Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Joe Glenton Debate

Stop The War Rally 2007
I read an interesting article this evening in the Daily Mail about Joe Glenton. Joe is a soldier who has served in Afghanistan and from what the article says 'has always hoped to be a soldier', so an army man through and through?

Just to catch anyone up who hasn't seen this story, Joe served 6 months in Afghanistan and before being sent for his second tour in 2007, AWOL and returned earlier this year. Although his full salary was re-instated and he was allowed to continue in the Royal Logistic Corps, he was still unhappy with the war in Afghanistan and began to speak out about it. He has written a personal letter to Gordon Brown and after that disobeyed a direct order from his commanding officer to 'stop giving interviews' by speaking at the Stop The War rally in October. Joe is now in a cell of the military corrective training centre awaiting trial for which he faces a court martial for disloyalty and desertion - a charge that carries up to ten years in prison.

The debate now is whether or not his actions were right or wrong, whether he can be viewed as a war hero or whether he is a traitor to his fellow comrades. I for one feel that if anybody has a right to speak out about the war in Afghanistan, it is the soldiers. Who better can say what it is really like? What they are really there for? What is really happening? He told the Daily Mail; "When I joined the Army I was lean, green and keen. I was proud of being a soldier. After I came back from my first tour I couldn't see what we had given our country. I felt ashamed."

I understand that speaking out against the war, as a soldier is something that 'shouldn't happen' but at the same time if this is how he feels, this is what he has seen, does it owe it to the public, the government and more importantly the 235 soldiers than have died in Afghanistan (source:

Then there is the other side, is he causing the reportedly low morale amongst troops to become even lower? if he betraying his country? is he tarnishing the very reason those soldiers have died serving their country?

I think the soldiers who feel that by speaking out they can do some good for themselves and fellow soldiers then I think is something that can be an important aspect in this war. However I see why this would be an cause for concern for Army personnel.

The surveys quoted in the Mail state that "64 per cent of the public now say the Afghan conflict cannot be won and 63 per cent want our forces to come home 'as soon as possible'." So it seems majority of the public agree with what Joe Glenton is saying but at the same time whether is his opinions are correct isn't the case here, it's whether his decisions are correct.

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