Friday, 11 July 2008

Troop Morale, Overstretch and Spin.... truth is truth!

Recent media reports state that at least half of all enlisted personnel in the UK Military are considering leaving.

According to the reports this is due to ‘overstretch’.

The UK has around 4000 troops in Iraq, and 8000 in Afghanistan.

The total UK Military is around 150,000. Which means that at any one time there close to 10% of the UK Military is on active combat duty. With three shifts, we might extrapolate that 30% of the Military is on rotation. We know that nearly 90% of all military and reserves have served in Iraq or Afghanistan at one time or another. (my figures are approximate!)

During world war II that percentage was way higher, as were the overall numbers of military personnel. And of course the numbers of dead, wounded and traumatised were also higher. Yet very few ever thought to quitting. Morale was never so low.

Which begs the question : Are these reports correct in their assumption that ‘overstretch’ is the core issue?

Anecdotal evidence suggests that assumption is incorrect, and amounts to yet another ‘sexing up’, a spin on the situation designed to deflect attention from the core problem faced by UK troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

These wars are illegal. They are also morally wrong.

The brutality that troops almost inevitably bring to their ‘work’ in Iraq and Afghanistan is mostly situational - troops have no clearly defined, uniformed enemy, and must follow orders, even if those orders are illegal, in order to protect themselves and each other. (mutiny on the battlefield is fatal to all concerned as it leads towards vulnerability and chaos)

Once that brutality line is crossed, it is exceedingly difficult to work back towards the original premise - that these wars were about bringing peace and democracy, that there is a clearly defined enemy or an end in sight.

Add to that the blatant profiteering of those who initiated these wars, which is now next to near common knowledge (if not in detail, then in essence), and one begins to see that it is impossible for troops to continue. Better ‘equipment’, better pay will not make the difference. The Emperors nakedness is exposed and no amount of veiling will hide the fact.

What to do?

As a civilian who has great respect for those who do place their lives on the line, who undertake this most dangerous of ‘work’ out of a sense of honour, a sense of patriotism, a sense of wanting to give to the greater whole of society, I suggest the following :

Read the information placed on the website regarding the Laws Prohibiting War.

Understand these laws, for they easy to understand, they are simple, they are clear.

Then, report the war crimes to your local police station, and demand that those who initiated these wars are held to account, demand that our troops be returned home immediately and give warm support all those troops who wish to no longer follow illegal (and immoral) orders.

Read the letter concerning the payment of taxes to the UK Central Government, and withold your taxes until the above is done.

Do this to protect and honour our troops, and to protect the citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan, to enable them to decide their own future without interference from outsiders whose agenda is fundamentally one of greed - pipelines and the oil that flows through them. Privatised Downsized State Functions and the profits that accrue.

Do this to honour all those who have died or have been injured or have been traumatised, do this to start the process of healing.

Do this because YOU are a promoter of peace, even if your Government is not.

Further action appropriate would be to strip all those who have profited from these wars of all their financial assets, and hand that cash back to those who really, truly need it.

Demand that Halliburton and Bechtel, Lockheed Martin and Northrupp Grumann, JP Morgan and BP/Amoco et al return to Iraq and Afghanistan to repair the damage they have caused (much in the manner we request young offenders to do community work for petty crimes) and that they return their ill gained profits to those they have so horribly ripped off…. at their own expense, and by employing Afghan and Iraq workers at reasonable wages, in the process of the reconstruction of their villages, towns cities and infrastructure.

I would dearly like to see Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Dick Cheny, Donald Rumsfeld and George Bush labouring repairing broken sewers in Baghdad as part of their penance.

And when all of this is done, then let us then say with some authority that “we stand for peace, for democracy, for peoples freedom, everywhere”.

Anything less than that is merely insult added to injury, death and trauma..

Try my songs on reverbnation (see the player on the top right of this page.) play them while doing all of the above!

Kindest regards


Do what you love, it's your gift to universe

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