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(Photo: © Screenshot from video)

Posters calling on the public to “become a suicide bomber” have appeared at bus stops across London. The posters purport to be recruitment posters for the Royal Navy, but feature a picture of British naval servicemen in the crosshairs of a sniper rifle.

“The crew of our nuclear submarines are on a suicide mission,” the text reads. “To launch their missiles means death is certain, not just for them, but for the millions of innocent people those bombs will obliterate, and for the rest of us too.”

The posters were made by a political activism group called Special Patrol Group and designed by the British artist Darren Cullen.

“The inspiration for the project came from finding out that the crew of a nuclear submarine would not survive the deployment of Trident,” Cullen told The Telegraph.

“I’d never heard this discussed before. When we think about Trident we don’t tend to imagine the crew out on a suicide mission.

“It struck me as another example of the ethical double standard we have in the West when it comes to which types of violence we condemn.

“We see terrorist suicide bombers as depraved, which they undoubtedly are, but we don’t see our own depravity in building and operating nuclear suicide bombs that have the potential to murder millions and end human civilization in the space of an afternoon.”

Cullen’s thoughts may strike a chord with fashionable activists eager to see all violence as equivalent. Clearly the use of nuclear weapons would cause untold destruction and civilian casualties and is something to be avoided.

Yet being a serviceman in the case of a nuclear war, which would most likely involve many countries other than Britain and which would be the result of an unprecedented breakdown in international relations, is not equivalent to the decision of an individual to blow themselves up in a deliberate attempt to kill as many civilians as possible. In addition, the purpose of retaining nuclear capacity is as a deterrent, it’s not so that Britain would actually use it.

It is also unlikely that most people who see the poster will read the small print. Instead they will see the headline of “become a suicide bomber” and the Royal Navy logo and see that the poster is drawing a direct equivalence between serving in the Royal Navy and carrying out a terrorist attack.

These posters are insulting to Britain’s servicemen and women. They also make it harder to fight terrorism.

In making this moral equivalence, they sap the morale of the country by degrading our ability to see terrorism as an act that is morally inferior and therefore worthy of fighting against in defense of our own values.

Russia Today covers the controversy: 

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Elliot Friedland

Elliot Friedland is a research fellow at Clarion Project.