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Showing posts with the label militarisation

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…

Who owns the North Pole - part 48

An interesting article on the strategic importance of the Actic.

Except for the crash of a Norwegian military transport plane in Sweden during its course many people  would have been unaware of the largest military exercis  inside and immediately outside the Arctic Circle, since the end of the Cold War. Information on the exercise was scarce before, during and after the event; even the full roster of participating nations was not disclosed by the Norwegian military. Britain deployed HMS Illustrious, its last-remaining aircraft carrier, which had to return home early for repairs after being rammed by a tug-boat, thereby eliciting a few paragraphs in the Daily Mail. Cold Response 2012 was conducted from March 12-21 primarily in Norway but also in Sweden with the participation of 16,300 troops from fifteen nations as part of full spectrum – air, sea, infantry and special forces – maneuvers against the backdrop of the past three years’ new scramble for the Arctic. It was the larg…

The Tartan Army

Alex Salmond has set out his vision for an independent Scottish defence force, saying it would consist of the same number of army, RAF and navy personnel as under plans being drawn up by UK ministers. The First Minister said the coalition government’s defence review plan of one naval base, one air base and one mobile armed brigade was “exactly the configuration” required for Scotland. The defence review set out by the coalition government last year proposed about 6,500 troops being stationed in Scotland, with a further 6,500 employed at the Trident submarine base in Faslane and 2,400 personnel at RAF Kinloss. The three Scottish regiments – the Scots Guards, the Royal Regiment of Scotland, and the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards – would make up the core of any Scottish army, the SNP added.

Such a set-up would total about 15,400 troops, an armed force of an equivalent size to that of Kuwait.

One consequence of the SNP being responsible for running capitalism is keeping its armed forces up to …

swords into ploughshares

Socialists have always argued that the immense resources of the military will be transformed with the establishment of socialism. The Royal Engineers with all their training and kit could become a mobile disaster task-force, for instance.

An Edinburgh city councillor and MSP wants army properties due to be sold off under the UK Government`s defence review turned into social housing. Craigiehall HQ in Edinburgh, plus Redford and Dreghorn barrack could be converted to offer good-quality housing in Edinburgh and help meet the housing shortage in this city. 16,000 homes will be needed over the next 10 years to bridge the housing shortfall .

Readers of the blog are welcome to provide their own suggestions on how the personnel and equipment of the armed forces be turned into something of a social value.

Child soldiers

Plans for pupils in comprehensive schools to sign up for military drills and weapons training are being backed by Gordon Brown in an attempt to improve the relationship between the public and the armed forces. A major review of the military's role in British society says that encouraging more state secondary school pupils to join the cadet corps would improve discipline among teenagers while helping to improve the public perception of the army, navy and air force.

The government-commissioned review of civil and military relations, led by Quentin Davies wants secondary school pupils to receive basic military training as a means of developing greater affiliation with the armed forces. Davies, who was a Tory MP before defecting to Labour last year, said his proposals to expand the cadet structure throughout the comprehensive system were firmly backed by the Prime Minister, the Children's Secretary Ed Balls and defence ministers. Under the new government proposals, state schools wh…

Vultures of War

Young people are being recruited into the Army with misleading marketing . The report, by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, says that recruiters are targeting children as young as seven .

The advertising campaigns used by the Ministry of Defence "glamorise warfare, omit vital information and fail to point out the risks and responsibilities associated with a forces career", says the study. The report's author, David Gee, said: "The literature available to the young glamorises the armed services but does little to show the dangers recruits may face and even less the moral dilemmas they may face..."

One particularly successful advertising programme is "Camouflage", aimed at 13 to 17-year-olds, which includes a magazine, website and interactive games. The language in the recruiting literature and promotional DVD is so sanitised, a report says, that one brochure, "Infantry Soldier", does not even mention the words “kill” or “risk”.
A common ta…

Who owns the North Pole part 3

We warned here and here that due to the global warming and the increased accessibility of the Arctic Ocean and thus to the natural resources in the region that a new rivalry for sovereignty has begun in the Arctic .

Canada has announced plans for six naval patrol vessels and deep-water port in the north to assert its claim to territorial waters in the Arctic , all at a cost of $3bn (£1.5bn) .

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the time has come to re-assert Canada's claim to the north to remind other countries - including the US - of Canada's claim to the waters off its northern coast.

The claim could also have serious economic implications. Natural resources including oil, gas and diamonds are thought to lurk - perhaps in abundance - under the Arctic ice. And then there is the North-West Passage - the northern shipping route between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans that European explorers sought for centuries. With a warming climate, the route may just become viable and lucr…