Saturday, 8 September 2012

Seldom Remembered

On 14 August a soldier, from 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, was serving in Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand Province when he was seriously injured during enemy action.

He was flown back to the UK for treatment at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, but died from his wounds on Friday.

He is the 32nd member of the armed forces to die in Afghanistan this year and the 426th since the unwinnable war began.

Seldom remembered are those seriously or very seriously injured in this war. From January 2012 to the end of July there were 31 members of our armed forces who come into the above categories with 17 very seriously injured and 14 seriously injured.

There are of course those who are wounded, either physically or mentally, yet are not a statistic.

We can't ignore the way in which today's politicians abuse the loyalty of our armed forces.  Is it time our military had a union to represent them?  The police do.  More than enough. The excuses politicians give for not permitting our troops to be represented in this way are fatuous.


Michele said...

Sorry - as an ex army Warrant Officer the concept of a unionised military is appalling. Surely you have not thought this through?

Soldiers enlist knowing full well that they may be sent to war; their oath of allegiance is to the Queen not to any politician; and you want them to be unionised?? What next ... let's have a ballot before we're deployed and we'll only defend you after we'll come off strike!!!

One of the previous labour lot here in Australia tried that trick and sent a couple of union heavies to 'discuss' it at a compulsory meeting. They almost got lynched.

I am sure your heart in is the right place, but seriously ... think on ... Some people actually believe in the concept of 'Duty'

JRB said...

Must agree with every word Michele has written.

Whilst you give the example of union presence in the police force, you need only look at some of the recent disasters occurring within the other ‘emergency’ service –
- the woman who died trapped down a mine-shaft because some ‘jobs-worth’ invoked the H& S joint agreements and would not allow the rescue to begin until all relevant personnel and equipment were on site.
- Or the woman who died of a heart attack because the nearby ambulance driver was on his compulsory union negotiated meal break.

As Michele says, there is the concept of Duty; I would argue that for the Military and the Emergency Services that and only that, should be their raison d’etre

As for politicians abusing that sense of duty and loyalty – that is a wholly separate issue - I have absolutely no hesitation in condemning the politicians in what they have, and at times have not, done.

Oldrightie said...

Unionisation of any enterprise ends in tears and destruction. However the lack of publicity for our troops is a disgrace. The nasty, underhand pushing aside of Wooton Bassett is a case in point. As is the night flights of the decimated, limbless wounded into to Birmingham, shrouded in secrecy and stealth. Quite disgusting.

Clarinda said...

I wonder now who really is responsible for the H&S claptrap etc. that fetters our natural professional initiative - perhaps not directly the unions but the unelected desk-jockeys in Brussels who foist their ill-thought through rules onto the unions?

We all have a duty (whether armed forces, emergency services, politician or citizen)- but I fear that the duty to make decisions on behalf of our national and foreign interests are far from based on a truely moral obligation which the Westminster government is only too ready to ignore in the vested interests of political expedience and profit.

Yes, it was sickening that the two people died as JRB gave as examples - how is it any more acceptable to have hundreds and hundreds of armed forces die or thousands of them suffer wounds and trauma for the lack of a more substantive representation of their best interests - duty or not?

That the armed forces have a hazardous duty to fulfil their obligations does not mean that their duty is boundless or unquestioned and their lives and welfare left to fate.

I take from Subrosa's submission that her suggestion of a "union" is conversely a perfectly intelligent and reasonable request to debate the role and DUTY of politicians in sending troops to fields of conflict and what should be their on-going duty to provide appropriate welfare and recognition of that service in what appears to be the absence of an independent advocate for the armed services?

We seem to have little problem awarding knighthoods for leaping over a few jumps or hurtling around a wooden track on a bike. All jolly entertaining - but a knighthood?

The oath of allegiance is made by both armed forces and politicians to the Crown - but it is politicians who send the troops to fight - how is their duty/allegiance manifest? O-R is right to shame them in their clandestine behaviour to hide our returning dead and wounded. Some duty, some allegiance?

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

When the Establishment adheres to a common purpose, conscience and fulfils its duty, I'll consider mine.

Until that happens, they merely abuse and exploit.

subrosa said...

Oh my heart's in the right place Michele. I also have considerable experience within military circles so I'm not speaking through a hole in my head.

Not all unions are like the big Labour-oriented ones here in the UK. There are unions around which care for their members.

Indeed, many people do believe in the concept of duty - otherwise we wouldn't have a military at all.

My belief is that there is nothing between politicians and the military - with the exception of the MoD - to prevent the armed forces personnel being abused.

It's a fine line.

subrosa said...

Your last paragraph is the reason I suggest a formal body should be available for military personnel JRB.

I don't like the set up of the big UK unions, but there are other ways to ensure our military aren't being misused.

subrosa said...

Well OR, the military needs a voice as you say. I wouldn't mind paying for them to have the a publicity machine not attached to the MoD.

subrosa said...

Thanks for your contribution Clarinda.

subrosa said...

Sadly conscience lacks in most of our politicians Crinkly.

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