Attack on British Army Training
Military training may do more psychological damage than war itself, particularly to the British Army’s child recruits, a veterans’ group claims.[ref]
Veterans for Peace UK (VFPUK) have sent a letter to the Secretary of State, Monday, demanding that the minimum age for joining the British Armed Forces is raised from 16 to 18. According to the letter:
We have been through military training; it is a brutal form of psychological conditioning designed to fundamentally alter the way your mind works, leaving the army in control of what you value and how you react. These values and reactions are very difficult to switch off and cause all sorts of problems later on in civilian life. No other country in Europe subjects 16 year olds to this process, it’s time this country caught up.[ref]
Child Soldiers International has released a series of short films featuring former British soldier Wayne Sharrocks as part of its campaign to end the recruitment of under-18s, also on the grounds that training is too ‘traumatic’.[ref]
Sharrocks enlisted at age 17 in 2006 and spent 7 years in the infantry. He was twice deployed to Afghanistan. On the second tour he was injured by an IED. Although regretful, this was not connected to the age at which he enlisted or British Army training.
The move comes as the British Army launches a new recruitment campaign. According to the British Army website, ‘a career in the Army is hugely rewarding, in terms of job satisfaction and pay and benefits’.
VFPUK is planning a demonstration in York on Armed Forces Day, 24 June 2017.[ref]
Photo: Soldiers from the British Army School of Infantry (Infantry Battle School), Brecon, Wales, by Stuart Hill (Corwn Copyright, 2016).