Before I go into my “rant” I would like to play you a song sung by Holly, a young seventeen year old girl with her heart in the right place, and written by Eric Bogle. Very moving and very beautiful!
As an ex-soldier I naturally take note of Remembrance Sunday and I observe the two minute silence on the eleventh day of the eleventh month. But I do not celebrate it!
When I think of this, I think of our brave soldiers dying for our politicians. Occasionally they die for our country, but that is more the exception than the rule. I think of the evil politicians who are willing to send the bravest of the brave into battle, more often than not with sub-standard equipment, the wrong equipment, or sometimes no equipment for the job at all – all to save a few extra coppers so they can increase their own pay and allowances, sitting in the relative safety of parliament. I was sickened when I saw Gordon Brown at the Royal Legion evening. And, on the following morning at the Cenotaph. He had no right to be there after starving soldiers of the equipment they so desperately need.
The left like to bleat about the officer class sending the working class to their deaths. In actual fact a second lieutenant in WW1 had an extremely high mortality rate. They don’t like to blame their politicians who were the real cause. Generals run the army but they are not in charge of policy. Policy is strongly dictated by the government and if a General goes against their will he is quickly removed. A more pliant officer is very soon appointed in his place.
However we can gain some facts from the present war in Iraq and Afghanistan and this is that we are still producing heroes and our young are not as pathetic as the older generation like to make out. Mind you, in the great scheme of things the percentage of soldiers is, I would guess, lower than the combined percentage of the young on drugs, obese, muggers or members of gangs. And as for the officer class, may I remind you of the recent story of a captain, mortally injured, asking the medics to patch him up so he could rejoin his men. He died moments later. I am reminded of a book I read in the past where officers were described as “go-on officers” or “come-on officers”. This captain was definitely a come-on officer! One I would have been more than willing to have served under.
And, for those against the officer class, may I mention that the forces have little corruption. The newspapers, who like to smell out stories of corruption whenever they can, seldom find such cases in the armed forces. Yes there are a few, but considering the size of our armed forces this is a very low percentage. The police force do not have an officer class.