I once encountered some people who tried to recruit me for terrorism.
They told me that I need to go and fight against ‘our’ enemies and those that support them.
I said that I do not want to join organisations that have a history of bombing, killing and torturing innocent civilians.
They told me they only target ‘military’ or ‘economic’ targets, but that in their history, sometimes civilians can be targeted in wars for the greater good, and that civilians are not always innocent and sometimes harbour or provide support for ‘our’ enemies, even if indirectly. They argued that they wouldn’t do it normally, but sometimes it is ‘necessary’.
I disagreed strongly, but asked to what purpose they fight? They said that war is necessary to spread their beliefs and way of life to the world, where all people must live under their system, and be ‘saved’ by it.
Again I disagreed strongly and responded that no one should be forced to live according to beliefs and systems they do not believe in. They replied that it is a great virtue and honour to become martyrs for such a cause, and that I should join them to fight, and if need be die for the cause – and I will be honoured as a martyr.
I was disgusted by the obsessive warlike culture demanded by their cause.
Finally, they argued that it was a duty to fight for the defense of ‘our people’. I argued that, how is the defense of ‘our people’ served by attacking far off countries and their people?
They didn’t understand, and persisted – so I left them.
…that’s the last time I visit a British Army Recruitment Centre.
[For those who are reading this, please listen to a great speech making the same point, by an ex-SAS soldier Ben Griffin’s speech at the Oxford Union]:
Benjamin Griffin (born 1977) is a former British SAS soldier who refused to return to Iraq and left the Army, citing not only the “illegal” tactics of United States troops and the policies of coalition forces but also that the invasion itself was contrary to international law. He expected to be court-martialled, but was instead let go with a glowing testimonial from his commanding officer. He spoke to an anti-war rally in 2008 about UK involvement in extraordinary rendition the day before he was served with an injunction preventing him from speaking publicly and from publishing material about his time in the SAS.
He is the founder of Veterans for Peace in the UK
Speech: Ben Griffin of VFP London at The Oxford Union