Back in the 1980s, I was part of the UK’s military machine. Although I was young, I was still older than most of the men who joined the army at the same time, but only by a couple of years or so.
I joined the army because it seemed like a good career move. I was bored with my job and needed something else to stimulate my mind and provide a bit of adventure in life. So I applied and went through the selection process.
I was pleased. I would be doing a job in which I would be able to learn new skills, see some of the world, and see a side of life I had never seen before.
At the time I felt that I was contributing to the safety and security of those around me, and people of the country. There was a clear threat from the IRA on the UK mainland, and I was pleased to be part of the effort to prevent loss of life by (as I saw it) an evil enemy of our liberty.
I was doing well, and I was looking forward to a long career full of opportunity and adventure. Unfortunately, after a couple of years I was discharged because of injuries caused by an accident. I was devastated. All of my hopes for the future has vanished in a short space of time. But at least I had tried and had contributed to what I saw as an important function within our society – the protection of others.
When I look back at the motivation I had for joining the army, I still think it was the right thing to do. I was concerned with making the UK a safer place, free from terrorism. There was a clearly identified enemy present in my own country who had already been responsible for deaths and horrific injuries to innocent people going about their daily business – at least that is what I thought, and still think to some extent.
Having lived through quite a few interesting scenarios (both in the army and in civilian life) and through my general life experience, my views of military action are very different now.
No longer are the military engaged in protecting our own soil and way of life, they are now used as puppets by our government in the pursuit of corporate interests. That is not and never should be what military resources are used for. In our modern world, it appears that we still need a military presence, but I think that it should only be used to defend ourselves from unwanted invasion or threat. It should not be used to take over countries rich in resources or for political gain in another area of the world.
I can understand why young people see the military as a good career move. It offers so much for a young person, and seems to be a secure future. For many their motivation may be a pride in their country – a belief that they are contributing something which will keep us safe and secure. For others it may be the promise of adventure and training, and for others it may be because they have no future in their civilian role.
When I was in the army the training was hard and tough. It trained you to be self-disciplined, to think quickly in stressful situations, it taught you how to survive as an individual and as part of a group under extreme conditions – all skills that I still have with me today. The popular misnomer is that soldiers are trained to be robotic killing machines who are only able to obey orders – nothing could be farther from the truth, although the extent and intensity of the training would depend on which part of the army you belonged to – and was significantly different in other armed services.
Nowadays, military training does not prepare these young people for what they will face and experience. So many of our young soldiers come back after being shunted out to remote corners of the world which have nothing to do with protecting our own land, all to ensure oil and other resources are safe in the hands of governments corporate masters.
What I have seen of the training of soldiers in recent years, it is nowhere tough enough. It has to be tough because (when I was in the army) we need people who are able to be highly skilled in extreme conditions – often directly in the face of life-threatening
They may have colleges and outward bound type courses, but that is not real hardened military training. It is all too ‘managed’ and politically correct to be of any use when a soldier is faced with the harsh reality of conflict. Even with hard and as realistic as possible training, direct conflict can be a difficult situation to come out of intact – both physically and mentally – and the situation can be even more intense if the conflict includes close quarter combat.
The way our military is used and abused by our government is mind numbing. Yes – we have always had some presence overseas, and to come extent every conflict is political. The problem now is that the government see the military as some kind of private security force, sent into inhospitable places to secure natural reserves and maintain their security for the corporate machine – it has NOTHING to do with protecting our territory or citizens and everything to do with those in government, power, and corporations liking their own pockets.
That is not the reason I or any other soldier, sailor, or aircraftsman I know joined up.
Queen and country? Our military have not been involved in a conflict for the past 30 years that has anything to do with ‘Queen and country’. An outdated phrase for an outdated concept.
Then there is the disgusting way our military personnel are treated by the government and authorities when they are no longer required – they are cast out with no help, no respect from the government, with many forced into hardship and some living on the streets. That is no way to treat people who have dedicated their lives, and who were willing to take the significant risk of losing their lives, to what they thought was their country, only to be betrayed by a bunch of idiots in suits who have no concept of reality or decency.
Anyone who has been involved in real conflict will do all they can to avoid military action. It is a disgusting travesty that is a last resort when all else fails.
But then what can we expect from a bunch of idiots who are mostly public school boys and only vision of reality is playing dumb games with each other – which they carry on doing. Reality – they have no concept.
The government seem to be surprised that they have not had the number of applications for the territorial armed forces they had hoped for. Well here is a dose of reality for them. First you dismiss large numbers of service people into society – effectively betraying them for your own selfish means – claiming that it is to save taxpayer’s money when you waste obscene amounts of the cash you pretend you are saving on your selves. Then you expect those same service people to join your territorial forces and bring their knowledge and skills for a fraction of what they were paid as regulars? Do you really think that you are so superior that you think the very people you have shat on from a great height, most of them intelligent human beings who have a greater idea of reality than you will ever do, would fall for your scam?
There may have been a mass dumbing down of the nation, but obviously not to the extent you think it has been.
Any armed forces person really has to think long and hard about if what they are doing and fighting for is what they joined up to fight for and protect. You will find it is not.
Would I fight for ‘Queen and country’ again? I think you can guess my answer – not a chance in red hot hell!
I will go as far as I have to in protecting those around me, but never will I fight for such a corrupt and disgusting bunch of self-absorbed idiots like we have in government right now. If anything, I am feeling more as though we need to protect ourselves from them, not serve and buy in to their twisted agendas.
Each person is their own to some extent, and when we are young we have a different vision of the world to when we gain more life experience. But anyone with half a conscience can see what it happening, and how the population as a whole is being used and abused for corporations and their cronies – including our current government. Fabrication after fabrication is used to justify deploying our armed forces into far off places and for the tighter and tighter curtailing of our freedoms as we are forced into becoming slaves of those who carry on enjoying the luxuries they desire.
Humanity has gone upside down, concentrating on things that don’t matter – like trash TV, celebrity, and delusions of success – while all the time they are being manipulated and played like puppets in a never ending story of descending to hell.
Never again, and certainly not in my name, will any war or conflict based on the greed of those in power be fought by me.