Of course, we'd all say this is good, maybe at least as far as Israel goes. Every member of the IDF is a hero in Israel, just like every veteran in America is a hero, unless they say the wrong thing, et cetera. But that's not what heroism was really about. By selecting paragons of wartime valor in the campaigns of old, we left ourselves ways of remembering--of recognizing, in the first place--our own errors. Custer, for example, was a war hero, and it allowed him to be recognized as a foolhardy idiot. Not so shining an example, maybe, but that's only now. At the time, he was considered in some quarters a legitimate hero. Lionizing him allowed his persona, his image, to later be a bad example. Americans could look back at Custer, and see how his biography matched up with the failures of America at the time. Stripping away all recognition of heroes from conflict removes the possibility of those barometers. It makes things faceless: both current misplaced pride, and later regret. It's like prozac for the soul, dulling the ability to humanize, then recognize, the mistakes we made.
Crazy Horse makes for a good counterexample to Custer, since by his drinking and exuberant behavior, we can see a human reaction to genocide. He may have been a villain, and an antihero, but the creation of a villain implies the remembrance of a villain. To agree to hate Crazy Horse in the 1800s is to agree to remember him into the 2100s, allowing him to be recognized then as a hero. All we have now is Osama bin Laden, a sickly Machiavellian figure who supposedly administered from a cave. What good can you take out of that? Even in the service of evil, there is no valor; no challenge; no personal risk. Even if, in two hundred years, Osama bin Laden is remembered as a hero for giving up his ill-begotten Saudi wealth to resist American imperialism, he will be a "managerial" hero, rather than one who flew a plane into a building by hand.
Let's talk about a real hero, one Black Hawk. Every spring, Black Hawk would lead his people out of their winter grounds and back to their ancestral hunting grounds. For a few years, he began to notice all of these white settlers popping up where his people had been making their tipis for generations. So he finally told the settlers, "If I come back next year and find you here, we're going to get rid of you."
Naturally, the settlers didn't leave, so Black Hawk came back the next year, and it was on. He reclaimed the land, was chased away by a militia, then circled around a bit and beat the militia. They eventually caught him, of course, but he managed to become an American celebrity for a while. Black Hawk's War was pivotal in that it taught a budding imperialist known as Abraham Lincoln how to be a better imperialist by murdering families in the service of platitudes, and how using superior firepower to expand centralized control was great fun, but only if you stopped riding horses and stayed well clear of the action, such as by living in a mansion far away. It also taught Lincoln about how Rovian marketing tricks, like "resettlement" and "freedom" and "personal responsibility" could be used to give people completely different perceptions of the same concept--but that's another story. Back to our hero.
Black Hawk was hated and feared, and was identified in order that he could be hated and feared. At the time, elites wanted there to be hero-villains, to motivate people against specific enemies. Black Hawk actually rode, fought, shot arrows, hacked with knives, and scalped people, entirely different from today's "villains," who tend to be elder administrators.
And there's a power in that--a tremendous power. Americans cheered for their heroes of the genocide, booed their villains, and by so doing, made them a part of history. We can look back now on Black Hawk and Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, et. al., and remember the people who were killed through the spirits of the ones we once reviled. The nameless brave was surely more heroic, but there is still an immense value in the process of personifying conflicts.
General Crook was a big white hero, and his heroism backfired on America in the long term, just like Black Hawk's. Crook was the Smedley Butler of the American genocide: an effective, intelligent tactician who went into combat with his troops, faced the enemy with idealism, and eventually discovered that he was merely a pawn of distant financial interests, and that the Indians actually weren't his enemy. He wrote exposés of the wrongness of the Indian Wars, embarrassing the armies and the banks and the land developers, and fell from historical favor. But you can still find out about him, because he was, for a while, a hero.
In our conflicts now, elites carefully support "our troops" and "veterans" in such a general way because they don't want to grant any of that power. Sure, it was stupid for people to celebritize soldiers--killers--in the past, but it had such a positive side-product, namely, that heroes were given a voice. And when actual people are given a voice, there is the chance--a chance never available with deep government and central bankers--that they will do the right thing. As Israel exterminates the Palestinians, they are careful not to lionize individuals in their own ranks, nor to single-out individual Palestinians who resisted them. The names of "terrorists" and "insurgents" are kept secret by governments, who want to be sure that, centuries later, real on-the-ground heroes are not rediscovered by people looking at what has happened.
