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11 June 2010updated 27 Sep 2015 5:41am

David Cameron worships at the altar of the military

The Prime Minister has been over in Afghanistan extolling “our boys”.

By Mehdi Hasan

The Guardian’s Nick Watt reports on David Cameron’s speech to British troops out at Camp Bastion, in Afghanistan, where the Prime Minister paraphrased Charles M Province:

I want you to think of that great quotation that it’s not the politician that brings the right to vote, it is the soldier; it is not the poet that brings free speech, it is the soldier; it is not the journalist that brings free expression, it is the soldier. So I want you to help me create a new atmosphere in our country, an atmosphere where we back and revere and support our military.

Put aside the ahistorical (and neoconservative) nonsense about soldiers bringing the “right to vote” and protecting “free speech” — is Niall Ferguson writing Cameron’s speeches now, as well as advising the Tories on the history curriculum? — and focus instead on the jingoistic and martial final sentence: “So I want you to help me create a new atmosphere . . . where we back and revere and support our military.”

Revere? When did the UK become Sparta? And should we revere our troops when they are involved in this, or this, or this? Or turn a blind eye?

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Before I’m accused of lacking patriotism or being “anti-armed forces”, let me point out that I care about the fate of our men and women serving in Afghanistan and I am depressed and saddened by each and every pointless death. If Cameron (and Brown before him) really cared about the lives of our military personnel, he would withdraw them from Afghanistan, where they are engaged in a dishonest, counterproductive, immoral and unwinnable war.

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