Sunday, November 10, 2013
This weekend, every English Premier League footballer played with a red poppy on his shirt. Each of them was, apparently, commemorating the British servicemen and women who have died in action in the last century. They urged us to give money to the Royal British Legion, a charity dedicated to looking after the welfare of serving and former members of the British military, and their dependants. They therefore urged us to give money to a charity dedicated to looking after the welfare of members of the British Army unit which a British judge described in his court martial judgment as 'closing ranks' to protect the men who, in the 36 hours after he was taken into custody, inflicted at least 93 wounds on Baha Mousa, killing him, so that only one man was sentenced, for one year, for Mousa's murder. They therefore urged us to give money to a charity dedicated to looking after members of an organization which was recently subject to 135 High Court cases, involving the alleged deaths of at least 247 named individuals, dealing with its treatment of civilians during its occupation of parts of Iraq after 2003. Indeed, everyone wearing a poppy is supporting and urging others to support a charitable organization dedicated to providing services for men and women who volunteered to fight for a military which not only engages in unjust wars of choice, but whose members shoot dead their injured foes as well as torture their captives. The Guardian published a piece online earlier this week where the author described how they no longer wanted to wear a red poppy because of the way it is used to deflect awkward questions about what exactly what the soldiers it commemorates were fighting for. Although all that is true, you don't need to go that far. Just look at a picture of Baha Mousa's face.