The heroes do exist, though. Upon the hundreds of thousands of braves who never got a grave stone or were formally remembered, we can still reflect. Tecumseh can lead us to his people, and is an important waypoint in reflecting upon their valor, but even when the elites scrub heroes out of existence, we still know they are there. Pick an average day in Gaza. You know the story. Rubble litters the streets, people sleep on sheets spread across dirty concrete, and a teenager walks out of his house to take a piss in the alley. He stops with the door just a crack open--across the street, there are the Jews again, dragging his neighbor out of the house by her hair. Someone's dead inside, but all he can see is the woman, who was always nice and who was friends with his mom for as long as he can remember. There are six soldiers, all with AR-15s, and there's an armored IDF truck running nearby, but when he sees the woman crying, he doesn't shut the door and hide quietly. He picks up a chunk of concrete and hurls it at one of the soldiers. The first one misses, but the second one gets one of them in the shoulder, as four of the other Jews have already turned their rifles to fill him full of bullets.
The soldier with the hurt shoulder will get an award and a few days off, then be good as new. He'll live the rest of his life completely proud of and at peace with himself. The little Arab kid will lose consciousness in a matter of seconds, and never regain it. The woman across the street is still going to get beaten, and her sons are still going to be tortured in jail. But for that moment there, that kid was a hero, and even though no one alive will ever know his name or his face, you can remember what happened. Imagine that courage, and without a name or a face, you can still look at the most impartial description of Gaza and know that it happened that way at least several hundred times, and you can get just a little taste of heroism. You don't need their tokens.
The buffalo is all gone, and an Indian can't catch enough jack rabbits to subsist himself and his family, and then, there aren't enough jack rabbits to catch. What are they to do? ...If you will investigate all the Indian troubles, you will find that there is something wrong of this nature at the bottom of all of them, something relating to the supplies, or else a tardy and broken faith on the part of the general government.* * *
It has pleased the Great Spirit that I am here today— I have eaten with my white friends. The earth is our mother— we are now on it, with the Great spirit above us; it is good. I hope we are all friends here. A few winters ago I was fighting against you. I did wrong, perhaps, but that is past—it is buried—let it be forgotten.The latter quote is an aging Black Hawk, and look at it again: he is more profound; more intelligent; more human; more everything good than any American leader has ever said, read off a teleprompter, or even had ghostwritten for them in their post-mouthpiece exculpatory bullshit tomes. The former quote is an aging General Crook, from before he resigned his command in disgust. The Apache (another tribe collectively raped of their name by the MIC, rather than individually like Black Hawk, for one of their darkie-killing helicopter gunships) were even cool and gave him an Indian name later. That's the kind of acceptance that, if you will, Heinlein looks for (however incorrectly) in his division of citizen and civilian; the power of Crook and the Apache, the power of the hero, is that people willing to personally put it on the line can often recognize one another as someone willing to put it on the line. There's a deeper peace, and a greater rebellion, in that connection, which transcends hypocritical prose.
Rock River was a beautiful country. I liked my towns, my cornfields and the home of my people. I fought for it. It is now yours. Keep it as we did— it will produce you good crops.
I thank the Great Spirit that I am now friendly with my white brethren. We are here together, we have eaten together; we are friends; it is his wish and mine. I thank you for your friendship.
I was once a great warrior; I am now poor. Keokuk has been the cause of my present situation; but I do not attach blame to him. I am now old. I have looked upon the Mississippi since I have been a child. I love the great river. I have dwelt upon its banks from the time I was an infant. I look upon it now. I shake hands with you, and as it is my wish, I hope you are my friends.
(That's also why only former soldiers/policemen will ever successfully overthrow a tyrannical government, and why it's hypocritical, wrong, and counterproductive of dissidents to group-judge soldiers and cops. People willing to put their lives on the line have the strength necessary to do what's right, if they discover what that is, while people only willing to talk and/or chant are easily put down or ignored. The reformed soldier, his bravery intact but eyes opened, is the bane of the tyrant; the impotent whiner is the tyrant's lifeblood.)
This is why they are afraid of recognizing heroes, even their own. By eliminating heroes from their stories--even their awful, racist, untrue stories--they are trying to damage our social memory complexes and proscribe our ability to, firstly, identify with what happened, and secondly, to know at all what happened. They are trying to turn history into a story without characters (next comes setting and plot, but that's hopefully way too far ahead to do now). We can't stop their scrubbing of history, or their circumcision of even current memory, and for this one to try to teach this is a bit ahead of where we are now, but try to hang onto that lesson for your next time around: even if you can't read or hear about it, you can connect to how it happened. You can remember the heroes who existed, and know what they must have done, and what they did, and venerate them for it, and learn from it. Tecumseh was noble, brave, and great, and Cotton Mather was vile, and no doubt many more of their people were versions of that which equaled or exceeded the names we know. Yet for how great Tecumseh was, we do not need Tecumseh to know that same thing about many among his people. Life brings with it the necessary connections, such that you don't require the "history iCloud" in order to determine how brave or just some of those aboriginals were.