Armed Forces Day was first mooted in 2008. Army bigwigs and Brown’s government were concerned with the growing unpopularity of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the problem of recruiting new servicemen and women.
At that time 91 members of the UK armed forces had died in Afghanistan. Now the figure is over 300 and rising fast. No wonder the warmongers felt the need to shore up public opinion.
The war in Afghanistan was started by the hawks around George Bush on the entirely bogus grounds that it would prevent another 9-11. In reality the US wanted to strengthen their hold over the Middle East; now they are propping up a corrupt government in Kabul and waging an increasingly unpopular and unwinnable war at the cost of tens of thousands of Afghan lives.
The UK and other armed forces are pawns in this game. Since Thatcher sent the Task Force to the South Atlantic, however, politicians have been fully aware that patriotism and war are powerful weapons in keeping workers just where they want them – hating an obscure foreign enemy, rather than turning on the bankers and bosses who are our real enemies, and who will happily use the armed forces against us when we rebel.
This Saturday the military extravaganza comes to Cardiff. Devolution has made our rulers nervous: they’re particularly concerned to make sure Wales and Scotland stay loyal to the British state. But Cardiff staged its biggest protest in decades when the Iraq war was first threatened, and no matter how many flag-wavers the parade organisers may persuade onto the streets, the uncomfortable truths about these totally unnecessary and counterproductive wars will not go away. Anyone who wants to see an end to the deaths in Afghanistan, and more wars to come, should boycott this event, support the anti-war movement, and turn their attention to the real enemy: the class enemy.
Quote from the Stuttgart International Congress of 1907:
“Wars between capitalist states are usually the result of their competition on the world market, since each state strives not only to assure itself of a sphere of export, but also to conquer new regions, and the principal part in this is played by the enslavement of other peoples and countries. These wars then arise from the continuous armaments produced by militarism, which is the principal implement of class domination of the bourgeoisie and of the political subjugation of the working class.
“A favourable soil for wars are, nationalist prejudices, which are systematically cultivated in the civilised countries in the interests of the ruling classes, with the object of diverting the proletarian masses from their own class objectives arid making them forget the duty of international class solidarity.
“Thus wars are rooted in the very essence of capitalism; they will end only when the capitalist system ceases to exist, or when the immensity of human and financial sacrifice caused by the development of military technique, and the indignation which armaments arouse in the people, lead to the elimination of the system.”
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Unarmed Forces Day
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