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From the Eastern Daily Press, Monday, 3 February 2003

Troops should have a voice

Southgate Court,

The Prime Minister, the Tory opposition and the bulk of the mainstream media imply that criticism of going to war against Iraq is anti American and must be minirnised in order to preserve the morale of our servicemen.

So whilst our Armed Forces are championed as defenders of freedom and:democracy; we are told conllicting views - more essential than ever over this issue - must be modified.

This, of course :is political opportunism by the British capitalist establishment, which has been mollycoddled by New Labour's right-wing policies since 1997.

By hastily dispatching our forces to be key participants in this supposedly inevitable and media-glorified prospective 'war' (albeit against a beleaguered and militarily inferior state), ministers, like Tony Blair, Jack Straw and Charles Clarke hope large sections of the public will feel morally compelled to be supportive for fear of being branded unpatriotic or a pacifist.

Consequently the double standards underlying US imperialist motives (think of North Korea), not to mention the falling global stock-market prices and their residual global effects, will all be obscured.

Members of the Armed Forces have the right to vote but not to be politically active, especially on foreign matters.

However, if the issue of troop morale' can be exploited in such a way for political purposes, then to provide balance a review of the political rights of serving members of the Armed Forces is required, especially in an institution which, although highly professional has a rank structure which in many ways manifests the odious class divisions of British society.

Perhaps this may provide a genuine tonic to troop morale, which the likes of Mr Blair and former Guards officer Ian Duncan Smith seem anxious not to sap.

There are many despots

The Rev V S SINGH,
Manor Cottage,

The propaganda war is moving inexorably towards invasion. Overwhelming air power and advanced weapons will destroy the infrastructure of Iraq and ensure victory.

It may be too late to turn the tide of the propaganda war, but I will try.

Several nations are ruled by despots who terrorise their people. Several ignore United Nations resolutions. Others have nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Indeed America herself used atomic weapons on Japan and chemical weapons in Vietnam. Her thousand-bomber raids on Germany were a means of mass destruction. Now her arsenal is the greatest in the world.

So why Iraq?

The immediate reason is to control Iraqi oilfields and send a clear message to all countries on whose raw materials and products American prosperity depends.

This action will not make America safer. Nations who distrust her will re-arm sand consider a pre-emptive strike.

©: Eastern Daily Press, 2003.

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