar scope, a ferry which suddenly disappeared, and to the words "helicopters have been rescuing survivors", a.....little cartoon helicopter bimbling around the screen (presumably for the non-comprehending Chav element of the audience). It is laughable. Whenever something really Really Bad happens, you can see the gleam in their eyes. I count the minutes from a major item breaking to the point when the word "counselling" is said.
"It is too early to speculate" says the (w)anchorman, turning to the current in-fashion expert punter, "but let's speculate anyway - Peter Bookpluggger, you've just written a book on disasters like this, £17.99 from all good stockists, who should we be hounding, who should we be blaming?" etc etc.

Blimey, rant over, <ahem> tip toes out.......
 
#4
staaken said:
Well ORC, not sure what your point is, but (takes breath)
No point - I just did not see things the way they were written and wish to see how others on this forum felt. Your contrubution - which I have snipped from convention and not from disagreement - is just the sort of thing I envisaged. More from others please.
 
#5
I feel that it is wrong for the media to jump on this and try and use it to score points and sell papers,I agree with staaken,no thought is given to the families or loved ones,but on the other hand job or not the death of any British serviceman should be announced to let people know that the sacrifice still goes on and the names of the fallen should be put up on the war memorials as soon as possible
 
#6
Yet amidst the over-heated reports and sombre leading articles, one thing was largely overlooked: bluntly stated, getting killed is an occupational hazard for soldiers who go to war.
Of course it is an occupational hazard of going to war, but I'm not too sure it should be a de facto occupational hazard of general foreign policy. When a country's, or countries, policies are based on Realism and not idealistic universal principles then it will always be considered a natural progression towards 'war-fighting' and the inevitable tradgedies of sacrifice*. A foriegn policy that advocates the sociological concept of secularisation though should not, as a prerequisite, demand the noble sacrifices we have been reading about this week.

If anything was 'largely overlooked' as stated above, then maybe it was the fact that we are not technically at war. A point recognised by Sir John Keegan, but perhaps not by the writer.



*"Realists accordingly view the international system as a zero sum game, in which one country's gain is another country's loss, and the crucial currency is power and military strength." [c/o Wiki]
 
#7
It really angers me is that the death of a soldier is reported to the public often before the relatives are informed, often with the words 'names will not be released until the next of kin have been informed' When my husband was on telic 1, the hell was undescibable wondering if it was him or not because the news had reported another death amongst our men. The other thing that angers me is that when a soldier is killed in Iraq nowadays, it barely gets a mention normally apart from a tiny paragraph, like all their good work and deaths counts for nothing. We know they are trained soldiers doing a job, but surely they deserve more recognition for the dangers they undertake, whatever and wherever that may be.
 
#8
Yes people do join , of their own free will, the Military to serve their country. They do not join to be used as a political pawn by some lieing idiot who has no experience whatsoever of the Military and who is only being a lapdog to Bush.
If the terrorists and insurgents really want to make a point and get publicity may I suggest they hit the two people responsible for Western forces being in Iraq.
 
#9
OldTimer said:
Yes people do join , of their own free will, the Military to serve their country. They do not join to be used as a political pawn by some lieing idiot who has no experience whatsoever of the Military and who is only being a lapdog to Bush.
If the terrorists and insurgents really want to make a point and get publicity may I suggest they hit the two people responsible for Western forces being in Iraq.
That's too hard for them.

Your or I couldn't get close enough to Pres Bush/Pres B.Liar to do anything of harm. How is some raghead terrorist looking at the "Tourist Guide to Central London" gonna figure out a plan to off the prime minister?

As Andy McNab said in the newspapers a few weeks ago regarding the farthers for justice kidnapp attempt: "I don't know what the hell they were thinking, they'd be riddled with bullets before they got close!"
 
#10
staaken said:
Well ORC, not sure what your point is, but (takes breath)

The media frenzy wasn't unexpected and neither was the death itself - those cnuts had prepared their "Actions On" far in advance of the event. I read somewhere that when the figure stood (I think) at 97, and an explosion took place in Brit Sandy AOR, the BBC pestered the MOD like mad for more details....until they heard there were no deaths, after which they suddenly lost interest. Within an hour of news that the Red Sea ferry had sunk, Sky had pretty little graphics involving maps, a radar scope, a ferry which suddenly disappeared, and to the words "helicopters have been rescuing survivors", a.....little cartoon helicopter bimbling around the screen (presumably for the non-comprehending Chav element of the audience). It is laughable. Whenever something really Really Bad happens, you can see the gleam in their eyes. I count the minutes from a major item breaking to the point when the word "counselling" is said.
"It is too early to speculate" says the (w)anchorman, turning to the current in-fashion expert punter, "but let's speculate anyway - Peter Bookpluggger, you've just written a book on disasters like this, £17.99 from all good stockists, who should we be hounding, who should we be blaming?" etc etc.

Blimey, rant over, <ahem> tip toes out.......
Well said. Sky news during the Ken Bigley kidnapp actually had a seperate screen on thier interactive service showing nothing but Kens mums telephone. Senastionalist vultures the lot of em !!

LT.
 

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