Kamil Churaev: They’re lying to you in order to control your life

Tolstoy Center for Nonviolence

Aug 27, 2021

This is about my attitude to military history, to the army, to heroism and officers’ honors. I wrote this for my sons, but if it is of use to anyone else, that’s great.

The main problem of society’s attitude to the army is that here literally everything is turned upside down and inside out. But if you are able to think and don’t want to be deceived, then you’re able to see just how crooked everything is. The glorification of the army is working, but it only works thanks to constant ideological pressure. A false orientation is not only drilled into you from birth, but this has also been going on for generations. Massively. It is strengthened by wars of varying sizes and scales. A person, over a long history, gets used to the imaginary need for military leadership. No alternative was offered. Either you’re a slave to your commander or a “NATO soldier.” A citizen is required to submit, in return for the military state’s promise of security.

This is the first lie and the death trap. Let’s look at it in more detail.

Most of the world’s states are ruled by military governments. That is, the head of the state is his own commander in chief. That means that the people in power are those for whom war is the normal solution for both external and internal issues. For the time being, remember the promise of security made to you. No catastrophe ever exposes a person to as much danger as military activity. This is an obvious fact.

Never, under any circumstances, has a single war been beneficial to both sides. Neither to those who “won” or to those who “lost.” This is not such an obvious fact, but it is easily proven. Of course, certain groups of people can reap certain benefits from wars, but we were promised security. We’ll return to these people later. Not one person from one country has become better off, richer, or safer as a result of war. Always worse. Almost always catastrophically worse.

Then why do governments start wars? In order to understand this let’s look at these types of people (military people, army people) in more detail. I, of course, do not mean ordinary military men, regardless of rank, those who submitted themselves and took the oath. These are unfortunate and deceived people, victims of age-old propaganda. They are cannon fodder and scapegoats. There are even honest people; they are sometimes the fiercest believers in myths about military honor, feats of valor, and other sickening nonsense. I’m talking about the command cadre. Look at the closest military elite to you. It doesn’t matter what country or even what time period you choose. These people love being in power over others more than anything else. For generals and rulers there is nothing more valuable than this. For this they are ready to sacrifice a lot — personal life, family, friends; they are ready to endure constant fear as the cost of their vile lives. No effort is spared to strengthen their power, whether it involves building up the institutional church, the police apparatus, destroying education (because the more people are educated the more they suspect that something is rotten). And so, removing the military from countries’ governance isn’t far away, as is happening with some countries in Northern Europe or South America, for example.

But, for those commanders, the best situation of all is war! During wartime, their power over citizens becomes completely unlimited! People can be kicked out of their homes, have everything taken away from them, their families killed, be killed themselves, but the main thing is that they can be sent out to kill other people just like themselves. And they won’t even complain! Great! But that isn’t all! Take a normal person, put them under oath, take personal responsibility away from them, and point them (deceived as they now are) toward the so-called enemy. After all this, nothing can restore a crippled mind, a murdered conscience. Not even therapy. That’s why veterans don’t tell us much. How can they talk about the years of horror, dirt, death, and brutality, about the loss of humanity, about the people killed? Military power loves to fight, not against itself, of course, but much like computer gaming. Except with real people.

After major wars the government needs to somehow restore its people’s sanity. People return from this living hell entirely crippled. To their minds, the world has fallen apart. To reckon with the war’s toll on them — to cope with this experience, to forget it, to erase it — they need help. That’s what words and phrases such as “heroism” and “feats of valor” are for — two of the most vile, shapeshifting terms. If these survivors make any noise, then it becomes obvious: there was a total nightmare, an unimaginable evil, so it is urgent that we change the picture; otherwise these patients will lose their mind.

All of this helps to hide something that is actually very simple: the reason why wars exist is that the military likes to fight. This is a side effect of their psychological disorder. They adore power and submission. What’s the best way to achieve this if you are , how to achieve this if you are somewhat dense, and morally underdeveloped, and everything you touch falls apart? War! This is where tradition tells us to push aside intellectuals, humanists, and the like, and to take the wheel in your own hands — hands that are shaking from excitement. At the same time, there are sneaky ways to eliminate those nay-sayers so that they aren’t a problem in the future.

Enough of this acceptance of lies! Children, I’ve been nurturing this manifesto for a really long time.

Don’t believe the generals. If you sense the pathos of Heroism approaching, then run away. If you hear a story of a Feat of Valor, then they’re lying to you in order to control your life; run away. If someone tells you about a Sacred Duty, spit in their eye. (Only don’t hit them, this is also a trap. It’s better to run away.) But even better is to think about how to remove power from the hands of the military and finally see them as the sick and dangerous people they are. Children! I’m really counting on you here.