Freethinkeruk’s Weblog

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Archive for the category “Afghanistan”

Amazement!

You would think by my time of life it would take a lot to surprise me and it does but I am genuinely shocked how blind to truth many of you are out there.

The government is spending at least £50 Million on WW1 remembrance events not to mention local costs and of course various royals trundled around to make fine speeches prepared for them to deliver in praise of millions of soldiers sailors and airmen who died in those terrible four years. Not one of those men is still alive so why is this enormous energy being spent on publicity, media connivance and money that would be better spent on feeding our hungry who are forced into Food Banks?

So what is going on? Well let’s start with what it’s not, just briefly. If it was about remembering the dead, then we should be reminded of the terrified men ordered over the top knowing the insanity of the orders and that  they would be facing machine gun crossfire resulting in either death or if ‘lucky’ serious injury resulting in being sent back to England. Knowing too that too question the madness or to refuse the order even if suffering from what we now know to be Post Traumatic Stress Disorder would mean being shot on the spot by their own officers. We should be reminded also of the incredible bravery of conscientious objectors who through religious or moral reasons refused to fight and were also shot by firing squad or served long terms in prison with the worst of conditions. We should also be reminded that some CO’s died working in coal mines and also in particular, those who joined the Friends Ambulance Brigade (mostly Quakers) who served on the front lines collecting the injured under intense fire very many of whom were themselves killed. It’s not either, about learning the lessons of history because clearly we haven’t, repeating the same mistakes over and over again, in WW2, Korea, Vietnam, Egypt, Falklands, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya …….

So what is it about? It’s about conditioning your minds, mild brain washing if you like, into nationalism, patriotism and an acceptance of waging war yet again if required. It’s about the royals and senior figures strutting the stage of history, making themselves look good bedecked in medals and rank that they have not earned but been given by their peers. It’s about politicians who have never been in the thick end of war spouting about the bravery of others long since dead about who’s lives they know nothing and care less. It’s about linking the past to the present and glorifying our vast war machine and gaining your acceptance for the massive expenditure that you have to pay for. When they spend £200 Billion on nuclear weapons that they can never use you will hardly murmur, or tens of Billions on aircraft carriers which by their very nature mean they are preparing for wars far away already, you won’t bat an eyelid. When hundreds of our soldiers die in Iraq or elsewhere and thousands lose limbs for the City of London you raise money for artificial limbs but you don’t ask why, you don’t say stop. Two million people marched before the Iraq war to say NO and they fear that next time there may be 10 million, 20 million, marching and demanding an end to war and the capitalist war mongers and arms salesmen will not add to their fortunes if we say no more. Capitalism not just thrives on war it depends on war. Fear of war allows acceptance of expenditure on the military and remembrance keeps that bit of fear in the mind, linking the past to the now.

 

Finally, they will not be remembering or reminding us of the mutinies and the strikes in the military towards the end of the 1914-18 war nor will they point out how many were shot and crushed as the uprising took hold and were put down by the government. So when you see ceremonies, hear some politician praise those poor sods in the mud with the stench of death all about, or see heroic films just ask yourself what is behind it? What thoughts are they trying to put into your mind? 

 

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Very Strange

A huge row has erupted today over a YouTube video that appears to show four US Marines urinating on the bodies of several dead Afghanis or Taliban. An investigation has been instigated and threats of prosecutions and even imprisonment if this video is genuine and leads to the identification of those involved.

Now, any decent person would find this act utterly appalling and disgusting but that said it is hardly surprising and in some respects understandable. In order to fight effectively soldiers must be trained and encouraged to ‘de-humanise’ their enemy, to think of them as less than animals, so with such a mindset pissing on their dead bodies wouldn’t seem, to the soldiers, as the abhorrent act that it would and does to us.

What is strange though to my mind is, that it is ordered, approved and applauded for the military to riddle the enemy with bullets, to throw grenades at him and blow his body into little pieces or to drop bombs on a village killing or maiming the innocent as well as the enemy and ultimately to drop a nuclear device over a city and kill millions.

