UK: Blair government treats soldiers as disposable cannon fodder

Anti Iraq war demonstrators in London, BritainFrom London daily The Morning Star:

Disposable heroes

(Friday 23 March 2007)

BRITAIN’S ruling classes are quick to bang the drum of patriotism and lavish warm words upon the armed forces.

Their cheerleaders in the popular press churn out copy praising “our boys,” while castigating those who would rather their lives were preserved from endless overseas adventures.

The callous rulers are inevitably painted as courageous and patriotic statesmen, while, all too often, peace campaigners find themselves charged with anything up to and including treason.

This is one reason why the unprecedented Military Families Against the War campaign has become such an important feature of the Stop the War movement.

Even the likes of the Sun found it difficult to smear the likes of MFAW cofounder Rose Gentle, whose soldier son Gordon was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq three years ago.

Ever since that tragedy, Ms Gentle has been doggedly campaigning for an end to the carnage and for the government to treat the overwhelmingly working-class soldiery with respect, rather than merely showering them with weaselly rhetoric.

During this struggle, she has repeatedly tried to meet one of the architects of the titanic cock-up in Iraq, Tony Blair, only to be roundly ignored every time.

This is the deluded Prime Minister who came to power suggesting that his was “the first generation able to contemplate the possibility that we may live our lives without going to war or sending our children to war,” before becoming the Premier who stood on HMS Albion in January and declared that we face a generation of war against a shadowy array of “extremists,” terrorists and “rogue states.”

His anointed successor Gordon Brown shares his enthusiasm for the killing, throwing nearly £500 million of additional public funds into the military maelstrom in Wednesday’s budget.

And yet, when it comes to the treatment of those very people who are sent to fight and die for the prestige of well-protected politicians and the ultra-rich elite that they serve, something akin to amnesia sets in.

Ms Gentle petitioned the Ministry of Defence for three years for it to return her son’s dog tags after his death.

They finally arrived two weeks ago, still stained with his blood.

Nothing could better sum up the nature of a government which cares not a jot for the flesh and blood victims of its imperialism.

Mr Blair refuses to visit the wounded or to attend a single military funeral.

His ministers neglect the basic equipment and dwellings of service personnel and they refuse to provide adequate medical and psychiatric care for the soldiers maimed and damaged by their policies – while wasting £100 billion renewing Britain’s weapons of mass destruction.

Britain’s rulers have always treated their soldiers as cannon fodder and still they expect unquestioning “patriotic” support for their strange compulsion to play tin soldiers on the world stage and expect them to fall in behind the US warmongers as their loyal auxiliary forces.

They must not be permitted to keep doing so.

Armed forces are necessary for defence only and people across the country are waking up to this and demanding that they are brought home.

4 thoughts on “UK: Blair government treats soldiers as disposable cannon fodder

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  4. Pingback: In Blair’s Britain, 80 year old war veteran arrested for opposing Iraq war | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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