I recently Twitted on the deaths of our troops in Afghanistan. I created a hash tag #wastedlives. I have been questioned on this – the waste bit is challenged. I need to clarify my thoughts and intention.
The men we are losing are in the prime of their lives. They are all described post mortem as wonderful people, devoted to their careers, the families and the Regt/Corps. Their loss ruins lives of parents, wives, kids who should all have had the benefit of a son, husband and father.
Instead, they were put into situations without adequate support - equipment wise or politically. At the instructions of someone who had either no idea why he was sending them or did not care except it seemed a good idea at the time. We still do not know what the aim was. The rules and regulations prohibit them from having any say in their being committed. The old story of do as you are told. Birkenhead drill.
My point is that their lives were wasted. Everyone should have gone on to old age and attainment of their potential. No good point has or will be served by their sacrifice. Like planting an oak and then chopping it down after a few years. The fact that they accepted the risks and were willing to surrender their lives is immaterial. They were indoctrinated into this attitude. If they were not so conditioned, none would go into battle. That is what training is all about. I did some daft things in a number of IS situations and never had the attitude that I would be happy to die or that my death would achieve anything. My mantra was "My mum did not raise me to die in (wherever)" My death would have illustrated the adage that when one withdraws ones hand from a bucket of water, there is no sign it was ever there.
Recall the scenes we are shown when soldiers depart. The cry to them is “Come home safe”. No urging to become some martyr – that idea only comes when one is trying to make sense of a senseless loss.
I cannot imagine I am different from those who did not make it. I'm sure you know of DULCE ET DECORUM EST - the first words of a Latin saying (taken from an ode by Horace). World War. They mean "It is sweet and right." Wilfred Owen uses it in his foremost World War 1 poem. Dulce Et Decorum Est belongs to the genre of sonnets, which expresses a single theme or idea. The allusion or reference is to an historical event referred to as World War I. This particular poem's theme or idea is the horror of war and how young men are led to believe that death and honor are same. The poem addresses the falsehood, that war is glorious, that it is noble, it describes the true horror and waste that is war, this poem exhibits the gruesome imagery of World War I, it also conveys Owens strongly anti-war sentiments to the reader. He makes use of a simple, regular rhyme scheme, which makes the poem sound almost like a child's poem or nursery rhyme. Owens use of excellent diction, compelling figurative language, and extremely graphic imagery, shows that not only is war terrible and devastating but it is also horrific. It was set amidst the khaki abattoirs in France. Think also of the Norniron thing about "I'd die for my country" It was often said that we would be better with people who would live for their country.
No - their lives were taken from them. It was a poor bloody swap or bargain. In a non-military setting one might say "His death was a tragedy - he had so much going for him". Waste is defined by my betters.
I am not alone in the ‘waste’ arena. David Davies has said “our strategic indecision will throw away all the tactical victories that our brave young soldiers buy with their lives.” In a strong attack on Labour’s handling of the war, Mr Davis also said that Gordon Brown and Tony Blair had “wasted six years and many lives” as a result of a flawed strategy and lack of resources.
Lord Paddy Ashdown said "I fear that we are now - and it is a scandal - wasting the lives of our young men and women who we are putting in the front line in the most difficult circumstances when our political leaders have failed to produce any kind of plan that can take advantage of the victories they win over the Taliban at great cost.
That is what was in my mind when I created @wastedlives. It is a tag that will continue to be used by me