Let’s stop the killing first and then there’ll be no bodies to urinate on.

Remembrance Day

Yes it’s perhaps right and proper that we set aside a specific day to remember the dead in past and present wars. The trouble is that the reasons that they died are carefully put to one side, artfully concealed from scrutiny by the mass of the population. History, sadly very limited now in our education system, is, in any case, framed and taught by the victors.

All wars have at their root cause, greed. Greed by those have the most wanting to protect that which they have and more likely wanting more. It is not though, those with the wealth and the power who fight and die, it is those over whom they excercise that power. With guile they manipulate information and even, as we have seen in recent times, give false information to engender fear, outrage and an acceptance of war and the media, being a part of this covert system, willing participants in the deception.

On remembrance day thousands will bow their heads and pay homage to the fallen, in Wootton Bassett the funeral prossession of the next funeral of yet another dead young man,  will pause for flowers and the flags of old soldiers will be lowered. The events will be broadcast but little if any mention will be given of the hundreds maimed whose lives will never be the same. For every soldier killed there will be five times as many at least severely injured. Even as I write the rehabilitation centre Hedley Court is expanding to cope with the increasing numbers of double and treble amputees. In Afghanistan alone since 2006 – Jan this year 7000 civilians killed and how many severely injured? Who will hold a ceremony for them? Who here will remember them even though we did the killing?

Terrorist Threat Heightened

Let’s see now, we were told that it was necessary to invade Afghanistan in order to negate terrorism threats here in the UK.

Hundreds of our military have been killed, many hundreds more have had arms, legs, genitals blown off, thousands of Afghanis killed and maimed and the financial costs run into £billions. The result of all this terrible waste? A higher level of threat of a Mumbai type attack on the streets of London and other cities.

Money to burn in UK

The financial cost to the UK of the Iraq & Afghanistan invasions have now passed £20 billion. That figure does not include the wages of the troops and neither does it include the ongoing cost of caring for the wounded who must now be in their thousands although detailed figures are not released.

We are of course, still in Afghanistan with troops numbering over 10,000 and so the cost is ever increasing and not just the financial cost with the numbers of the military killed now reaching 300 wasted young lives.

As has been said by many people, not just me, this escapade cannot be won so if you find yourself in a hole the first thing to do is stop digging. We will get out eventually without a satisfactory conclusion, so why not do it now and save enormous sums of money that we cannot afford and lives too. Perhaps then it will not be considered so necessary to impoverish so many of our own citizens.

A Degree of Commonsense?

Why don’t they ever learn? Politicians I mean and the answer, I suspect, is that they have little or no commonsense and worse still they think that the ordinary voter doesn’t either.

Take the three main contenders for leadership of the Labour Party; all are white, male, in their 40’s, all read Philosophy, politics and economics and all of ’em did it at Oxford. I don’t know precisely but Cameron and Clegg did similar. I would like to suggest that all politicians must have a degree in commonsense but unfortunately I don’t think that commonsense can be taught, it’s something innate but develops through adversity which is something few politicians experience much of. Those that do rarely seem to rise to positions of power and perhaps why this should be so is a future topic.

The latest nonsense from Osborne and Cameron that they will ‘consult’ with the public over where cuts should be made. The public have commonsense to know that they will have no impact at all on what the government has already decided and the same goes for Labour’s ‘Great Debate’. Those in power though do not have the commonsense to see that the public sees straight through them.

Commonsense decrees that if the Soviet Union with hundreds of thousands of troops and little concern for delicacy could not defeat the Taliban then we wont so why do they continue to try at such vast human and financial cost.

Commonsense says that if we are bristling with nuclear missiles we can’t expect other nations not to want some to defend themselves against us. Commonsense says that if we get rid of them we will aid global nuclear disarmament and save ourselves hundreds of billions of Pounds into the bargain.

