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The Army is No Place for a Warrior

By Christopher Ankersen

In many Western armed forces, the concept of warrior has a positive connotation and is seen as a badge of honour, in certain social milieus it is considered attractive, and the media is also full of portrayals of warriors. However, idealized, archetypal ideas are conveyed rather than referring to real historical figures.

If one examines these ambiguous, emotionally charged images from a historical-anthropological perspective, the problematic nature of the figure becomes apparent. By frequently rebelling against authority, engaging in dishonorable behavior towards their peers, plundering or even raping, warriors commit serious violations against essential functions of society. To this day, there is ample evidence of problematic characteristics, in particular selfishness, subordination problems, unrestraint and outbursts of violence, as well as a paradoxical relationship with the feminine. The idea of a special position associated with the warrior harbors the danger of seeing oneself more or less outside or above society and even establishing one's own rules and laws.

This elitist understanding matter’s, among other things, because it can weaken the cohesion of the troops, lead to a focus on the military’s technical skills (the functional imperative according to Huntington) and, in extreme cases, undermine the idea of civil control. Instead of the ambivalent warrior figure, a more sober image of the soldier who serves the state is required.

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