Thursday, 13 March 2008

The first casualty of war?

Ministry of Defence teaching materials that give an unbalanced view of the Iraq war are being used in schools, teachers' leaders have said.

It seems that some of the more brutal realities of the war in Iraq have been missed from materials provided for use by schools and while we're at it military recruiters play down the potential dangers of a military career when talking to schoolchildren.

It's probably me but I'm not really surprised by this - I'm not being cynical but pragmatic.

Let's look at the recruitment issue first. The military "consumes" people each year through natural wastage - after 20-some years, at an age between 40 and 50, the longest serving foot soldiers (generally those below sergeant) are slung out with a pension. They need replacing and that's why the recruiters visit schools. If they included images of ex-servicemen and women with catastrophic injuries or of body-bags it's hard to imagine that they'd fill their quotas - even now there are problems getting enough people through the doors. Last February the New Statesman highlighted some of the shortfalls and some of the strategies being adopted to try to fill the gaps.

Thus can we also be surprised that a government still stuck in a costly war isn't flooding schools with statistics about civilian casualties?

Blogged with Flock

1 careful considerations:

kat said...

I was furious when my son came home from school with the idea of joining the RAF. He had been told that he wouldn't get bogged down with student loans and that there was a good pension! I reminded him that he probably wouldn't be around to collect the pension but didn't want to cause too much of a fuss. There seemed little point in expressing the over my dead body attitude at this stage.

Thank goodness he has changed his mind. Something to do with a nightmare and being burnt to death in a plane. I think my son has probably learned more about the realities from his computer games than he has from the career advice services.