Saturday, 28 May 2011

Casualties of War

Two Royal Marines from 42 Commando Royal Marines were killed in Afghanistan on Friday 27 May 2011. (Ministry of Defense release)

Over three hundred and fifty UK soldiers have died in Afghanistan since 2002, and this latest report from the Ministry of Defense is just two more. A war in a remote arena of the world, where figures come and go. Even in the First World War, there was a detachment from those at home from those serving on the front line, and even today, with the immediacy of communication, there is still a detachment. Afghanistan seems more and more like Vietnam, a war zone which persists, with no end in sight. But I know the grandfather of one of the young men (who was only about 28 years old, and had a wife and young child), so I cannot be so detached as that. I think it is about time we re-thought precisely why and if we should be there.

Casualties of War

A medal for bravery, under fire
Rescuing others while still in pain
Bullet in the head, courage inspire
Healed, returned, to fight again

Armchair strategists decide to fight
In comfort, not knowing the fear
Of the combat zone, and blight
When young men lost so dear

Ambush again, and luck ran out
A casualty of war, numbers mount
Armchair strategists sit firm: no doubt
They will not face death's account

Time to weep, and time to pray
And another remembrance day


Nick Le Cornu said...

This is a war in the process of being lost. Which Afghan war are the British fighting - 3rd, 4th, 5th? British soldiers have been here before and died; the difference this time is that they are there as the Sepoys of the American Army.

Nick Le Cornu said...

This is war in the process of being lost. The analogy to Vietnam is pertinent.

Which Afghan War are the British fighting this time - 4th, 5th. British soldiers have been here before. This time its different in that they serve as Sepoys of the US Army.