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Pacifism, republicanism and supporting the troops

September 15, 2015

So, I have something to say about the reaction to Jeremy Corbyn as a pacifist and a republican.

Being opposed to nuclear armament and armed conflict is not incompatible with being supportive of our troops and their service. The people who declare war and the people who fight wars are two separate groups of people. It is totally possible to condemn the decisions of one without in any way diminishing the contribution of the other.

It is not our troops on the ground who decide who their enemies are. That is decided in Parliament. More often nowadays that is decided in Number 10. To be opposed to conflict and favour democratic negotiation, and to be willing to speak to all parties, including Hamas, to avoid military action, is merely pacifism. It isn’t and shouldn’t be interpreted as a slight to serving men and women or veterans.

It is the duty of our armed forces to serve at Her Majesty’s pleasure and to follow the chain of command. To do so is an honourable decision. Regardless of how one feels about the monarchy or the commands being given.

It is the duty of our government to determine where and how our armed forces should be used, and to correctly interpret the will of the people. And debate should be welcome in this arena given the lives that hang in the balance.


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One Comment
  1. Well said. I can’t help but feel that it only takes a cursory analysis of history (from, say, Elizabeth 1st letting the sailors who saved Britain from the Spanish armada starve to death because she was too tight to pay them, through to the mutinies of conscripted soldiers at the end of WW1 because George V wanted them to go fight for his cousin in Russia rather than let them go home) to highlight that singing an anthem in praise of the Royal Family is pretty much at odds with actually supporting the troops.

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