Monday, March 15, 2010

Fighting for democracy?

Aside from the dragging out of the spouses, we can tell it's coming up to an election time because the military are once again being dragged into a battle ground they can't properly engage in.

We've seen the Tories bringing up the subject of equipment whilst our PM Brown and the Defence Secretary, given the job because he was the last one left in that June fiasco last year, flying out to Afghanistan to meet soldiers who they've shafted in one way or another over the past few years. It was the same time as the inquest into the death of Cpl Sarah Bryant revealed what we had all known for years: that the Labour Government had not considered the needs of the Armed Forces sufficiently before they signed them up for two conflicts.

How Brown and Ainsworth could really think that we'd see their stunts as anything other than that is saddening, but not quite so demoralising as the realisation that there are people in this country who, in their millions, will look at the past 13 years and think that this shower have been doing a good job.

But whilst the government have gagged the officers and used the troops for their own gain we've heard very little about the injuries in the press recently. Those who are in the know on these issues read about those deaths and realise that for every Killed in Action there will be casualties.

It's no wonder that with the looming election and with the Armed Forces Minister defending a slim majority of 97 that there's a wish to keep the casualty figures away from the papers. A quick glance at the casualty stats from the MoD's own website (which doesn't include a breakdown by types of injury and, in my experience, Freedom of Information Act Requests on these topics get mysteriously lost when civil servants read them) shows some tear jerking figures.

The summer of 2009 will be etched in the memory of many as we heard of the loss of so many young men and, as these men were flown home and buried with their deserved full military honours, the wards at Selly Oak and Headley Court were packed to bursting with wounded and limbless men. In total there were 158 serious and very seriously injured soldiers in 2009; an average of 13 per month.

In the first two months of this year we have seen 24 serious casualties: 17 very seriously injured and 7 seriously injured. Thats an average of 12 without counting those who were injured from the rifles battlegroup recently. That's almost the same and yet nothing.

I wonder why these figures haven't hit the headlines? I wonder why Bob Ainsworth and Bill Rammell haven't been talking about assistance for these men and their families? Those whose lives are changed forever rather than those who are squabbling, policy-less, to grip onto second homes and lavish expenses at our expense.

But don't hold your breath to hear the stories of those who have suffered and turned their lives around. For the MoD control what they can and can't say to the national press. And that means Bob Ainsworth and Bill Rammell. And do you think they want you reminded of these injured soldiers when they're trying to win your vote?


daniel john said...

A great article indeed and a very detailed, realistic and superb analysis of the current and past scenarios.

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Anonymous said...