Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 12. 1965.
No Toy War
No Toy War
The Army is responsible for what must be to many the most misleading and repugnant advertising ever heard over New Zealand radio.
On the 8.45am commercial network news on September 15 we were told that two gunners of New Zealand's Vietnam contingent had been killed. Their Landrover had been blown to bits by a mine.
Following the news came an advertisement. In sickly honeyed tones a young man said that a "life of adventure" awaits young men in the army.
Young men over the age of 19½, the advertisement continued, could serve overseas in Vietnam in 1966.
Thus the long-disliked advertisement, which had been run for many weeks, was finally highlighted in revolting juxtaposition to the news.
This advertisement continues a trend of glamorising war that is becoming more and more apparent. Television war films, like many of their cinema counterparts, have a dialogue accompanied by martial music that lends a grandiose air to the whole dirty business.
And now the army is paying to project this artificial image.
In war-time thousands of men go and fight even though it is the last thing on earth that they want to do. They fight to achieve an end because they believe in that end.
This end, be it a glorious one or not, is not achieved by glorious means. War is decidedly unglorious. It is dirty, vicious, wasteful, and soul-destroying to all but the most perverted of men.
New Zealanders know this, have indeed always known this. But they have fought overseas in the past and will certainly fight overseas in the future. Show them the reason why they should fight, and they will.
The army recruiters, however, would have us fight not for a cause but because of the adventure to be had en route.
These men are the only men in New Zealand who deserve to experience the adventure they have been shouting about.
Our regret is that they will not.—G.E.J.L.