Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 4 October 2015

We don’t need this military jamboree

Published 31/10/2008

I was dismayed to learn that the ‘homecoming welcome' for the RIR will consist of a televised public parade, to include members of other services, and even a fly-past by the RAF!

It looks like we will have a panoply of military might such as usually follows a victory.

I wonder, however, whether the people of Iraq feel that a victory has been achieved?

With their country plundered and in ruins, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children killed, sectarian strife unleashed, millions fled abroad — what message will this triumphalist exhibition send to them?

Why, surely that we are dancing on their graves.

I say ‘we' because the public nature of this event makes it look as if the illegal invasions of Iraq and of Afghanistan (another debacle) were supported unreservedly by the population here, whereas there were many, on both sides of the community, who opposed these foreign adventures.

Some soldiers' relatives claim that their menfolk ought to be publicly honoured because they fought, or died, ‘defending their country'.

What a sad illusion!

As a fair number of service families in Britain bitterly recognised, the soldiers were fighting and dying for the US oil companies and to further US imperial ambition in the Middle East.

This big military jamboree will doubtless act as a recruiting sergeant and encourage more young people to enlist in the cause of the multinational corporations.

Given the vast amount of suffering which British and US colonial policy has brought to the peoples of the Middle East, I believe that in the name of human decency we need to bear witness to this.

A public protest against this unseemly and inappropriate military display is therefore essential.

Caitlin Ni Chonaill


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