Mercenary Life

24 March 07

Today, as I was walking through the Tašmajdan park, I saw a man laying down flowers in front of a monument, dedicated to children who died in NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999. Today (March 24th) is the anniversary of the event, and the state television is running a program about a pilot of the Yugoslav Army who got shot down by Yugoslavian anti-aircraft artillery.

Shit happens.

He was a red dot on the radar among an extraordinary number of blue dots1, but they still made a mistake.

Even if he wasn’t shot down by “us” (I really don’t feel like being one of them), he would’ve been shot down by the blue fellers. As one soldier tried to explain (professional soldiers tend to be stupid and not very eloquent), Yugoslavian army at the time was so backwards, technology wise, that they got to a point of backwardness where any more backwardness wouldn’t make much difference.

Dunno, I don’t feel too sorry for him, just like I wouldn’t feel sorry for American soldiers. Those people made killing their profession - you live by the sword, you die by the sword (only in this case, it was a surface-to-air missile).

What I don’t understand: how did the Army manage to destroy the wrong plane, but they never fail to remind me of my duty to serve the fatherland.

1 The Serbian Army still labels “us” as red and the “enemy” as blue. If you ever walk into a home or an office of an army officer, you will find pencils with one end red and one end blue all over the place.


  1. Aleks
    Mar 24, 09:17 PM #

    I don’t know about Serbian soldiers, but for many American soldiers it’s not about making killing their profession. Recruits are often very young, impoverished, poorly-educated people who join for the economic benefits and are unaware of the realities of military life, let alone the idea that “you live by the sword, you die by the sword.”

  2. Dejan
    Mar 24, 09:57 PM #

    Aleks: while in some cases that must be true, one can claim ignorance only for so long.

    At some point nearly everyone, no matter what hardships they endure, can make a choice, especially if they are trusted with a gun.

    There are better ways to fight social injustice, and those youths that you are talking about are the ones who can carry it out.

  3. Cvijus
    Mar 26, 02:02 PM #

    This whole damn war was about rulers who wanted to play and used common people as their pawns. I don’t feel much sorry about profesional officers etc, but I do feel sorry about soldiers that were conscripted against their will and have lost their lives.

  4. bganon
    Mar 26, 09:09 PM #

    Yeah, you know its the decision makers that we should not waste our time feeling sorry for.

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