Thursday 5 March 2015
Veterans for Peace
Queen & Country
I have been a friend of ex-SAS trooper, Ben Griffin, ever since I attended the High Court to witness his being silenced by the British government for telling the truth about his experiences in Iraq. Today he is an ambulanceman and a leading member of Veterans for Peace UK. He reminds me of ex-soldiers I know from the Bosnian war & who I write about in "Left Field'. Like them he has become a truth-teller, whose voice needs to be heard if we are ever to get over our addiction to war.
The following is a condensed version of Ben's talk at the Oxford Union.
“The idea of fighting for Queen and Country is held by those who have never fought, by those who have no experience of the suffering that war inflicts, by those who gain the most from war - politicians, generals, the arms industry and the media and its armchair hussars.
Who is doing the fighting? A well-trained and professional force whose collective desire is to go to war, any war. This force does not fight for Queen and Country. It fights when and where it is told to fight.
If you believe the media you might imagine that the fighting consists of bayonet charges, lone hand grenade assaults on enemy positions or modern-day Spitfire pilots scrambling to some noble action. In my experience the reality is a lot darker. It involves long periods of waiting punctuated by unforeseen moments of extreme violence, having your legs blown off by an IED, a supposed ally shooting holes in your chest, dying in a helicopter crash, burning to death in a transport plane, being beaten to death by an angry mob, setting up checkpoints in a country you have occupied, disrupting the lives of the people and then killing them when they approach too quickly or fail to stop in time, raiding people’s houses with explosives, detaining young males and handing them over to be tortured, killing people from the safety of a helicopter or drone control room, using words like Haji, Raghead, Sand Nigger, Chogie, Argie, Paddy, Gook, Chink, Jap. Kraut, Hun.
And with all this going on, they cultivate the myth of the soldier as hero. That you should support 'our boys and girls'. That to stop the slaughter would be sacrilege to those heroes that have died.
I am a human being and my allegiance is not to Queen and Country but to the whole of humanity. I no longer accept the lies which perpetuate war. I no longer accept that violence can lead to peace. Never again will I be complicit in the killing and torture of my brothers and sisters. Never again will I accept the vile religion of Patriotism. I refuse to pull on that rancid uniform. I refuse to fight for Queen and Country.”
If 'Left Field' goes into profit, and with your help it will, I'll hand over a portion of them to Veterans for Peace
If we don't make a profit, I will send them some money anyway!