Yesterday was Armed Forces day here in the UK, as Pete mentions below. Now I have a great fondness for Armed Forces, not least because it is the title of Costello’s third album back in 1979 – and in some regards Oliver’s Army is about armed forces! I didn’t want to let the occasion pass by entirely without paying tribute to our British Armed Forces, and I am sure what I am about to say equally applies to American armed forces. Beyond a shadow of doubt our military class, our warrior caste, embody many of the very best virtues one can hope to find. They show courage when in fearful conditions, they show discipline when chaos prevails, they exhibit determination when vacillation beckons, and they show support for their colleagues to the point where they will lay down their lives for them. Naturally no organisation is perfect and of course I know that there are bad apples in every bunch but on the whole, I have so much admiration for the men and women who serve to protect our freedom and our liberty.
That said, I am also enraged at the poor treatment they receive from Government. Their pay is poor compared to other parts of the Public Sector. The care afforded them in the horrific event of them losing limbs is often less than one would expect. At this point in their history, Government is actively running down their numbers, making some redundant. The equipment provided to them is often inadequate, putting their lives in even greater peril. But they get on with the job, without complaint.
One can reasonably query some of the operations they are directed to engage in; one can also point to things that they have done which were plainly wrong; but surely we can all agree that those who serve in our Armed Forces often represent the very best of us.
As is my way, I admire the Armed Forces but am equally disgusted by the political connivers who trot out asinine praise for them on these occasions whilst planning to sack them, to abandon them when they go to Civvy Street. Those who serve do their duty. It is a POLITICAL duty to ensure that every reasonable resource is directed their way.