Dead Men Left

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Ruling class discomfort

I like to see them squirm. I like to see them wriggle around and look uncomfortable. I particularly relish seeing those who would send others to fight and kill and perhaps die for causes they malignly justified start to sweat a little. And what a response we have, from those who would troop young men and women off to Iraq to maintain colonial authority. Redolent of the finest traditions of the Raj, and the blustering ruling-class response to mutinies everywhere, we have Oliver Kamm's latest dollop of reactionary tripe, here dropping his own leaden prose for that of a fellow colonialist:

Today the tearful families of soldiers killed in the assault on Arnhem laid the blame where they say it belongs - at 10 Downing Street. They placed a wreath of poppies on Winston Churchill's doorstep during a symbolic minute's silence. The relatives, who have formed a campaign group, Military Families Against Soldiers Being Killed in Action, delivered an emotional letter to the Prime Minister charging him with "morally unacceptable conduct" and of entering a "contrived war". Afterwards they launched a savage attack on the Government and demanded that British troops be brought home.

No, of course they didn't. My point is not to compare Tony Blair to Churchill, which would be a provocation too far, or to compare the Second World War to what is going on Iraq, but just to illustrate why the sight of those families laying their wreath at Number 10 on Thursday made me want to throw up. In the past, military families have been like a seam of granite running through the country, immovable, inspiring, meeting adversity with a steady eye. Perhaps they always felt this way, even in 1944, but the media did them the kindness of not exposing their vulnerability to the cameras.

Back in line, proles, back in line. Delightful, isn't it? Those whose sons and daughters were despatched - with the connivance of those, like Farndale and Kamm, who issued the apologetics for it - to be killed in Iraq are making Farndale "want to throw up". They are, as they used to say, Lacking Moral Fibre: unlike those armchair generals, who with keep their upper lips always stiffened and their eyes always "steady", these beastly creatures are allowing their base emotions and their "vulnerability" to get the better of them.

This makes me want to throw up. Comfortable newspaper columnists breezily dictating political morality to the casualties of wars they supported: that is sickening. But to add to the squalor of all this, Kamm must have his say:

In short, the families of British servicemen killed in Iraq are conducting their protests under the auspices of an organisation that supports those who are doing the killing. It is for that reason that I doubt the Coalition is being open in its position with those families.

These military families are not only LMF; they are ignorant dupes, too stupid to be trusted to make their own decisions. Delightful stuff.