We have seen a real propaganda blitz for the last week, furiously attempting to shore up support for the war on Afghanistan. It is notable how many senior ex-military and even serving military senior officers have been before the television cameras to put forward the incredible rationale for killing Afghans in Afghanistan who are defending their farms – that it keeps Britain safer.
This is very dangerous. The military are not supposed to make political arguments, and certainly not to argue for wars. I wear my red poppy and attend remembrance events; I do so on the basis that those who died were serving their country and doing their duty as they saw it. I especially remember those who died to save this country from fascist invasion. If we start to see the army as a political force actively canvassing for aggressive war, in time that near universality of remembrance will fail.
Sky News has been particularly blatant today, with Sky reporters stating in terms that the number who turned out at the cenotaph shows that there is public support for the war in Afghanistan, whatever the polls may say. That is untrue. It shows there is public sorrow at the loss or maiming of young lives. If I were in London, I would be in the crowds in Whitehall as I usually am. It is nothing to do with supporting war.