2007 - 2022

Troops Oot

I recently engaged Angus Macleod, Scottish Political Editor of the Times about why they still referred to the ‘Scottish Executive’ when no such body existed. Nobody, not the Tories, not even the British Govt refer to the SNP administration as anything other than ‘the Scottish Government’. In a give-away line that anarchists would love he explained: “The reason why the term Government might not be appropriate is that the devolved body does not possess all the powers of a government e.g. declaring war (I’m not being entirely flippant – that is a government – defining responsibility).”Alex Salmond claimed yesterday that Britain’s involvement in the war in Iraq was “the most disastrous foreign policy decision of recent times”. He should put his convictions to the test. Scotland with 8% of the UK population but 11% of the UK war dead in Iraq is following an ancient tradition of disproportionate representation in the British Armed Forces. This Easter troopsoot1.jpgwe should pull our troops out.  As the war of words intensified a furious Des Browne issued a personal challenge to Alex Salmond to visit British troops in Iraq after the First Minister was accused of undermining morale. Remarks by Salmond made about Scots soldiers being “kicked in the teeth” by the Westminster government were labelled “outrageous” by his Labour opponents.On the fifth anniversary of the US-led invasion, Mr Salmond told BBC Scotland: “I don’t believe, incidentally, the views of the Scots squaddies are any different from the Scots population. They do their job because they are professionals and they do it bravely and completely.” He then said: “They get kicked in the teeth when they are in Iraq by their regiments being wound up. They get treated disgracefully by the government – across a range of ways – which has broken the military covenant.” None of which is really debatable.What was telling though was the response. Salmond’s getting “too big for his boots” they argued.Far from it. Salmond should take the next step and explore how to bring our troops home. One of the lasting legacies of this government may be tha the big con about Scottish Soldiers involvement in British State activities may be about to be broken. What does a Scottish military need to be? A well equipped defence force, a relief and disaster organisation and a source of pride. Little else. The suggestions in todays Scotsman newspaper that a cabal of British Arms dealers should dictate the Scottish economy is ridiculous. That the discredited arms dealers of BAE and others should gather and lobby David Cairns to collaborate on anti-independece propaganda s not surprising (‘Scots defence industry would be decimated’) But at Easter 2008 can we not think of anything more productive for people to do in this 21 C Scotland than make vicious weaponry? 

As Albion scribes unite to bleat about the Barnett Formula, more compelling changes are needed than those that acknowledge the historic inequalities produced by the Union. With the re-introduction of Depleted Uranium testing at Dundrennan near Kirkudbright (http://scotland.indymedia.org/newswire/display/5431/index.php) and Brown and his allies its time to take some serious action against the bloody war machine that dots and scars the Scottish landscape, from Leuchars air base, home of cluster bombs, to Cape Wrath (bombing site for hire) to a hundred covert bases, Scotland is a playground for British and other foreign military groups.Scotland is an unexploded bomb. Our seas are littered with munitions dumps, our soil is scattered with disintegrating military bases and our air is full of the sound of fighter jets training to bomb foreign lands. Over 7000 radioactive munitions lie on the seabed of the Solway Firth, Cape Wrath is rented out for live shelling and Faslane stands as a testimony to the military madness that surrounds us. As a recent CND Scotland report states:“Scotland was exploited by the military during the Cold War and that situation remains. Cape Wrath is the only ship-to-shore bombardment range in Europe and since the United States Navy was forced to withdraw from a similar range in Puerto Rico in 2003, Cape Wrath can unwittingly claim to be the most important area for naval training in the world, or at least in the Northern Hemisphere. The range also contains the only place in Europe where aircraft can release live one thousand pound bombs.” For a country as small as Scotland, it is staggering that we play unwilling hosts to:

