Soldiers families go on attack

#1
http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/article358003.ece

An interesting development that signals the discontent felt by families of those serving, and those who have lost their lives.

Perhaps Bliar may actually get around to visiting the wounded and bereaved, one way or another.

Soldiers families go on attack

By Severin Carrell
Published: 16 April 2006

The parents of British troops on active service in Iraq are to stage an unprecedented protest about the conflict, signalling growing discontent over the conflict in military circles.

They are to lobby Downing Street next week, making Tony Blair the first serving Prime Minister of modern times to be lobbied by military families for the withdrawal of British troops from action overseas.

The protests on 26 April are expected to involve more than 40 close relatives of soldiers posted to Iraq and Afghanistan and relatives of the 103 British personnel killed in Iraq, as well as four Iraq veterans. Among them will be 11 parents and children of men serving or about to be deployed in the Gulf, in Guards regiments, the infantry regiments, special operations forces and airborne units.

The families are due to hand in to Mr Blair at No 10 an anti-war petition that also calls for the Prime Minister to meet the families of dead soldiers, following a lobby of MPs at the House of Commons. The petition has already been signed by more than 80 people with military ties.

One mother, Linda Holmes, told The Independent on Sunday she would be protesting because the invasion was illegal. "We shouldn't be there in the first place. The Iraqis don't want us there. We are an occupying force," she said.

Until now, the families of serving personnel have held back from publicly attacking Britain's presence in Iraq. Criticisms of Mr Blair's policies in the Gulf have previously been dominated by the parents and wives of British troops killed there.

But last week, an RAF doctor, Flt Lt Malcolm Kendall-Smith, became the first serving officer to be convicted and jailed after a court martial for refusing to serve in Iraq because, he claimed, the invasion was illegal.

The 26 April protests will echo increasingly vocal complaints by military families in the United States, where one mother, Cindy Sheehan, built a "peace camp" outside President Bush's ranch in Texas in 2004. Ms Sheehan's campaign group of 48 parents of US troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, is protesting at the ranch in Crawford this weekend.

President Bush was forced late on Friday to issue a personal statement backing his Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, after a chorus of complaints from retired US generals over the handling of Iraq. In Britain, discontent among Army wives about the continuing conflict in Iraq is also surfacing in internet chatrooms. Several mothers are repeatedly sending emails to the Prime Minister, complaining about Britain's involvement.

Denise, a former civil servant, said: "We're in their country as invaders. That's not what my son thinks. He says it's bad out there and these people need help. So I think sometimes we've gone out there like the Red Cross."

The grandmother of two British soldiers, one who has just served in Iraq and another who is going to Afghanistan, asked not to be named, for fear of repercussions against her grandsons. "This isn't for Queen and country," she said. "This war is unfair, unjust and illegal. It's not that our soldiers are cowards, or their parents and grandparents aren't proud, I just don't want to see their uniforms on a coffin."

Mary, the mother of a 19-year-old private from south-west England who came back from Iraq last week, said: "When my son was 16, he wanted to join the Army. We're extremely proud, and we want him to stay in the Army. But we definitely don't want my son to fight in 'President' Blair's and President Bush's oil war. He's not a mercenary."

Her son does not share her views: "He's what the army would call a very good soldier. He says, 'I'm a soldier. I don't have any political opinions.'"

Some names in this article have been changed

A RIGHT TO SPEAK OUT

Linda Holmes, a medical secretary from Warwickshire, has a son in the Grenadier Guards, Guardsman Robert Holmes, 24: "I think it's an illegal war. Initially, because Robert wasn't really connected with Iraq at the time, I was very complacent. Once he announced he was going out I thought, I can't stand idly by, because there were all those deaths which were coming to the surface around that time. This is my personal view. It's not Robert's, but we live in a democracy. I have the right to say what I feel. I just hope that Robert doesn't get any backlash for this."

