Soldiers shooting at a picture of Corbyn reveals the effect of the rhetoric portraying Corbyn as a security threat and terrorist sympathiser, writes Chris Nineham
Images of soldiers in Kabul shooting at targets of Corbyn are frankly disturbing. The soldiers are quite simply mimicking the assassination of the leader of the opposition. What have passed for official apologies so far have been pitiful, suggesting a complete failure to understand the seriousness of what happened. The Ministry of Defence’s statement that this behaviour ‘falls well below the high standards the army expects’ is an extraordinary understatement, as is the comment by ‘a senior defence source’ that this is ‘a terrible look’.
The incident in fact reveals a level of right-wing politicisation in the army that should be a serious matter of concern. It is no doubt one result of almost four years of onslaught against Jeremy Corbyn that has painted him as a threat to national security. This goes right back to an acting army general threatening a coup if Corbyn is elected, interventions from former MI6 head Richard Dearlove alongside the hounding of Corbyn in the press as a terrorist sympathiser and for not wanting to press the nuclear button. Corbyn’s alleged weakness on security issues was one of the main talking points of the Labour renegades as they left to found what has become Change UK.
That Jeremy Corbyn - who doesn't want to send British troops to their deaths in pointless and endless wars and who has campaigned for ending the ill-treatment of veterans - is seen as an enemy of soldiers is absurd. He stands for a foreign policy that would bring an end to the kind of tragedies caused by the recent string of foreign interventions. We must demand that there is swift and serious action against all the soldiers involved and a clear statement condemning the politicisation of the armed forces from the Ministry of Defence.
But we also need to demand an end to the constant campaigns against Corbyn from all wings of the establishment and leading figures on the Labour right. Events have proved Jeremy Corbyn right time after time on foreign policy issues, and those who attack him catastrophically wrong. It is the war policies of Blair and subsequent governments that have led to the deaths of over 630 British troops, the serious wounding of more than 13,000, carnage in a string of invaded countries and the spread of terrorism around whole regions of the globe.
Chris Nineham is a founder member of Stop the War and Counterfire, speaking regularly around the country on behalf of both. He is author of The People Versus Tony Blair and Capitalism and Class Consciousness: the ideas of Georg Lukacs.
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