A Soldier's Declaration
I am making this statement as an act of willful defiance of military authority, because I believe that the war is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it.
I am a soldier, convinced that I am acting on behalf of soldiers. I believe that this war, upon which I entered as a war of defense and liberation, has now become a war of aggression and conquest. I believe that the purposes for which I and my fellow-soldiers entered upon this war should have been so clearly stated as to have made it impossible to change them, and that, had this been done, the objects which actuated us would now be attainable by negotiation.
I have seen and endured the sufferings of the troops, and I can no longer be a party to prolong these sufferings for ends which I believe to be evil and unjust.
I am not protesting against the conduct of the war, but against the political errors and insincerity's for which the fighting men are being sacrificed.
On behalf of those who are suffering now I make this protest against the deception which is being practiced on them; also I believe that I may help to destroy the callous complacence with which the majority of those at home regard the continuance of agonies which they do not share, and which they have not sufficient imagination to realize.
I await with some interest my "bete noir's" contribution to my continued postings on the war in Afghanistan. I consider our forces and military to have the greatest professional and moral fibre of any fighting force now or in history. I include the bravery, skill and cunning of The Taliban adversary and suspect, just like boxers in a ring, our troops will have a grudging and reluctant respect for an enemy suffering horrendous casualties for a cause perhaps even more passionate than our own.
Herein lies a conundrum. The fighting, the killing and the terrible cost of all this will only end with a withdrawal by foreign troops and some form of political settlement. So why are we still there? Because of the failings written of above. For those of you not familiar with them, they are by Siegfried Sassoon, July 1917.