British Soldiers Dying In America’s Illegal Wars

“It is my primary concern that the courage and tenacity of my fellow soldiers has become a tool of American foreign policy. I believe this unethical short-changing of such proud men and women has caused immeasurable suffering not only to families of British service personnel who have been killed and injured, but also to the noble people of Afghanistan.

I have seen qualities in the Afghan people which have also been for so long apparent and admired in the British soldier. Qualities of robustness, humour, utter determination and unwillingness to take a step backwards.”

These are the words of Joe Glenton Lance/Corporal, Royal Logistics Corps who yesterday delivered a letter to Downing Street, telling the Prime Minister precisely why he won’t be returning to Afghanistan.

Afghanistan has been the graveyard of many an empire, The armies of Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, The British in the 19th century and the Soviets in the 20th have all tasted defeat at the hands of the Afghans.

For America, Afghanistan was a twisted war obsessed with revenge, for Britain and many European allies it is less vital, a war of solidarity with America, a war of choice. Britain’s ambition to be a global “force for good” comes at a cost. As America’s best friend, with privileged access to intelligence, it feels compelled to take part in America’s wars.

Any military planner that knows their history should realise that a military campaign can only be successful if it is used to reach a political aim, and the political aims have ebbed and flowed like the tides of the sea.

Firstly, we were told that the threat of Osama Bin Laden and The Taliban had to be neutralised. Then we were there to help the Afghans rebuild their country (still hasn’t happened). Next came helping to instil the stooge government of Karzai in Kabul, by now the Taliban V.2.0 had resurfaced, so they had to be fought again. Then came the threat that Pakistan posed, and now the political aim of Gordon Brown is to promote “an emerging democracy” as its election time again in Afghanistan.

All these operations quickly turned unpopular when they go badly, and not one single one of them can be deemed an outright success, but from the way Britain pontificates about the war in Afghanistan, you’d never know that most British people want troops withdrawn by the end of the year and only a minority have supported the US-led campaign.

With the launch of “Operation Panthers Claw”, sections of the media seem to have almost entirely abandoned any attempt at neutral reporting of what is actually going on. Instead, its newsreaders and presenters sternly warn that “Britain’s resolve is being put to the test” and speculate, surreally, about what might happen if public “support” for the war “were to weaken” (last Friday’s 10 o’clock TV news and Newsnight programmes).

In the circumstances, it would hardly be surprising if public opinion had been turned after what has been a barrage of state war propaganda, as embedded Kiplingesque reporting from the Helmand frontline, military parades and a new Armed Services Day have been used to try and translate sympathy for British troops into support for foreign wars.

But it hasn’t happened. A recent ICM poll for the Guardian and the BBC’s Newsnight showed 56% want all British troops out of Afghanistan by the end of the year, and 60% by 2011, against 36% who want them to stay until “they are no longer needed”.

Given the media’s increasingly intense emotional focus on British soldiers deaths during the current offensive – the Daily Mirror leads on last Friday’s fallen “band of brothers” and the Sun on Gordon Brown’s “this war is our patriotic duty” – with this I would have expected a greater support for the war. In fact, the only time there was majority support in Britain for the Iraq war was during the initial months of attack and occupation, when British troops were seen to be in action and in greatest danger.

Even if support for withdrawal is slightly down from last November’s 68%, 62% still believe British forces are either making no difference in Afghanistan worse or making it worse – and 47%, against 46%, say they oppose the “British military operation” outright. And interestingly, given what New Labour used to claim about social attitudes to the Iraq war, some of the strongest opposition to the war comes from working class people.

British public hostility towards the Afghanistan occupation is mirrored in most countries in the world (in the US it is pretty evenly divided). Even in Afghanistan itself, where polling under conditions of foreign military occupation would be expected to be skewed towards the occupier, a recent BBC-sponsored poll in February found a majority saying they want foreign troops withdrawn within one to two years and negotiations with the Taliban.

While the debate rages on unabated over British troops having the necessary equipment, we need to remind our Government that the debate ought not to be over helicopters, but over the justification for Britain’s participation in America’s Afghan war, try listening to the words of your own soldiers instead of prosecuting them.

Never has Rudyard Kipling’s poem “The Young British Soldier” rang louder and truer;

“When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier.”

The Government has to set a final date for total withdrawal regardless of America’s feelings…..the sooner, the better.

Akh

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6 Comments

Filed under Afghanistan, British Soldiers, War

6 responses to “British Soldiers Dying In America’s Illegal Wars

  1. Pingback: 300 British soldiers have now died in Afghanistan « Civilisation 3000

  2. Pingback: British Soldier States Afghan War “about strategic influence; economics & mineral wealth” «

  3. Pingback: ITV Documentary “Exposure: Gaddafi & the IRA” used footage from videogames to bolster war propaganda |

  4. One wonders with regard to soldier Lance Corporal Joe Glenton’s thoughts before he enlisted to do his bit for presumable the overall good of Mankind, did Glen not have a glimpse of some peculiarities the media offered, such as dangers of what can only be regarded as a war that had intrepid circumstance, without going into the atrocities of the British and American contribution, that can only be describe as a living hell for the People of Afghanistan, and also the same as in Iraq.

