Showing posts with label army. Show all posts
Showing posts with label army. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Support our troops?

Among men and women it is commonly held that we should support our troops because they’re protecting our country, they’re protecting the world, and we wouldn’t have freedom without them. It is no wonder such beliefs are widely held since those claims are continually repeated by politicians and the media. The undercurrent of  that “support” and “gratitude” for the military and those who serve in it is intrinsically apolitical. Often, the spectacle of public gratitude to the troops reaches absurd proportions. Recently we witnessed at Ibrox, soldiers chanting and singing along with the hard-core Protestant supporters in a celebration of Armed Services Day.

If our freedom is bestowed on us by soldiers the implication that people should feel boundless gratitude to the military as an institution and all the men and women who serve in it. But it also follows that if our freedom exists only at the pleasure of the military, of course, is that the same military can revoke said freedom if it so desires.

Supporting the military and expressing gratitude for what the military is actually doing around the world, are nothing if not explicitly political sentiments. It reflects the highly effective propaganda that has convinced generations of people that there is virtually nothing for which we should not thank the troops.  There is seemingly no limit to the scope of human activity that many of us sincerely believe would not be possible were it not for the military’s selflessness. We reduce our entire existence as free people to something that only exists at the whim of themilitary, and suffocate critical thought about the military and what it’s actually doing in the world such as the murder of wound prisoners in the name of freedom.

Adapted from here

Monday, May 07, 2012

Scotland's My Lai Massacre?

It has been dubbed “Britain’s My Lai massacre” a reference to the infamous murders by US forces in Vietnam.

The 16-man patrol of  the 7th Platoon, G Company of the 2nd Scots Guards, on 12 December 1948 were conducting military operations to combat the post-Second World War Communist insurgency of the Malayan Emergency. Soldiers surrounded the rubber estate at Sungai Rimoh in Batang Kali and shot dead 24 unarmed villagers before setting light to the village. The bodies of several  villagers were reportedly mutilated.

"So cruel those British,"
Foo Moi keeps repeating, "so cruel." An eyewitness, now aged 89

The British then introduced an extraordinary retrospective "licence to kill" law interpreted by lawyers as a clumsy bid to render legalise the killings that had already occurred. .

The colonial Attorney General who exonerated the British troops of any wrongdoing at the time privately believed that mass public executions might deter other insurgents.

Former defence secretary Denis Healey instructed Scotland Yard to set up a task team to investigate the matter while Labour was in power, but an incoming Conservative government dropped it in 1970 due to an ostensible lack of evidence. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has argued it cannot be held legally liable and that legal responsibility was transferred upon independence in 1963. On January 30, 2009, the Foreign Office in Britain rejected a call for an inquiry into the massacre of villagers. The UK government’s refusal to hold a formal investigation into the killings is being challenged during a two-day judicial review hearing.

Although the Emergency was a war, it was never officially called one out of regard for the London insurance market that the Malayan economy depended upon for cover. Insurance rates covered losses of stocks and equipment through riot and civil disobedience in an "emergency".