Thursday, 8 November 2012

Military injured always treated with contempt by British state

Written in 2002, nothing's changed since. 


Now the war is about to start, a whole bunch of people who said it was a bad idea will, bizarrely, move to support it in order to 'get behind the armed forces'. The logic of this is somewhat obtuse, but it opens up the question of who is really dropping the armed forces in it - the peace movement, which wants to get them out of harm's way, or the government, which wants to put them in it?

For a very long time, the British state has treated the men and women at the sharp end with utter contempt.

Here are some relevant facts:
1950s - UK uses soldiers as human guinea pigs in nuclear bomb tests, and then fought for decades to deny them compensation.
1982 - UK diddled Falkland's veterans out of full disability pensions by calling it an 'armed conflict' not a war.
1982 onwards - UK fails to support traumatised Falklands veterans. The number of UK ex-combatants who have killed themselves is now about equal to the number (225) who were killed in it.
1991 onwards - UK fights tooth and nail to deny the reality of 'Gulf War Syndrome'. Of 45,000 who were deployed to the Gulf, 2,000 are preparing to sue the MoD for compensation for chronic illness, disability and birth defects suffered since the war, probably caused by depleted uranium and/or experimental cocktails of anti-NBC drugs.
1995-2002. Four suspicious deaths at Deepcut Barracks bring another round of denials. Either there is a serial killer at work and the army are covering it up, or else the place has a higher suicide rate than many remand centres.
1997 Homeless charity, 'Shelter' counts people sleeping rough and discovers that 25% of them used to be in the forces.
2002 - A War Pensions Tribunal recognised Gulf War Syndrome as a war injury whose victims were entitled to support. Right now, the MoD is spending even more public funds in an attempt to appeal against this decision.
Ongoing - the UK is one of a handful of countries that refuses to fully implement the UN convention against employing child soldiers and sending them into battle.

NB - calling on troops to desert or disobey orders is horribly illegal under the Mutiny Act, so don't do it.

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