January 08, 2008

Cotton wool soldiers

On Monday, the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust published a report claiming that British Army advertising glamorised war and neglected to inform recruits of the dangers of serving in the forces. This story received plenty of airtime and column inches.
Fair enough, you might think.
The charity is open about its Quaker credentials. It's ironic that a pacifist organisation (quite rightly - it's a free country) is able to criticise any aspect of Britain's security, regardless of the fact that we've depended upon our armed forces to preserve our (and the Quakers') liberty. The fruits of pacifism might not have been so sweet to the Quakers if WW2 and the Cold War didn't involve the participation of British soldiers. That may be a digression, because the Quaker report is issued in the context of the Afghan and Iraqi conflicts, but it's the JRCT who started this fight.
The website blurb also states "This new report, by independent analyst David Gee, explores the recruitment practice of the UK armed forces".
A Google search on Gee reveals link after link that shows that he too, if not a Quaker, certainly has spent a lot of time around them. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it sure ain't a giraffe. "Independent analyst", indeed.
I don't particularly like singling out groups to rail at them, especially religious ones because, being an atheist I think they're all equally wrong. My point is that it's odd that a Quaker organisation's criticism of Army recruitment advertising is considered newsworthy.
Next week: Paul McCartney on Walls Sausages.

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