It’s the season of goodwill, and we can consider ourselves fortunate that the great and good have deigned to share their profound thoughts with the nation as we prepare to set out on these rain-sodden highways for the lost kingdom of teleturkeylandia.
These include advice from the Crown Prince of Sandringham, showing his deep and thoughtful side with a lecture to the medical profession on the need to become more compassionate and how to develop ‘healing empathy’ with patients – something I bet Charlie knows a great deal about.
The Prince does set high standards in vacuity and banality, but I think the Archbishop of York John Sentamu has trumped him, in an interview with British Forces News. Seated next to a Xmas tree with a homely fire in the background, Sentamu argues that cuts in defence need to be conducted with ‘ far, far greater sensitivity’, so that the British Army can continue to be the wonderfully efficient professional military that has achieved such dazzling results in recent years.
Why is this necessary? Because, in Sentamu’s penetrating analysis ‘ We live still in a world that is very fragile, and there are people out there still wanting to do harm to many, many people’. Luckily the British Armed Forces will be required for the forseeable future to prevent this from happening.
Sentamu cites Afghanistan as an example of these efforts, with a version of Afghan history that would fit easily on the back of a shampoo bottle. He expresses his hope that ‘ for the realm and its peace, for this country, the armed forces will be treated with great respect’ and that cuts should be administered with a view to where the military will be in 20 years time.
Asked by his unctuous interviewer about the role of military padres at this ‘special time of year’, Sentamu says they are there to provide ‘God’s presence’ to soldiers and their families, and remind them that God is ‘concerned about the other person, but God is also interested in peacekeeping and peacemaking, because that’s the very heart of God is a God of peace and a God of justice.’
What sanctimonious, sententious, shallow, vacuous drivel. What an ignorant, posturing, self-regarding, warmongering buffoon. This, in the same week that the MOD has had to fork out millions in compensation to the Iraqis it tortured during its disastrous tenure in Basra, with thousands more cases pending. What does the God of peace and justice have to say about that you freaking idjit?
In the last decade the British military has been involved in two major military ‘interventions’ in Iraq and Afghanistan that had nothing to do with making or keeping peace. Hundreds of hundreds of thousands of people have died in these wars that were declared, prepared and managed by the British political elite as part of its historic role as the US military’s faithful lieutenant.
Hundreds of British soldiers have been killed, maimed or traumatized in these wars, so that fools like Sentamu could prattle on about ‘God’s presence.’ Some years ago I met a Methodist chaplain in the British Army who told me how hard it was for him to try and explain to wounded British soldiers in Iraq why they had lost their legs or their arms or been hideously disfigured in a war that they didn’t understand.
No doubt Sentamu would have been able to tell them ‘ it’s what the God of peace and justice requires my son.’ The pink-robed messenger of the Lord also completely ignores the view from more informed – or more honest? - observers that the British mission in Helmand, according to its own criteria, has been a spectacular and bloody failure.
And then there is British participation in Cameron’s Libyan adventure – a war intended to ‘prevent a massacre’ which killed at least 50,000, and which has now spread into Mali where – guess what? – the ‘international community’ is now getting ready for another war. So much for spreading peace.
Sentamu’s peacemakers have also participated in less visible special operations in countries around the world, from Iraq to Iran, whose activities include assassinations, bombings and extra-judicial executions. And now Lord Snooty has been in Afghanistan and the United Arab Emirates, to announce new military cooperation with the Gulf States.
The UAE is apparently looking to buy 40 Eurofighter Typhoon combat jets, while Oman already has twelve. But arms sales are only part of this blossoming relationship, says His Lordship, since:
‘What you’re seeing specifically with the UAE is not just a plan to sell Typhoon aircraft, but a big significant defense cooperation which could, yes, lead to British troops stationed in their country. This is an exciting possibility for both countries to have a proper strategic defense relationship.’
Gosh, is it David? Why that’s absolutely splendid. But no doubt the fatuous Archbishop will be pleased to know that Britain is out there defending the realm and protecting the world from the evil ones who are trying to do ‘harm to many, many people.’
Because there couldn’t be any other reason for boosting the arsenals of the repressive and reactionary Gulf monarchies, could there? Like whacking Syria, then Iran, perhaps Hezbollah too? Or promoting a neo-imperialist agenda aimed at re-shaping the Middle East and managing the ‘Arab Spring’ in the West’s interests, regardless of how many countries are unraveled or how many people die in the process?
Could it be that these forthcoming deployments have nothing to do with ‘defense’ at all, but are in fact intended to facilitate aggressive war? You bet they could, but you wouldn’t know it from Sentamu’s dim pronouncements.
So Happy Xmas. And may the God of peace and justice keep you safe from the elite militarists who are already scheming their way towards new disasters, from the arms salesmen who will always profit from their activities come what may, from the two-faced politicians who speak of defense when they mean always war, and from craven churchmen who have so witlessly given these activities their blessing.