Ahead of Britain's upcoming Armed Forces Day, Veterans For Peace U.K. are releasing several short, dark, mordant films as part of a campaign against enlisting 16-year-olds into the armed forces. The films star a grim series of Action Man dolls - PTSD Action Man "with thousand-yard stare," anti-depressants and noose, Paralyzed Action Man ("legs really don't work!") with wheelchair and colostomy bag, Dead Action Man with his own body bag - to counter recruiters' blithe message that military life is "challenging and fun."
Calling All 16-Year-Old Recruits: Get Your Battlefield Casualties Action Man - P.T.S.D., Paralyzed and Dead - Now!
I'll be surprised if that works, since kids all know that they're going to live forever. They won't be able to relate. They can't even relate to real, live veterans whose combat service has wrecked their bodies and/or minds. That's something that happens to other people.
"God damn them all! I was told
We'd sail the seas for American gold.
We'd fire no guns, shed no tears!
Now I'm a broken man on a Halifax pier,
The last of Barrett's privateers."
I hope Mark Hogancamp will use these figures for a project. (I hope Mr. Hogancamp is reading this!)
I believe the intended audience for this video is primarily the general public, not so much young people who are being recruited. It's linked to the campaign to stimulate debate regarding Britain's policy of recruiting child soldiers (as the article explains). Groups like Forces Watch in Britain and Project YANO in the U.S. use other tools and approaches to speak directly to teenagers about the issue. In the U.S. you can see examples of such tools at nnomy.org, which has an extensive archive of resources for counter-recruitment organizing.
Wow. The GI-Joe style toy doll parodies are quite something!
This past Memorial Day, a radio report applauded the fact that there is a chapter of "Young Marines," aged 7-16 actively recruited in Bible Belt university town, Gainesville, Florida. I wonder how much of this kind of thing goes on under the radar? So many boys want to gain respect from the male hierarchy and they are taught from such tender ages that manhood is itself directly related to militarism, as if killing someone one does not even know constitutes bravery or courage.
These cultural indoctrination tactics and techniques start VERY early. The dolls and film are a powerful way of satirizing them.
If you haven't seen the film yet, I'll be putting the documentary film up for .torrent sharing on onebigtorrent.org this evening.