Thursday, 30 July 2009

Police Support the Troops badges: bring them home or support the war?


With the news that Metropolitan police are to be allowed to wear Union flag badges supporting British troops currently on action in Afghanistan, I was surprised to hear Eddie Mair on yesterday's BBC Radio 4's PM programme taking a hostile stance towards Stop The War's spokesperson, Chris Nineham.

Chris did a stolid job if a bit spluttery and tiresomely "Um" laden (brother of Bin) when taken by surprise by Mair's interview which consisted of "Who says!", cutting off his sentences, and ignoring his points of logic. I was baffled by the utter denial that "Support The Troops" is read by most people to mean support for the war.

Indeed, what does happen when police wear their opposing politics on their lapels at anti-war demonstration, perhaps in place of their ID numbers which some of them are so fond of leaving off? Wearing these "Support The Troops" badges, according to the police spokesman in terms reminiscent of something out of Kipling, does not compromise their independence, neither do previous badges supporting RUC widows and orphans, or the union flag itself which is "the symbol of our country". Some might question exactly who in this country the Union Jack represents: the policeman seemed to think it meant Her Majesty and all who sail in her.

Wrong-footed by Mair, I wish Chris had stuck to his strongest point which he only seemed to stumble across in the course of the interview: Fine, if the key issue is support for the troops and not the war, then will police on duty be allowed to support the troops by wearing Troops Out badges calling for our boys and girls to be brought back home to safety?

11 comments:

Mr. Divine said...

BINGO - Dog (watch), Fly, Badge(r)

Another prize?

Mrs. M. said...

i also do not like how not supporting the war somehow means not supporting the troops. my husband is going back to the 'stan tomorrow and while (as you know) i support him endlessly, the last thing i throw my support behind is this neverfuckingending cataclysmic war. besides, does it really matter if we wear buttons or not? I think it's common knowledge that by now, nearly no one supports this or any other war.

K. said...

Over here, it'd Support The Troops bumper stickers. I find it a cheap and easy sentiment devoid of any true empathy for what Mr. and Mrs. M go through. Support the Troops: Bring 'Em Home.

Nevin said...

Of course we should not support the troops! and the War for obvious reasons....
The troops are an extension of the war....

We must demand louder and clearer for every single soldier to come home NOW!

Madam Miaow said...

Well said, Mrs M. The war brutalises everyone and makes a lot of money for the Daddy Warbucks of this world.

Anyone who romanticises armed conflict and forgets that war is hell should get out there themselves.

Mr. Divine said...

I see you've been reading Hunter S Thompson. Man that's very mild stuff compared to a full blown psychotic episode. Very Mild. Got that all you wannabe Hunters?

Brigada Flores Magon said...

A well-made point about the rozzers and their take on badges--viz and to wit, leaving off their own while beating up disenting demonstrators. Who, after all, needs no stinkin' badges?

Renegade Eye said...

The antiwar movement can't for one moment, give in to the idea that it's hostile to soldiers. It never was true.

Gwei Mui said...

Great post and thanks for your kind comments on ICU (been having server probs so hence late aknowledgement)
Troops out or in we should remember that support does not always equate to agreement
GM

Anonymous said...

In the real world "support for the troops" or, worse still, "our troops" means support for the murder they are committing in another country.

This fuzziness that is slipping in by saying we "support" them by wanting them back confuses more than clarifies. We want them out because they have no right to be there in the first place.

Madam Miaow said...

Yes, a powerful point, Liam, that is often missing in this debate.

So has the establishment succeeded in naturalising in the public mind the presence of foreign troops in other lands?

I thought Craig Murray's statement that he saw heroin factories alongside the bases in Afghanistan, and that the war there is nothing to do with heroin production but is actually about the oil pipeline running through the territory, exposes this conflict for the corrupt crock of lies it is.

The moral right is with the civilians caught up in this in their own country — a terrible wrong has been done to them — but it's difficult also not to feel some human sympathy with the young men and women being sent out there to fight for some company's oil rights.

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