Commonsense says that if we stop waging war somewhere in the World, as we have done for hundreds of years, we will save more money and have less or no enemies and more friends.

If hospitals ‘under perform’ against some target and get fined for it then they will have less money for patients. Commonsense? I don’t think so.

Governments say that the top earners need huge salaries and massive bonuses as an incentive to work hard but that the rank and file can have a wage freeze or a cut to help the economy. Any commonsense there?

Commonsense said that Cameron is a much stronger character than Clegg and that if they struck a deal then big Dave would eventually walk all over Clegg and the Lib/Dems would suffer in the long run but he still went ahead. (time will tell if I’m right on that one)

I could go on but I’m sure you get the picture. What we need is a degree of commonsense but not a Degree in commonsense.

Afghanistan Casualties

It was bad enough before but the ever rising number of our troops seriously injured in Afghanistan has now reached such a horrendous pitch that our hospitals are under great pressure to cope.

The rising number of soldiers killed, three this week so far, is terrible enough and rightly deserve the, albeit somewhat muted, publicity but we hear very little about the mutilated and crippled, the blinded and the brain damaged. Not surprising that injury statistics are shrouded in mystery otherwise perhaps, just perhaps, the nation as whole might re-discover it’s spine and demand an end to this horror.

This invasion is unwinnable, will make no difference to our security and the cost in financial terms runs into tens of millions of Pounds that we cannot afford.

Pay the Taliban

What a brilliant idea it is to pay the Taliban to stop killing our soldiers!

Why don’t we take the idea a step further? We could pay thieves to stop robbing our houses or mugging us in the streets, we could pay drug dealers to stop pushing and vandals to play nicely in the park.

We could even pay politicians to speak the truth and keep their promises. Oh! we’ve done that, it doesn’t work.

Helicopters

Lots of media hype going on about a shortage of helicopters in Afghamistan for our troops and naturally the Tory opposition is squeezing all that it can from the situation.

Just one thought for this blog though. In Vietnam the US had so many helicopters buzzing around the sky that they had to queue up to land. They still lost thousands of men and in addition they also lost the war.

Wootton Bassett Circus

I often feel as though I’m like that little boy in the story who could see through the lie of the  ‘King’s new suit of clothes’ and that he was in fact, naked.

As the number of coffins passing through the Wiltshire town of Wootton Bassett became a regular occurrence a few shopkeepers and others stood in silence as they passed by and fair enough. As this became a news item the numbers of people have increased into the thousands with most coming from miles away. Media cameras can be seen poised on high points and helicopters relaying back the spectacle. Teenaged girls wailing and hugging their boyfriends, conveniantly near to microphones and cameras and couldn’t even shut up for the 1 minute silence. BBC24 managed to cover the event for several hours non stop. Glowing tributes are read out by commanding officers for each and every soldier who gets killed and it seems to me that if you want to survive it’s best to be a complete arsehole that nobody likes because they never seem to die. The hype goes on.

It all seems to me to link in with the final paragraph that I wrote concerning Michael Jackson and the sense of powerlessness that people have. Most don’t think for themselves but swallow the lie about our military dying to prevent the Taliban coming down a high street nearby. Young men mostly join the Army because they can’t get a job, think themselves immortal and believe they will have a life of adventure. They don’t expect to come back in a box driven through Wooton Bassett.

The people of this nation are not powerless unless they allow themselves to be. If we stuck together and demanded change, demanded better education for all our children, demanded useful employment and demanded an end to us fighting wars in some part of the World for centuaries, then we would get it. The establishment stick together, the capitalists, the monarchy, the arms manufacturers and dealers, the agro-chemical companies and so on, they all stick together and they get what they want. It’s the majority who suffer because we forget that we are indeed the majority and if we choose to have the power then it is ours. Will it happen though? I doubt it and our dead young men will continue to pass through Wootton Bassett.

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