    Of recent we have seen Mr Blair questioned at the Leverson inquiry, who supported these wars, not only his response was tricky and ambiguous, his commentary can only be described as deceitful and not surprising coming from the old Boys Network, having not lost any prowess and sharpening his wits at the University’s debating society, here we have someone who unable to face his own guilt, with regard to these pertinent wars that he has played a major role in and justification of British military, noted also as with Cameron, whom is in the same club. Glentons, contact with number 10 Downing Street, reminds me of a letter I have also sent to Mr Cameron, to the same address, of recent, as yet I have had no response, this letter I sent pertained to the excesses of aerial bombing by the British, on Germany, I lived in London throughout 30 months of German bombing, and later in towns such as East Grinstead also subject to V1 bombing, I have no ill will towards the German People, the causes for this War is not entirely the fault of the German People, the scaring I have now is not so much from the blitz, if any! much more so the background of a working class family that had a culture of tyranny, abuse, and violence, the significance of those that are in a state of ignorant stupidity is enviable to some extent, a reminder of Christs sayings “Forgive them for they know not what they do”, my problem with my parents and I suggest the Ruling Elite of Britain, is they know very well what they are doing and perpetuate and will evil, two thousand years ago when this Prophet existed, the High Priests controlled information, these days we do not need High Priests or Psychiatrists, the modern version of past High Priests, to explain reality.

    We now only need to look at the arms being produced by the World Powers to see we are all in dire straights.

    The main problem with information today is who is behind the media? and who are those that are committed to propaganda? it is no excuse to evade personal responsibility of self, blaming trolls, James Murdock, or the the vast assemblage of spin deceit and lies, it is useful for you to investigate and ferret out the truth, for your self, do not become a Joe Glenton, and say, you were mislead.

    It may be hard for many to comprehend we are in a time the Establishment will grab any opportunity to support the ongoing crises of the World and to ensure we are either in a state perpetual war or and preparing for war, you will note Winston Churchill, commanded every last man should die for the Country, Britain, that is a as honourable sacrifice, this message delivered to British forces in Singapore, Hitler and Stalin all had the same message, we must understand the Elites are indifferent to your death, maiming and destruction of Human life and I suggest enjoy the ceremony of it, and desire the sacrificial offerings of all those that are not in the inner circle of the Ruling Elite, what do you get out of it? your name may be on a monument in a country town, or if you survive a medal.

    • Akh The Angry Academic Activist

      Don, Once again , thanks for your considered post.

      The vast majority of the serving military class are from a poor socio-economic background, and the way the “Join the Army” marketing campaign is promoted, it’s a boys own adventure, a round the clock 18-30 action adventure holiday for wannabe tough guys to make like minded friends, see the world and kill a few bad guys.

      The reality is that the officer class trained at the likes of Sandhurst military academy are always upper class, who order the expendables into battle.

      If we talk about a “just war” scenario of Bush & Blair’s rhetoric, then perhaps they should be offering their sons to go and fight on the front lines. Perhaps that way the politicians who push war’s of choice for blood and treasure would think twice.

      Then again, we know that Bush had daddy bail him out of military service, when he was called up.

      We are way past the teachings of Christ in Britain.

      Christians are taught that Jesus said “Turn the other cheek” and “Love thy enemy”

      The only cheek Britain turns is when it’s bent over for it’s israeli & american masters.

      • With reference your post Akh, on the low socio-economic class and military service, I find this peculiar situation with regard to the Sandhurst military as of self definition a superior organization, classification of those whom are designed as the inferiors, the deemed fodder or the low or lower class are programed to lay down there life, as a sort of disposable item for those who are either deluded to assume they are superior or worst really are so demented to actually think so, this ritual conferred as a result of being educated at the correct institute, and subsequent connections, all part of the old school tie and the correct outlook.
        To some extent the conditioning of the lower class has had the desired out come, a class that is obedient, also a self policing class structure, requiring you not to get get ahead of yourself, those that have the courage to dare to emerge, may encounter such wrath from there own kind, such as physical abuse or and mental abuse, how can this happen? or why? it is because people know they have betrayed themselves in so far as they have created a corrupt mirage of a false self, a self of self betrayal, this instils hatred of those or anyone who has dared to become, themselves, in as much as the individual experiencing conditions of danger, such as being seriously harmed, I suggest one acquiesce to becoming the desired image of what you are supposed to be, rather than suffer consequence of fruit loops, that may do you life long injury.
        There is no shame in losing face, or retaining the front and reCOVERING, yet not losing your self within.
        I remember someone becoming violent with me some time ago, it took some time to humor him, my point is, as a party trick you may put your head in a crocodiles mouth, do not tempt fate with primitive reptiles.
        In the town I live in, a so called tourist Town, one aspect of this town in the tourist bureau, one site and sound not promoted, is the sound of pigs squealing and there cries of terror chill the bones, as the trucks make haste towards there final destination, the question always that puzzles me, is how do they have the premonition of the fate they are destined to meet? As meat, always I am haunted by there cry, usually I mention this sound to people when I hear this, it is usual they do not hear this until?

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