Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Today's news: soldiers are violent

Martin Samuel is not surprised at the footage of British squaddies beating up Iraqi prisoners:

The increasingly desperate Gordon Brown chose yesterday, of all days, to unveil a plan that peddles the tired old association of militarism and self-restraint, with an expansion of the school cadets scheme. Against the backdrop of British soldiers demonstrating the lack of control that army life is supposed to eradicate, Mr Brown announced he wanted tens of thousands of state school pupils to volunteer for uniformed training in the Army, Navy or Air Force, to teach discipline and national pride. The focus for his trial project, naturally, will be deprived areas. It would be risible as a suggestion from a retired colonel on The Daily Telegraph’s letters page; from a future prime minister it is terrifying. At least Tony Blair’s right-wing tendencies had an air of sincerity. Mr Brown appears to have got his from watching reruns of Till Death Us Do Part in the hope he makes a connection with a daytime talk radio audience.

1 comment:

Conrad Quilty-Harper said...

This Times article is complete trash. It starts by telling us that we need to accept the reality of war (that soldiers will beat up civilians) and ends with some deluded idealogical belief that we should be divorcing war. How are we supposed to be practical about war (and human rights) all the while stating a pacifist viewpoint?

Besides this contradictory view, the writer seems to think that the Cadets is a new thing. I was in the cadets for two years and it was a good experience. I clocked up 5 hours of flying time, which cost me about £5 in total (thanks to the taxpayers). I disagreed with the principle of being part of a military institution, but I was not obligated to stay on afterwards.

The only--weak--point that this article seems to make (I'm trying to rise above bashing the emotional language that the writer has used) is that this initiative will be made in deprived areas. I don't see anything wrong with this. A large number of private schools have a cadets program, so why not the state school sector?!