Why is it that religion and armed forces constantly get preferred positions in society? And why do we have to remain so contrary about them both? We don’t bother going to church as a nation, yet start invoking religion more than ever before to get out of having to hold to secular ethical standards. In 2003 2 million of us protested in the streets against the most obvious use (and abuse) ever of the armed forces. Yet today the government is recommending setting up an Armed Forces Day.
Among the proposals were encouraging military personnel to wear their uniforms in public; including military awareness in the national curriculum; and ensuring homecoming parades for troops returning from combat.
I find those proposals outright alarming. I don’t want the UK to become like the US, celebrating militarism and looking up to people who kill. I’m not denying that there are times and reasons for states having armed forces, but surely we should be combining respect and regret in how we treat them as a society?! Oughtn’t the aspirations of a modern society to be to work towards not needing to fight any more, whilst respecting those who volunteer to do so at the times it is needed? How can actually celebrating martial behaviour move us forward as individuals or a society? Yet Quentin Davies’ report continues by:
calling for “everything possible” to be done to encourage all schools to create their own combined cadet force (CCF) to give young people a taste of the military.
Only 60 exist at present in state schools – with another 200 at grammars and independent schools – and the Prime Minister has signalled that boosting that number is a priority for him.
My school had a CCF – I didn’t understand it then and I don’t now. Why teach young people to be martial? Or is it instilling unquestioning obedience? Why not just empower them instead? Davies doesn’t believe they should be compulsory, yet cites them as a key measure to prevent anti-military discrimination. Maybe the true ulterior motive is here:
“Soldiers are genuinely concerned when they come back from Iraq to hear the population that sent them being occasionally dismissive or indifferent about their achievements.
“We are in danger of sapping our volunteer army’s willingness to serve in such an atmosphere again,” he said.
Why not just stop sending them out to engage in illegal invasions? Just a thought. This government will stop at nothing.