I served with the British Army for a full career of 22 years and then added 5 more years with the TA. During that time I never regretted it once. I served with some wonderful friends many of whom I am still in contact with and I was fortunate to have an absorbing job. I spent most of my time working in the old West Germany mainly because the army gave me the opportunity to learn Russian and German. I did however serve two tours on active service in Northern Ireland when it was quite stressful. My army pension now plays a big part in maintaining my standard of living.
The reason that I am blogging this is to underline my credentials for what I am about to discuss. My son is in his mid thirties and a few days ago he informed me that he was going to join the TA. This as he explains is 'unfinished business' because years ago he passed through the Parachute Regiment fitness training and then foolishly through it all away. He has therefore never fulfilled his military ambitions.
Now you would think that I would be pleased for him but unfortunately I cannot share his enthusiasm because of the current plight of our forces and the disgraceful actions of our politicians. Tony Blair, for whatever reason, committed our overstretched service personnel to two unwinnable wars. We had no grounds to attack Iraq and all of Blair's lies have now been exposed. If any other leader had done what Blair did I am sure that they would have been indicted as a war criminal. Our presence in Afghanistan is also phoney and we are now engaged in a war where the enemy has got unlimited manpower, the American backed Afghan leader has very dubious credentials and nobody has ever won a war in that country at any rate.
Our soldiers are doing a magnificent job. Despite the horrendous conditions they are inflicting major casualties on the enemy but they are also shipping them. Slowly but surely the cream of the crop are being picked off. Not all are dying, no some have 'just' lost limbs or lost their minds but still the adventurous lads come forward and join up.
When Blair committed us to these wars he committed other acts of treachery. He closed the essential Military hospitals where soldiers can recover their minds and bodies in the company of their mates. This military support network cannot be replaced by anything civilian because it is the respect for one's mates which knits it all together. Soldiers are trained to notice when a mate is 'down' and to react accordingly. Many of the modern nurses are so obsessed with themselves that they don't even notice the patients. Blair also neglected to provide the soldiers with sufficient body armour or vehicle armour which has caused unnecessary deaths and I am sure the soldiers would tell you much more than I could about lack of support, particularly where helicopters are concerned. You notice I have mentioned Blair but never forget that Gordon Brown was by his side at all times and must share the blame.
So now my son wants to join up! I know that this crowd of warmongers are so strapped for personnel that they will welcome him. He is a born soldier and they won't be able to believe their luck. He will make an excellent officer, his men will respect him and I know that he will go out of his way to prove himself even though he doesn't need to. My problem is that I would hate to lose him or any part of him fighting wars which don't need to be fought. When I served we fought for Queen and country. When my generation went to the Falklands we knew the reasons and respected them. I cannot for the life of me respect any of the actions of this government. To my mind they have no respect for our servicemen and women and they prove it time and time again. Poor Housing, slow compensation and a total lack of support. People like Gordon Brown have spent a life time cutting back the forces until there is little left but the few that are left are proving that we can still breed young heroes.
I cannot and would not want to interfere with his plans but I just wish that he would focus on using his considerable talents on something other than propping up this despicable government.