Patriotism suggests the readiness for an irrational act, like a meaningless death for the even more meaningless notion of one’s “Motherland.” Compulsory military service is the coercion to violence. Army service is the postgraduate course in the slaughterhouse. A boy born in the male civilization is conceptualized there as a warrior-to-be. From his early childhood, he is offered toy helmets, guns, and tanks, but most importantly, toy soldiers that corrupt him with their images of false heroism. Killers and corpses cannot be heroes. The military uniform is the dress of the cattle that voluntarily goes to its own slaughter. Military decorations support the dubious pride of meat killing other meat.
By setting up an alternative collection of toy soldiers Casualties of War, the Dorothy art group reminds us of the sick nature of any war; any military triumph is inevitably Pyrrhic and illusory.
The hell of war comes home. In July 2009 Colorado Springs Gazettea published a two-part series entitled “Casualties of War”. The articles focused on a single battalion based at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, who since returning from duty in Iraq had been involved in brawls, beatings, rapes, drunk driving, drug deals, domestic violence, shootings, stabbings, kidnapping and suicides. Returning soldiers were committing murder at a rate 20 times greater than other young American males. A seperate investiagtion into the high suicide rate among veterans published in the New York Times in October 2010 revealed that three times as many California veterans and active service members were dying soon after returning home than those being killed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.