Socialist Worker

British soldiers walk away from war

by Andrew Burgin, Military Families Against the War
Issue No. 2014

Reg Keys and Rose Gentle

Reg Keys and Rose Gentle

Figures released by the ministry of defence this week show that the number of soldiers deserting the army has more than doubled since the start of the Iraq war.

The figures show that 2,030 soldiers went missing from their units between 2003 and 2005 and were later dismissed by the service—740 are still on the run but have not yet been dismissed.

The situation in Iraq and Afghanistan is descending into chaos. Thousands of innocent lives have been lost in George Bush and Tony Blair’s drive for control of the Middle East.

At home British troops are facing up to the reality of “bringing democracy” to the region—and many are choosing to walk away.

Rose Gentle, whose son Gordon was killed in Iraq said, “Half of these boys are little more than kids.

“They’ve not got the right equipment. They see their friends killed. It’s affected a lot of them mentally. That’s why they’re not going back.

“Every day I get more and more of these boys calling me. They don’t believe that this war is right. They don’t believe that they are helping. And they don’t want to go back.”

Despite having announced a “victory” in Iraq over two years ago, the resistance to the illegal occupation continues to grow.

Rather than bringing democracy, the occupation has pushed the country to the brink of civil war.

In Afghanistan, where troops are there as “peacekeepers”, they are under attack on an almost daily basis. Reports have described the conflict as the worst faced by British troops since the Korean war.

Every day our television screens are filled with images of new atrocities as more and more lives are lost—yet Bush and Blair attempt to push towards a new war in Iran.

We have to keep on fighting to get the troops home and against any attack on Iran.

We need to make the demonstration outside the Labour Party conference next month the biggest anti-war mobilisation that Manchester has ever seen.

For more information on the campaign go to Military Families Against the War

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Article information

Sat 19 Aug 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 2014
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