12 March 2008

New Labour's Militarism

One positive aspect of Britain today is the widespread public antipathy towards the two on-going wars that Blair bequeathed Brown. The Iraqi war is being fought for control of Iraqi oil and for continued US dominance in the Middle East. The Afghan war, which we are told will last another thirty years, is essentially pointless: a war being fought so that the West does not lose face.

As an enthusiastic author of these wars, New Labour cannot get off the tiger it is riding; yet it suffers from the deep public antipathy that these wars engender. Its recent solution has been to attempt to promote militarism in Britain: first, by the policy of having the military wear their uniforms in public (when safe to do so!), and second, by floating the idea of having an armed forces day with military parades and the like.

New Labour’s militarism is nothing for anybody to be proud of. Apart from the murder and destruction wrought abroad, already hundreds of young mostly working class young people have been killed or maimed – and thousands have been traumatised, the effects of which will plague Britain for years to come. Some, moreover, have been involved in brutality and the torture of prisoners in custody.

While the intellectual case against these wars may have been won even in bourgeois circles, socialists need to demand a total withdrawal of British forces and a total opposition to the glorification of the criminality of which the New Labour government and the British military is part.

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