Sunday, 6 February 2011

Support from an ex-soldier who served in Afghanistan

"Hi Salma,

Just thought I'd send you a quick e-mail to express my support after I saw a short video of you on the BBC reference to Matt Croucher.

I'm also an ex Royal Marine Commando who has served in Afghanistan, and I think you really hit the nail on the head when you talk about politicians jumping on the bandwagon to look good in the public eye.

I think you was dead on not to join them in there standing ovation so to speak, as you rightly said it is not acceptable.

At the end of the day lads like me who go to war do it with our eyes open and know exactly what we are getting ourselves into. To be honest I personally thought when politicians came out to Afghan to show the lads 'support' it was a total farce, we we were forced to go to these meet and greets and pretend like we were bothered, and the politicians were obviously there just for the 'tick in the box' with the public vote and a couple of nice snaps for the local papers, they are so far detached to the working classes and simply cannot relate to our experiences.

To be honest you talked the most sense I've heard in a long time!

Now I'm a civilian again I can see now how pointless Afghan is, I was there in 2006/7 with 42 Commando, and quite frankly we are now officially wasting our time there, I feel lucky to get out without any physical injuries. Even while I was there I could see we were chasing shadows the whole time, constantly gaining ground then losing it elsewhere, talk about the dog chasing it's tail! Anyway i've rambled enough, just thought I'd let you know I was very impressed with your stance on the matter.

I have no problem with you using my comments on your blog, although I would like it to remain nameless if that's ok.

It's not that I don't have courage in my convictions so to speak but I have a lot of close friends who still serve, and friends in special forces so I don't want to be seen as not supportive when they're putting their necks on the line.

Also I'd say perception is 9 tenths of the law when your serving on the frontline, so while I believe there are fundamental flaws in our approach towards Afghanistan, when your out there in the thick of it you have to believe you are doing the right thing at the time, even if this is a flawed perception. This unwavering belief keeps you alive and gives you a more positive approach to get through your tour.

To be honest as a young lad politics was not something I'd shown great interest in, but being out there you realize the power of the politicians, and the realization that we were political pawns in a dangerous game of chess."