Twenty percent of the British Army is now due to be savagely cut by the government by 2020, much to the chagrin of the Military Establishment- Former head of the Army, General Lord Dannatt, has bemoaned the fact that the UK will be ‘unable to fight two wars simultaneously’.  Boo-hoo, but then after the political and military debacle of Iraq, the public might give a big sigh of relief, but the companies that benefited from the illegal invasion may have a few qualms. The Tories ‘structural reforms’ of the army includes the doubling of the Special Reserve Forces, the Territorial Army included, whose numbers will supposedly be made up of ‘bankers, bosses and business owners’- Doubtless in order to have a readymade militia to quell the coming upsurge in social unrest, and who better to use, than those with the most invested in the status quo, to suppress working class revolt and to establish far-flung enclaves for their own business interests.  As it is, the Military Establishment is the very paragon of the British class system, and the armed wing of the City of London, and an auxiliary military support/ fig leaf for the USA- though the entire British Army, even at its present complement is still smaller than the entire United States Marine Corps, and the Americans call the Brits the ‘Flintstones’ because of the primitive equipment and supplies they operate with …

It’s noteworthy that on the same day this announcement was made, it was revealed that the soldiers involved in the Bloody Sunday massacre in 1972 will, at long last, be prosecuted for the crimes committed that day and while we may have sympathy for the working class lads from impoverished cities around the UK who bus off to Afghanistan only to return minus their legs or in a wooden box, we would do well not to call them neither victims nor ‘Heroes’.  This country has a very fine record of suppressing the truth of the brutality of the British Army in the field.

‘Our Boys’ have, over hundreds of years, committed atrocities across the world, from Malaya, Aden, India, Burma, Egypt, Kenya, Northern Ireland, to Iraq and Afghanistan- all in pursuit of maintaining British Imperial power, or acting at the behest of US power (see the Home Office papers recently released on the Kenyan ‘Emergency’ where rape, murder, torture and concentration camps sat side by side with afternoon tea) .

True, the soldiers do suffer themselves, whether it is Gulf War Syndrome, PTSD, poor accommodation for their families, or the woeful statistic of the Falklands veterans who committed suicide after the war –more than actually died in combat during the conflict, and the high proportion of ex-soldiers that end up homeless, or in nick having fallen into hard-core drinking and drug taking.  We cannot, and should not, forget the crimes born of the military system- whether it is the beating to death of Baha Mousa in Iraq or the rape and murder of a young woman outside a British base in Cyprus- a system that degrades and far more than it ennobles.

‘You, you & you!’ Pete Grafton, Pluto Press 1981.

As the aristocratic Duke of Wellington said of his troops- ‘They are the scum of the earth’ and that if they didn’t scare the French, then ‘they damned well scare me’- this attitude the ordinary squaddy persists today, with fuck all rehabilitation after the brutalising effects of ‘discipline’ (who now remembers the Deepcut Barracks affair?) and combat.  In the virtually invisible and under-reported ‘war’ in Afghanistan, British soldiers are now training their own executioners in the form of the Afghan Police and Army, avoiding IEDs and occasionally ‘slotting terries’ out on patrol.  They don’t know why they’re there, neither do their families, and nor do most of us.  But then the corporate media fights shy of telling the public the real reason for the Afghan adventure (never mind all the bullshit about terrorism) – we’re there for the mineral rights, for the oil and gas supply routes, to deny the growing economic and military power of China, to protect the supply of that leisure commodity, the opium poppy, and to exercise power in Iran’s backyard, close to ‘our’ oil supply…

We can only imagine the impact these cuts have on the morale of British troops across the world, particularly in Afghan, but then, with the forthcoming major war in the Middle East, I expect they will be reminded of their basic training, where the cry during bayonet drill is- ‘kill, kill, KILL KILL KILL!’…



1 Comment

Filed under Politics


  1. Ronald jozzerly

    Very interesting and bluntly but effectively put.

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