JOHN LAWRENCE

THE ANXIOUS WAIT

The 19-year-old son of Janet Lowrie, from Dumbarton, Scotland, Pte Peter McCallum of the Highlanders Regiment, completes six months in Iraq this week: "He's going for a full career in the Army but we want them all to leave, every one. They're not allowed to say much. They're doing their jobs, bless them. But every solitary one of us in our family wants him home. Some have to stay to help get the country back in shape, but the Iraqis aren't interested in them all being there. Peace isn't going to happen when they've got thousands of men standing there with guns."

ASHLEY COOMBES

The parents of British troops on active service in Iraq are to stage an unprecedented protest about the conflict, signalling growing discontent over the conflict in military circles.

They are to lobby Downing Street next week, making Tony Blair the first serving Prime Minister of modern times to be lobbied by military families for the withdrawal of British troops from action overseas.

The protests on 26 April are expected to involve more than 40 close relatives of soldiers posted to Iraq and Afghanistan and relatives of the 103 British personnel killed in Iraq, as well as four Iraq veterans. Among them will be 11 parents and children of men serving or about to be deployed in the Gulf, in Guards regiments, the infantry regiments, special operations forces and airborne units.

The families are due to hand in to Mr Blair at No 10 an anti-war petition that also calls for the Prime Minister to meet the families of dead soldiers, following a lobby of MPs at the House of Commons. The petition has already been signed by more than 80 people with military ties.

One mother, Linda Holmes, told The Independent on Sunday she would be protesting because the invasion was illegal. "We shouldn't be there in the first place. The Iraqis don't want us there. We are an occupying force," she said.

Until now, the families of serving personnel have held back from publicly attacking Britain's presence in Iraq. Criticisms of Mr Blair's policies in the Gulf have previously been dominated by the parents and wives of British troops killed there.

But last week, an RAF doctor, Flt Lt Malcolm Kendall-Smith, became the first serving officer to be convicted and jailed after a court martial for refusing to serve in Iraq because, he claimed, the invasion was illegal.

The 26 April protests will echo increasingly vocal complaints by military families in the United States, where one mother, Cindy Sheehan, built a "peace camp" outside President Bush's ranch in Texas in 2004. Ms Sheehan's campaign group of 48 parents of US troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, is protesting at the ranch in Crawford this weekend.

President Bush was forced late on Friday to issue a personal statement backing his Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, after a chorus of complaints from retired US generals over the handling of Iraq. In Britain, discontent among Army wives about the continuing conflict in Iraq is also surfacing in internet chatrooms. Several mothers are repeatedly sending emails to the Prime Minister, complaining about Britain's involvement.
Denise, a former civil servant, said: "We're in their country as invaders. That's not what my son thinks. He says it's bad out there and these people need help. So I think sometimes we've gone out there like the Red Cross."

The grandmother of two British soldiers, one who has just served in Iraq and another who is going to Afghanistan, asked not to be named, for fear of repercussions against her grandsons. "This isn't for Queen and country," she said. "This war is unfair, unjust and illegal. It's not that our soldiers are cowards, or their parents and grandparents aren't proud, I just don't want to see their uniforms on a coffin."

Mary, the mother of a 19-year-old private from south-west England who came back from Iraq last week, said: "When my son was 16, he wanted to join the Army. We're extremely proud, and we want him to stay in the Army. But we definitely don't want my son to fight in 'President' Blair's and President Bush's oil war. He's not a mercenary."

Her son does not share her views: "He's what the army would call a very good soldier. He says, 'I'm a soldier. I don't have any political opinions.'"

Some names in this article have been changed

A RIGHT TO SPEAK OUT

Linda Holmes, a medical secretary from Warwickshire, has a son in the Grenadier Guards, Guardsman Robert Holmes, 24: "I think it's an illegal war. Initially, because Robert wasn't really connected with Iraq at the time, I was very complacent. Once he announced he was going out I thought, I can't stand idly by, because there were all those deaths which were coming to the surface around that time. This is my personal view. It's not Robert's, but we live in a democracy. I have the right to say what I feel. I just hope that Robert doesn't get any backlash for this."

