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article imageOp-Ed: What won’t be included in the Military Covenant

By Alexander Baron     May 14, 2011 in Politics
London - An article commenting on the announcement that the Military Covenant is to be enshrined in law, and what will be left out of it.
The British Government, in particular Prime Minister David Cameron, has announced that the Military Covenant – the unofficial social contract between the members of Britain’s armed forces and the Crown - is to be enshrined in law. Cameron has often been accused of being both more style than substance and shallow, but there can be no doubt that he is sincere about this one, even though he has been under pressure for some time.
The existing Covenant reads in part “Soldiers will be called upon to make personal sacrifices - including the ultimate sacrifice - in the service of the Nation. In putting the needs of the Nation and the Army before their own, they forego some of the rights enjoyed by those outside the Armed Forces. In return, British soldiers must always be able to expect fair treatment, to be valued and respected as individuals, and that they (and their families) will be sustained and rewarded by commensurate terms and conditions of service.”
What is likely to be omitted from this pledge to fair treatment is what Franklin Delano Roosevelt promised in his 1940 Presidential election campaign, and then reneged on: "I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again; your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars."
Like Roosevelt, previous British administrations, Conservative as well as Labour, have embroiled our country in needless foreign wars, wars in which we have had no interest and which since 2002 if not considerably before that have earned us nothing but the hatred and enmity of much of the Islamic world, and considerable tranches of the non-Islamic world because these people consider our meddling in Afghanistan, Iraq and now even Libya as a “new Imperialism” or even an extension of the old one.
Although the sacrifice of British servicemen and women in these recent conflicts is dwarfed by those of their American counterparts, we have witnessed the horrific and obscene spectacle of a steady procession of coffins through the town of Wootton Bassett.
If Cameron wants to make the Military Covenant as meaningful as it sounds he should include in it a phrase to the effect that Britain’s servicemen and women will serve this once great nation and its bona fide foreign interests defending both against enemies foreign and domestic, but that it will not send them into foreign conflicts in which the United Kingdom and its citizens have no over-riding interest.
The chances of him doing that are somewhere between zero and minus one.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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