Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Why should the country dump the Forces?

- Prince Harry admits to firing on Taliban.

The papers over here are full of the fact that Prince Harry has killed people.  I heard one commentator last night asking if it was right that the second in line to the throne has killed people.

Do you know something?  It's his job.  He's a serving member of the Armed Forces, and he does his job.  Watching the interview it struck me what a nice young man he was.

"Take a life to save a life, that's what we revolve around I suppose.  If there's people trying to do bad stuff to our guys, then we'll take them out of the game."

Watching him, I could hear so many other lads talking.  Lads I've known since I was a student, lads I've known from the RAF, and obviously Rich.  Nobody joins up to kill, but sometimes it has to be done.  I know some of the things that Rich did, my brother knows about some of it, Charlie knows about some of it.  Nobody knows all of it, except Rich.  I know that he went out of the wire several times, supporting attack troops and patrols as an armourer.  I know that he did his main job inside the wire.  I know he was proud of his job.

But the other news is about the redundancies in the Armed Forces.  5000 this time.  At the same time as Algeria is kicking off, Mali is kicking off, we're still in Afghanistan, even Argentina and the Falklands still rumbles on.  At the same time as we're proud of Prince Harry - even if, as he says, he's more Army than Prince.  But that's as he should be.

He should be more Army than Prince, like Rich was more RAF than mine, like thousands of men are more Forces than husband, father, lover or son.  It's as it should be.  They serve, we all serve with them, but they are never ours in the same way until they come out.

It's the coming out that is the other problem.  A lot of Armed Forces lads, and ladies these days, have only ever known the Armed Forces.  The RAF has been their family.  It's housed them, organised their lives, fed them, cared for them, and now David Cameron and the rest of the government is just binning them off like so much dirty washing.

Many of them will come out with no support, no where to live, no one to come out to.  Others will come out with a family that is now homeless, no transferable skills, children forced to changed schools.  All most all will be ineligible for council housing, will not qualify for help with anything, and will be pushed out to make it on their own.  Thankfully, there are charities like the Royal British Legion to help, but again, we're relying on charity to do something the government should be doing, something that we as a country should not be colluding in.

As a country we rely on our Armed Forces to be there. As a Forces family, we expect that our men will go to the Abroad, wherever that may be, and will do whatever they have to do.  If they don't come marching home, we accept that possibility as well.

Then the government dumps them.  In those 5000, there will be men who were going to make the Army their whole career and who now will have nothing.

Hopefully, the news about Harry will encourage people to think more about these people, to think about what they have been through for the country that they love, and to take a little more care of them when the job is over.

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