I Write, You Consider! This is a philosophical, and psychological outpouring, and having calculated that I am probably one of less than 1% of the population of the UK who has been subjected to, involved in, or rub shoulders with war for more than 80 years, I’m putting this in as a Sunday Special, because those who read on Sunday are more likely to be interested,. It started with the tales of the ’14 to ’18 war by those who suffered in it. My father and my uncle were severely gassed and wounded in World War 1, and their lives were both shortened and damaged as a result. I endured five years of World War II, followed by Israel & Palestine – I was personally due to be sent to war during the Suiz affair – then nearly 40 years of the Northern Ireland Troubles, and finally there are our current problems in the Middle and Far East.
There is no shadow of doubt that the expectation of war induces, in teenagers and young men, the sense of adventure and excitement, which is soon dampened by reality. History, which is regularly ignored, shows how the conceits and ambitions of those at the top of the heap, are allowed, unchecked, to lead the rest of us into the most frightful situations without any real mandate. ie Vietnam and Korea. I’m not only referring to politicians, but also to the military leaders and advisers, especially those whose hidebound, class and arrogance induced the carnage of WW1 – not second to none, but in the top echelons,. While the carnage worldwide of World War II was indeed second to none and to my mind not only didn’t achieve anything, it set everything back by years. The 30 odd years of sheer waste, death and destruction, that disrupted the lives of so many in Northern Ireland, was something that crept up on us at a time when the majority of us felt we were out of the political wood; and some of us, who had seen it all before, knowing what we faced, were so incensed, angry and frustrated, we joined up again even though we were far too old..
The psychological aspect of this, that I find so strange, and has been even more prominent currently than ever before in my experience, is that the population at large does not rise up, literally, and refuse to be slaughtered at the whim of a politician with his own agenda. Hitler is a case in point, who brought disaster to his own people as well as the whole of Europe and beyond, Hirohito, influenced by his warlords, was another, and leaders throughout the world are equally guilty. Clearly it is a class thing, where class encompasses more than landed gentry, as the hierarchy in Russia since the revolution has shown. I am firmly convinced, and the story of the Christmas football match in ‘No man’s land’ between the British and the Germans, – is apparently not apocryphal – was proof if ever it was needed, that the man in the street is more interested in his own parochial problems than those of the world as a whole.
I raise these matters because I feel so strongly about what our soldiers are suffering in circumstances and in social environments, where tribal interaction is endemic, and unlikely to be cauterised by foreign armies. My concern is not only general, but I have relatives and friends who have been and are out there in the dust and the blood, doing what they’re told, and not necessarily what they believe to be valid. I find it amazing that for some reason one of the smaller countries of the world is being required to risk the lives of its men as policeman, when the world politicians themselves can’t agree on a universal policy.
I realise that what I’m saying here, might sound reactionary, and would certainly be considered almost treasonable by those giving the orders. I’m also aware that the majority of people reading this have known this for a long time, but if we have all known it, why do we allow it to persist?