Lest we forget the long-term impacts

Graham Mantle

Graham Mantle

Mantlepiece

Five years of my childhood were spent frequenting, often sleeping in, air raid shelters in the UK during World War II and I looked up to all service personnel as heroes.

I wanted to join the army myself but was still only 15 when my parents brought me to Australia in 1949.

I still respect and value our defence forces and am proud to have family members who currently serve in them. 

What follows, I am saying to federal politicians.

If anyone can help take this message to them by sharing or posting or any other means, I would appreciate that. 

In government, you legally own the decisions and their consequences, of previous governments. 

You get us involved, usually at the instigation of the USA, in too many wars that are none of our business. 

You sent our troops to Vietnam to kill and to die - for what?

It was a war in which we should never have been involved. Everyone knew it but instead of acknowledging your guilt, you let the public blame and abuse the returning soldiers and you ignored them, to your everlasting shame. 

You sent them to Iraq to overthrow a despotic but stable dictatorship, for a US presidential obsession, paranoia and lies.

The consequences of that disruption have been many more tours of active duty in a volatile environment than anyone should be asked to endure. 

And you sent them to Afghanistan to satisfy the outrage over the 9/11 attack.

Fifteen of the hijackers were citizens of Saudi Arabia, two were from the United Arab Emirates and one each from Egypt, and Lebanon. And they trained in Florida. There was not a single Afghani involved. 

Nobody has ever won a war in Afghanistan and the current one has dragged on for 16 years, again requiring multiple returns to highly dangerous conditions by our men and women. 

It is noted that you, who decide that we should go to war, never go yourselves. 

And before you send any more young people to fight in wars that should not concern us, we demand that you provide proper care for the service men and women whose lives you have already ruined.

To leave them suffering and destitute and, in many cases, homeless, while you enjoy fat salaries and pensions, is a travesty of any kind of justice.