Britain has a long and distinguished ‘fighting’ history – we are an island you see that has historically been regularly invaded and the defenders conquered by stronger forces, wouldn’t you say? In those days it was fight for yourself, your family, your possessions, your community, or die, wasn’t it? But that history has left us these days with a population devoid of innate abilities of hand to hand fighting and killing.
We used our previous barbaric nature, superior power, substantial resources, and cruel sheer domineering aggression to travel the World’s seas by ship and seize other peoples’ lands in all parts of the globe, to create of course the renowned British Empire (all done by force of arms of course – are we really proud of that now then?).
Where does all that leave us then in the twenty–first century? Well we have given up the Empire at least. It still leaves us with a suppressed aggressive apparent desire as a Nation to use force of arms to intimidate others, don’t you think? Even as a relatively tiny Country we still think we should have a worldwide influence on all events, so we are determined to remain for example a nuclear power (whatever financial penury that it drives the Nation into) and also retain massive military might – with the fourth highest military expenditure in the World behind US/China/Russia/Saudi (whatever financial penury that it drives the Nation into!). We can’t now afford the NHS & health care at £130 billion a year to treat our aging sick & ill population, but we are still willing to spend a third of that amount on Defence and an unbelievable thirty billion pounds or more fighting wars in other countries like Iraq & Afghanistan.
You have to ask though how we could have retained that essential evil & killer capability of our forces? You see the problem is that we now live in a so called civilized society, where we have spent decade upon decade upon decade trying to eliminate inborn aggressive actions – so we are now all programmed to be pussycats, surely?
It is all about ‘training’ you see. Like say take dogs and we can train them to be aggressive – you can force a soft lovely golden retriever to turn into a fearsome guard dog. The Police train their Alsatians to take criminals down (and bite them indeed) – even Police officers are wary of them when the dogs are after somebody! It is also like that say with the Army – they take testosterone empowered young men, get them physically very fit, expose the dormant aggressive behaviour gene, de-sensitise them, train them to become cold blooded killers, and provide them with the tools to eliminate the enemy without conscience, both in direct & indirect combat.
That then is when the problems start though, don’t they? When those so trained are ‘off-duty’ and fuelled with alcohol, they are inclined to get into fights. If they are crossed at all, they can see naked violence as the best solution.
That is the tip of the iceberg though of course, isn’t it? When the combatants are exposed to war’s violent conflicts, close comrade deaths, constant life risk, wholesale slaughter of opponents on the battlefield, their training and conditioning can start to unravel, can’t it?
So in the UK how do those facing combat induced difficulties get treated by the military then? Well, In WW1 solders mentally destroyed by constant shellfire in the trenches were executed at dawn for cowardice. In more modern wars, the physical injuries are regularly (but not completely) dealt with, but the impact of degrading experiences in the theatre of war on the mental health of those returning home, are to the most extent ignored, aren’t they.
Some of us will have seen at first hand the destroyed lives of young men who went off to war –persons who set out as normal personable individuals who returned as experiences broken persons, struggling to cope with normal life and relationships in civilian society. And the concern or involvement of the military masters in all such of these situations? You’ve guessed it – NOTHING.
Days have long since changed and consequently we in the United Kingdom are no longer born with the killer instinct, or the inbuilt immunity of dissociation for involvement of battle deaths, nor inherent ability to face constant sudden death or injury – so our military need finally to get their act together, surely? They can’t expect a few charitable organisations to make any significant impact on such a major problem, can they? [Over four hundred & fifty UK military deaths in Afghanistan alone (mostly Army)].
Positive action by the military is essential to undo their conditioning when troops are released, and then to take responsibility for exit counselling as a start, and commit to follow-up involvement & support to their previous employees who may well have been badly damaged by their service to our Country – post traumatic stress indeed [it appears that ten percent of jailed criminals are ex-soldiers – what does that tell us?].
Thousands of potential time bombs from our forces will be returning to Civvy Street as our current involvement in world conflicts come to an end, and as the permanent numbers in our military forces are drastically reduced.
[Will any of this action happen? Dream on – not unless we all outside the military machine demand it, surely?].