Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Anonymity, a fine and a demotion. You couldn't make it up.

I recently wrote that two people do not represent an entire religion, by the same token three soldiers do not represent an entire army.

However, this week the British Army held a court martial over allegations of child abuse and racial discrimination in Afghanistan by three soldiers at a check point. The striking thing is the lack of upset from the public in response to these incidents. At a time when Operation Yewtree is in the papers most weeks with every man, woman and their dog coming out to "persecute old men" as one barrister put it, there has largely been no such response to this. 

The punishment for these soldiers has amounted to little more than a slap on the wrist with one soldier fined £1000 for asking a child to touch his special place and another has been reduced in rank. The judge advocate had said that there was no sexual motive behind the behaviour, yet if that happened in any place in the UK there would be outrage and he would have been put on the sex offenders list. A third officer, the man in charge of these soldiers was cleared as not being in the public interests to pursue him in the light of the guilty pleas from the others. 

I am not sure what to think any more. Are we saying after this that it is OK to abuse brown boys but not white ones? The message set by the judge in this case seems to be that the lives of the people in Afghanistan are worth less than those in the UK and though the actions of these three do not represent the entire British Army, it does raise the question of how these fellow humans are viewed in the theatre of war. Perhaps people have not been upset by this because the media have not told them to be.

In another twist the three soldiers have been given anonymity under the reason of safety and security for them and their families, what about the safety and security of the families trying to rebuild their lives in the ashes of Afghanistan and Iraq under the haze of depleted uranium?

If we want to end the war on terror then first we must stop waging a war of terror.

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