Iraq war propaganda in British schools


This video from the USA is called Iraq Moratorium VI: Harlem Counter-Recruitment Action.

From British daily The Guardian:

The Ministry of Defence has been accused of supplying “misleading propaganda” to schools and attempting to recruit pupils into the army.

The children’s secretary, Ed Balls, has written to officials in the MoD asking them to investigate teachers’ claims that their worksheets for 16- to 18-year-olds provide a one-sided view on the war in Iraq.

The National Union of Teachers said the MoD was “unethically” targeting recruitment materials at schools in disadvantaged areas.

Steve Sinnott, the union’s general secretary, said: “It is propaganda, it does not present a balanced position.

“When you are dealing with something as controversial as Iraq and different events which led up to the invasion, teachers are under an enormous duty to present material which is balanced.”

One worksheet supplied by the MoD and designed by a private marketing company, Kids Connections, describes the UK force’s efforts in Iraq as mainly targeted at “helping the Iraqis to rebuild their country after the conflict and years of neglect”.

It describes the work the armed forces have done in security and reconstruction, and notes the 2005 democratic elections. But union officials said it failed to mention the US-led invasion, Iraqi civilian deaths and the fact that no weapons of mass destruction were ever found.

The NUT will debate the issue at its annual conference in Manchester next week. Teachers are regularly sent model lesson plans, worksheets and other teaching materials by government departments, charities and private companies, but these are required by law to give a balanced political view. A report by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust in January highlighted websites set up by the MoD targeted at 12- to 17-year-olds, but noted that some recruitment tactics targeted children as young as seven. “Children are introduced to the potential benefits of a forces career, but not to its risks,” the report said.

The union wrote to Balls in October expressing concern over the materials. Balls in turn promised to take the issue up with MoD officials.

A motion to be discussed at the NUT conference would, if passed, commit the union to “actively opposing military recruitment activities in schools across England and Wales”. The Educational Institute of Scotland has already opposed military recruitment in Scotland.

See also here. And here.

If [United States] Democrats Remain Silent on Iraq Now, They Will Pay a Stiff Price in November: here.

USA: 500,000 GIs suffer from ‘invisible’ wounds: End the war, fund health care, veterans groups say: here.

Why Today’s Peace Activists Should Not Be Discouraged: An Example from 1958: here.

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10 thoughts on “Iraq war propaganda in British schools

  1. [fwd] Please read “Messages to the people” here:
    http://www.brusselstribunal.org/Messages190308.htm, written by 92 writers
    and intellectuals from all over the world (from Tariq Ali over Harold Pinter
    to Haifa Zangana), on the occasion of the commemoration of the invasion in
    Iraq, five years ago. Het Beschrijf, a literary organisation, and the
    BRussells Tribunal, an academic activist think tank, offered the authors a
    platform to let their voices be heard. All texts are free of copyright. You
    can use any of them and publish as many as you want. There is no exclusivity
    on certain texts. All Belgian and international media will be offered the
    same material. The ‘Messages’ have been placed in alphabetical order. If
    requested we can send you the word file. The HTML file can be found at

    http://www.brusselstribunal.org/Messages190308.htm.

  2. Peace unity

    TENS of thousands of people will march on Saturday in Glasgow and London to demand an end to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, no assault on Iran and recognition of Palestinians’ rights.

    They will mark, in common with demonstrations across the globe, the fifth anniversary of the criminal US-British invasion of Iraq.

    Some people may be disillusioned about the inability of the anti-war movement to have stopped the invasions in the first place or to have brought about the withdrawal of our troops since then.

    This is to take a short-sighted attitude to the huge success in building a mass movement in opposition to the actions of a government with a huge majority, backed by the opposition in Parliament and the bulk of the mass media, including the BBC.

    That success is not just about getting millions of people into the streets.

    It is also about bringing together socialists, liberals, trade unionists and religious forces, including, for the first time, the impressive involvement of Britain’s Muslim communities.

    These weighty mobilisations have had an effect on combating Islamophobia, racism and separatism in Britain. Their example has been globally positive.

    Don’t listen to the Jeremiahs. Keep the pressure on the warmongers by uniting for peace and justice.

    http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index2.php/free/comment/reasons_for_contempt

  3. Soldiers killed by Basra bomb

    14:20, Mar 14 2008

    Three British soldiers were killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb after dismounting their vehicle to check for hazards, an inquest has heard.

    Private Scott Kennedy, 20, Pte Jamie Kerr, 20, and Corporal Paul Joszko, 28, died after the device was detonated at a road junction in Basra City at 1am on June 28 last year.

    Pte Kennedy, from Oakley, Dunfermline, and Private Kerr, from Cowdenbeath, Fife, both served in The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland. Cpl Joszko of Mountain Ash, Wales was a member of the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Wales.

    http://icrenfrewshire.icnetwork.co.uk/tm_headline=soldiers-killed-by-basra-bomb%26method=full%26objectid=20624361%26siteid=63858-name_page.html

  4. Army targets children for military recruitment

    I am on the support staff of a secondary school in Bristol. Recently I witnessed a most unpleasant piece of deception by the British army that readers should be made aware of.

    Our school has an annual “activity week” where timetables are replaced by other activities.

    One such day for students aged 13 to 14 was billed as “army day”. Students were taken to the main hall and sat in front of a large screen bearing the logo and slogan from the army’s TV recruitment campaign – “Army. Be The Best.”

    A soldier in full uniform then introduced himself as a recruitment officer. The pupils were clearly being subjected to a recruitment campaign – some two years before they were due to leave secondary school.

    The screen then moved on to a film about soldiers in Iraq that contained a series of blatant lies about how the British army “has stayed on in Iraq after the end of hostilities” in order to “help to rebuild infrastructure like roads, schools and hospitals”.

    I was livid and went to find the head teacher. I was informed that the army had submitted a brief which the school had accepted. But this brief did not mention the active recruitment of 13-14 year olds into a military career.

    Spread the word. Do not allow military into our schools, and be extremely vigilant about allowing young people to attend any such activities – they are being groomed for military service.

    Neil Maggs, Bristol

    http://socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=15480

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