JOHN LAWRENCE

THE ANXIOUS WAIT

The 19-year-old son of Janet Lowrie, from Dumbarton, Scotland, Pte Peter McCallum of the Highlanders Regiment, completes six months in Iraq this week: "He's going for a full career in the Army but we want them all to leave, every one. They're not allowed to say much. They're doing their jobs, bless them. But every solitary one of us in our family wants him home. Some have to stay to help get the country back in shape, but the Iraqis aren't interested in them all being there. Peace isn't going to happen when they've got thousands of men standing there with guns."

ASHLEY COOMBES
 
#2
Agreed that Bliar and HMG should do more regarding the now 104 who have died serving queen and country in Iraq. The injured and the wounded also did their bit and deserve recognition, proper rehabilitation and support. If relatives of the those killed thought Bliar and HMG cared then maybe they wouldn't be so anti war and it might help ease the doubts of those who have loved ones still serving in Iraq or wherever HMG decides to send them next.
 
#3
104 servicemen dead?

When did the 104th happen?

I know i've been incommunicado for a couple of days and it's Easter an all, but I don't recall seeing any reports about fatalities just injuried soldiers.
 
#6
Yet another example of service families being manipulated by STW nuggets and media. I can pretty much guarantee that the sons don't share the same sentiments - So for those in the cheap seats, I'm going to say it again - soldiers don't do politics and are not in the local cub scouts. They go on operations, they go with their regiment, company, squaron, platoon, troop, section. At the end of the day, they're only thoughts are for they're mates alongside them and they're families back home.
Yes, sometimes they get killed, they always have and sadly always will. They're loss hurts us all and we grieve - but we carry on with the job in hand - the politics of it all? that's for someone else to work out.

The alternative - pull out? Don't make me larrf...........

The saying going something along the lines of this springs to mind:

Good people sleep safe in their beds only because rough men stand ready to do violence on they're behalf
 
#7
muzzleflash said:
Yet another example of service families being manipulated by STW nuggets and media. I can pretty much guarantee that the sons don't share the same sentiments - So for those in the cheap seats, I'm going to say it again - soldiers don't do politics and are not in the local cub scouts. They go on operations, they go with their regiment, company, squaron, platoon, troop, section. At the end of the day, they're only thoughts are for they're mates alongside them and they're families back home.
Yes, sometimes they get killed, they always have and sadly always will. They're loss hurts us all and we grieve - but we carry on with the job in hand - the politics of it all? that's for someone else to work out.

The alternative - pull out? Don't make me larrf...........

The saying going something along the lines of this springs to mind

Good people sleep safe in their beds only because rough men stand ready to do violence on they're behalf
100% agree, if way back when I'd had My Mother, Granny and all and sundry demanding I be brought home I would have died of shame. Soldiers don't do politics is the perfect summation.
 
#8
This is exactly the distinction we need to emphasise. We are not politicians and we do go where we are needed. But, we rely on our CoC to ensure that the reasons we are going make sense and that the Fifth part of the deployment plan ( tha is re-deployment) has been considered before we all dash off to defend freedom.
Sadly there is an increasing feeling that proper consideration of how we are employed is not taken.
i was staggered to be informed that there are more policeman carrying weapons in UK, than there are regular soldiers. But when any shutty job (Fire, Bins, Ambulance, Water) comes along - we get it. Why not the Police? Do you think their Federation would allow it?
 
#10
ViroBono said:
Master-Sniper said:
Soldiers don't do politics is the perfect summation.
Indeed, but the difference seems to have become rather blurred in the case of some senior officers.
I thought We were talking about Soldiers ? How many Officers, let alone Senior Officers Mothers, Grannies et al are doing this. Has anyone asked the Squaddies on the ground if they agree with Mummy and Granny ?

I will say it again, I for one would have died of shame if anyone had demanded I be returned with My Mates from an operation to appease anyones conscience - which is press and poliitics the antithesis of what We were and are.

This is not fcuking Vietnam and We are not Yanks, peace badges and flowers in My sadly thinning hair is not going to happen.

Take the shilling do the job, with, for and beside Your Mates
 
#11
I am a soldier , just off again to TELIC for the 3rd time , and if a member of my family did that
i would go mad . It is ruining the moral of the lads out . All this bollacks about an ''illegal war''.
Me and my mates are SOLDIERS as the old line goes ''ours is not to reason why........'' .Its our
jobs right or wrong . As soon as these people who are coming out with this rubbish ,stop it the
better .

