Thursday, 28 July 2005

The war on terror in my living room

Today, I received some unwelcome news. My younger brother has decided to apply to join the RAF. This came as a shock. Before today he's dropped the odd comment and as a family we would joke at his inability to get up in the morning, but now he has actually gone ahead and done it. Ok he hasn't quite made it there yet, he still has various stringent fitness/ IQ tests to do e.t.c but it's one step closer and I'm already worried sick. Of course, whatever decision he makes is up to him and I'll support him whatever, but the thought of a family member becoming tangled up in the web of lies surrounding the war on terror is unsettling.

My reasons for this are many but I shall name a few.

1. My greatest worry about military forces is that when you join you sacrifice your opinions, control over your life and your freedom of speech. By entering such an institution you in effect offer your body, your mind and your soul to be used for military purposes. You can no longer refuse an order on moral grounds. As an example, you may be ordered to bomb a school which your commanding officer believes is a store house for WMD, you may disagree and believe that it is in fact filled with innocent civilians. In warfare however, you surrender your judgment to the decision of another, whether it be your commander or the likes of Monsieur Blair. As we have seen in the recent Iraq war, decisions can be flawed.

2. You are most likely to be killed by friendly fire. Namely by our wonderfully inept American counterparts

3. You are continuously suffocated by propaganda and rhetoric from Bush and Blair. When over a million people marched against the Iraq war do you think the soldiers in Iraq were fully aware of the anger over here? Absolutely not. I was writing to a soldier based in Iraq and he was given the low down by his commander that everything was hunky-dorey over here. The power of propaganda for keeping up morale in the forces shouldn't be underestimated.

4. Joining the military forces means that you trust and believe in your government and you support their dealings in foreign affairs. Whether it be Bush or Blair, they have both lied publicly and they have both fought a war to further their own interests despite public opposition.

5. You live in barracks at arms length from the outside world. This creates insular communities that run the risk of developing a very narrow world view.

6. You have to have a multitude of vaccinations. The Anthrax vaccine has been linked to Gulf War Syndrome. There have been a number of concerns (i.e MMR) about whether having too many vaccines can be detrimental to your health. The case remains open.

7. A 5am wake up call every day

8. Having a family is twice as hard as it would be normally. Children often move from one country to the next which can be unsettling or they only rarely see their father if he is posted abroad.

ok well it's just worrying me writing this so I'm going to stop. The pay might be good, the pension might be great but I personally feel there is more to the RAF than flying planes. It is about feeling 100% comfortable with the governance of your country. I for one am not.

1 comment:

  1. Hey you, out there in forget that your brother is the son of a fine soldier, a red beret, a paratrooper (who has not even been brainwashed !!!!!!). On a different and more cheerful note : Well done Wicky with your exams !!!!