It appears that very slowly the MSM is cottoning onto the fact that the true cost of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan is that much more than just the deaths of the members of our armed forces. Jonathan Foreman’s article in the Spectator is a point in case.
I’ll not argue with any of the points he makes in the article as most of them are generally true and his opening gambit is certainly true when he says
… that the focus upon the death toll in the Afghan conflict obscures the high numbers of soldiers who have suffered catastrophic wounds — and the scandalously inadequate compensation they have been offered once home in a land unfit for such heroes
It is not easy to measure success and failure in counter-insurgency warfare. Modern military establishments have all sorts of ‘metrics’, as they call statistics, but the politicians and the general public tend to focus on one measure alone: fatalities, and our fatalities at that. The deaths in Afghanistan of other Allied forces rarely make the headlines (though the loss of ten French troops in a single 2008 ambush did reach the front pages), and numbers of enemy dead are rarely mentioned at all.
Now none of this should be a stranger to you if you read this blog or the many others that have been highlighting this for more than a few years now, but it appears from the comments on the article that many intelligent people are only just finding out about this.
Whose fault is this, well in many cases it is our government and the MOD who have for years been hiding all the bad news of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. All the news they release is focused upon giving an impression of how well things are going and how heroic our struggles are even when it comes to the deaths of members of our Armed Forces. It is blatant propaganda and censorship by omission as I pointed out yesterday.
Deaths are focused upon as if they are a matter of pride rather than an admission of our failure to end these wars, but hiding underneath the statistics is the true cost of war and its impact on all the armed forces fighting in Afghanistan.
Let’s look very briefly at a little story hiding away yesterday about a new company being formed by the Royal Marines.
‘H’ Company – named after former marine and Cockleshell Hero, Blondie Hasler – will be based at HMS Drake at Devonport Naval Base from Monday. It will be unique in that it will act as a vehicle to help the marines recover, rehabilitate and reintegrate either back into full military life, or back to civilian life. Major Pete Curtis, Officer Commanding H Company, said it is the first Royal Marine company to be launched in “decades” and described it as an “historic” event. He said the company is being formed as a direct result of an increase in the number of injured military personnel in Afghanistan.
Apparently an MOD spokesman said
“It gives the casualty a new and real sense of belonging – a concept that has been proven to give greater results, mentally and physically.”
So we are describing as “historic” the formation of this company, as if it a truly wonderful event, rather than being a sad result of the extent of injuries happening in Iraq and Afghanistan and hidden away in the text is this message
From Monday the company will begin recruiting injured marines. Maj Curtis expects to have 15 to 20 members of the company by October. He said he expects the company to “grow” as Britain fulfils its commitment to bringing stability to Afghanistan.
The hidden text here is that we are expecting many more wounded in Afghanistan but it is obfusticated by the subtle use of the word “grow”.
But back to the article and it’s conclusion when Jonathan Foreman says
If you are not serious about war, then you have no business sending troops into battle. Moreover you are likely to lose.
This is a statement that is only just beginning to penetrate the MSM, as they start to understand that we have been sadly playing at war in Afghanistan since 2001 and the repercussions have only just begun to show over the past 2-3 years.
The MSM need to understand that they also have been playing at reporting in Afghanistan, for too long they have been happy to play along with press releases from the MOD and government, rather than looking behind these headlines for the real stories of what is happening. They need to start doing some Journalism rather than just scanning their RSS feeds from the MOD.
The terrible price that is paid by the forgotten casualties of war | The Spectator.