IF YOU DONT LIKE IT SIGN OFF !!!!!!
 
#12
When I was a young kid and my dad and his mates were doing multiple tour of Northern Ireland, I my mum and all our family wished he didn't have to be there. However it was his job (which was his choice and the career he loved) we would not have dreamed of protesting on his behalf for the troops out of Ireland campaign.
Fine if these familly members believe the war is illegal then it is thier RIGHT to protest but why do they have to say they are doing it for thier son Private Smith of the 101st Foot? Private Smith has the option to put his papers in if he genuinely believes he shouldn't be deployed to wherever HM's Govt sends him.
 
#13
Mary, the mother of a 19-year-old private from south-west England who came back from Iraq last week, said: "When my son was 16, he wanted to join the Army. We're extremely proud, and we want him to stay in the Army. But we definitely don't want my son to fight in 'President' Blair's and President Bush's oil war. He's not a mercenary."

Her son does not share her views: "He's what the army would call a very good soldier. He says, 'I'm a soldier. I don't have any political opinions.'"

I rest My fcucking case .......... Mum Shut the fcuk up
 
#14
I agree with the majority of people who have posted here. I'm the parent of a soldier in Iraq and I have the same anxieties as other parents, but I know that publicly calling for 'troops out' would do nothing for the morale of my son and his comrades.

Plus it would embarrass him to hell.
 
#15
Lucky_Jim said:
I agree with the majority of people who have posted here. I'm the parent of a soldier in Iraq and I have the same anxieties as other parents, but I know that publicly calling for 'troops out' would do nothing for the morale of my son and his comrades.

Plus it would embarrass him to hell.
Lucky Jim ........Be proud which I am sure You are.

Hopefully Your Lad will come home in one piece and be a better human being for the experience.

My Mam and Dad were siht scared when I deployed as have been Parents for centuries, it comes with the pride of watching passout, of reaching Regiment (Battalion) of finding REAL MATES (for life)

Don't be scared ......You be Proud
 
#16
Good post sniper. STW campainers? I would love you to spend a day in my world - I'm pretty fcukin sure your outlook and views in life would change. Then again you'd probably only go and get taken hostage!
 
#17
Master-Sniper said:
Soldiers don't do politics is the perfect summation.
Absolutely right, but, the very thing we swear to defend is the right for others to b1tch about politics all they want.

We might not agree with it but it'll be a dark, dark day the day that they are silenced.

Besides, if it p1sses off or embarrasses the Smiling Moron, at least one good thing will come of it :)
 
#18
Thanks master sniper for your post. I am indeed proud of my son (read my blog for the story of a parent of a UK soldier in Iraq) and I agree with what you say.

Aunty Stella is also right in that our sons put themselves in harm's way in order to give the chattering classes their right to free speech. It's a bugger isn't it?
 

mysteron

LE
Book Reviewer
#20
A little perspective perhaps, I am serving, I have deployed and will deploy again to Iraq. I am of the belief that we are doing the wrong thing for the right reasons.

However, I will not martyr myself (like that foolish RAF doctor) by disobeying a direct and legal order. I will use my voting slip as is my right, I disagree with a lot of the foreign policy we hold at this time. At times, I am called upon to be part of the team that implements this policy, I may disagree, but it is still legal and it is MY DUTY to do so.

I sympathise with all of the familes of each serving soldier in the Armed Forces, they have it worse than we do when we deploy. We are the ones who volunteered, they are the ones that have to live with the uncertainty (because of OPSEC, media lines, etc) and potentially the quite literally fatal consequences of OUR choice.

The families should be justifably proud of their loved ones, they have a right to speak their views, use their voting slips and petition government. But I truly wonder if they have thought about the effect they are having on the soldier. Do we ask for attention? I argue not, we just ask for some recognition and respect. Does the soldier wish to be singled out for political gain, certainly not. The families should not use the names of soldiers to further their cause. Again, rather like our actions in Iraq, the wrong thing for the right reasons.

I'll get me coat!!!!!!
 

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