– All of Britain’s nuclear weapons at Coulport and the strategic nuclear submarine fleet at Faslane
– Britain’s biggest Tornado base at Lossiemouth
– The largest and most frequently used low flying area in Britain in the north west Highlands
– The only open air live depleted uranium weapons test range in Britain at Dundrennan, Scotland. Whilst many have thought that the Scottish Governments refusal to be part of plans for Trident 2 might be the apogee of symbolic and practical opposition, another more powerful tactic might pack more punch.Scottish troops have been cannon fodder for British Imperial folly for centuries. Enough is enough. Its time for the military to be devolved as part of the withdrawal of consent for the British States nightmarish escapades in Iraq and Afghanistan. If Britain won’t withdraw its troops, Scotland should withdraw our own.This past week has been packed with ageing once-Leftists eulogising about how 1968 empowered a generation by ‘stopping a war’ and having a real impact on society. The danger with this current generation is that it has the opposite impact – those who took part in ‘the biggest demonstration ever’ have noted how the Blair-Brown govt treated their views with absolute contempt. As Seamus Milne writes Blair told Parliament on the eve of this horror that Hussein would be “responsible for many more deaths even in one year than we will be in any conflict.” Amnesty put civilian deaths under Hussein in the low hundreds. The Lancet estimates 600.00 people were killed in the first three years alone.Salmond should back up his denunciation of the illegal wars and call on Scottish troops to leave the leave the army.



Comments (4)

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  1. William says:

    I have found this site through a number of links and I cannot believe how much the Scottish nation can be demeaned by such nonsense. Thank God Scottish soldiers, sailors and airmen have a sense of duty irrespective of the rights and wrongs of who instructs them to wage war. I cannot be bothered to fisk such an incredible misrepresentation of everything the Union has achieved over the last two hundred years.
    A product of non factual education, I think.

  2. bellacaledonia says:

    Non factual education? What’s that?

  3. Michael Chappell says:

    Leading on from recent worldwide journalistic and political discussions about the Iraq War, I suppose many looked forward in the vain hope that the 21st Century would represent a time of peace for our war weary world.
    Estimates place the number of people killed in wars during the 20th Century to be in excess of 170 million. That quite simply is 170 million human beings murdered. The twentieth century is a legacy of the ability of humanity to engage willingly in acts of warfare and atrocity. At this start of the 21st Century, thus far affairs do not bode well.
    On the coat tails of the Bush administration in the United States of America, the armed forces of Britain and many other countries have been dragged into a never ending conflict in Iraq in search of nonexistent weapons of mass destruction and perhaps even more fatally, into Afghanistan, a nation which is steeped in British blood and more latterly, Russian blood.
    I suspect that Britain, for as long as it remains the United Kingdom and here, I trust that the Scottish people have the sense to vote for independence, may soon no longer be in a position to finance the current military idiocy extant across the globe. Certainly, many in the Celtic fringes of Britain are already quite sensibly calling for withdrawal of British armed forces and for the cash being needlessly squandered to be spent on more beneficial causes, health, and education and so on.
    I note that President Bush has recently sacked a senior advisor who warned him that war in Iran would be folly. I don’t doubt that if war were commenced against that Nation, British forces would soon be volunteered. Where will this lunacy end?
    My late Grandfather ran away to sea to avoid a short life working in the Cornish tin mines. He served in the Royal Navy from 1919 until 1946. On his return home, he placed his 14 medals in a drawer and never wore them again. He refused to join the British Legion, to attend Remembrance Day or even to talk about his years at sea. His only comment in his mother tongue, the Cornish language, was, “I saw a lot of good people die on both sides. What the hell was that all about?” On ending my service, I too returned my medals and asked the same question.
    I note that the National Union of Schoolmasters has voted to forbid armed forces recruiting in schools. Quite right too. There is no glamour in killing in the name of a political regime and those who claim some kind of divine right or permission should carefully read their religious texts and ignore what those who interpret them say – quite simply it is wrong to kill, full stop. No ifs, no buts. I urge all those who kill in the name of political policy or some deluded vision of patriotic duty to God, Queen and Country, to bravely place their weapons firmly down and walk away.
    Let’s be done with it, once and for all before it’s too late, before there is no world left for our children and grandchildren.

    Michael John Chappell – Cornish Nationalist &
    Assistant General Secretary – The Celtic League International

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