A TERRITORIAL Army (TA) soldier has resigned from the force in protest at the war and occupation of Iraq.
George Solomou says, “I’m resigning from the TA. This war is immoral and unjust.” He adds, “I hope to be a beacon for other soldiers to rally round, to prove we can come out and say we don’t believe in this war, we don’t want to do it. We don’t want to die for an unjust, bankrupt war that history will prove to be a catastrophe.”
George—a healthworker—had been mobilised for the war in Iraq, but got a deferment because he was studying at university.
His objections to the war are “multibarrelled”, he says. “There were no WMD, no links with Al Qaida have been proved. This war is actually promoting terrorism.”
He is angry about the “torture systematically” used by US soldiers and by how detainees have been locked up without trial at Guantanamo and Britain’s Belmarsh prison.
And he says, “Wiping Fallujah off the face of the earth was akin to the SS rather than a modern military force. It’s my duty as a moral individual, as a Christian, if I have to take a life, to take it in a just cause. It’s wrong to call on human beings—soldiers who have to risk their lives—to take part in an immoral war.”
He has a message for Tony Blair: “As an ex-member of the Labour Party, I want to know, where is your mandate for this war? The Labour Party doesn’t support you.”
George has opposed the war on Iraq from the start and was on the huge demonstration on 15 February 2003. “I marched with the two million, me and other soldiers. There were about five of us. They can’t come out and support me in public, but they give me moral support,” he says.
As a soldier in a medical detachment, George was theoretically a non-combatant who would normally be based behind the frontlines. But the war in Iraq doesn’t follow the traditional model of two opposing armies facing each other, he points out. “As there is no front in this war, you’ll be called on to kill regardless.”
George was set to speak at a press conference organised by Military Families Against the War this week, alongside Rose Gentle, whose son Gordon was killed in Iraq.