Britain faces no serious threat, yet keeps waging war. While big defence exists, glory-hungry politicians will use it
Why do we still go to war? We seem unable to stop. We find any excuse for this post-imperial fidget and yet we keep getting trapped. Germans do not do it, or Spanish or Swedes. Britain’s borders and British people have not been under serious threat for a generation. Yet time and again our leaders crave battle. Why?
Last week we got a glimpse of an answer and it was not nice. The outgoing US defence secretary, Robert Gates, berated Europe’s “failure of political will” in not maintaining defence spending. He said Nato had declined into a “two-tier alliance” between those willing to wage war and those “who specialise in ‘soft’ humanitarian, development, peacekeeping and talking tasks”. Peace, he implied, is for wimps. Real men buy bombs, and drop them.
This call was echoed by Nato’s chief, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who pointed out how unfair it was that US defence investment represented 75% of the Nato defence expenditure, where once it was only half. Having been forced to extend his war on Libya by another three months, Rasmussen wanted to see Europe’s governments come up with more money, and no nonsense about recession. Defence to him is measured not in security but in spending.
The call was repeated back home by the navy chief, Sir Mark Stanhope. He had to be “dressed down” by the prime minister, David Cameron, for warning that an extended war in Libya would mean “challenging decisions about priorities”. Sailors never talk straight: he meant more ships. The navy has used so many of its £500,000 Tomahawk missiles trying to hit Colonel Gaddafi (and missing) over the past month that it needs money for more. In a clearly co-ordinated lobby, the head of the RAF also demanded “a significant uplift in spending after 2015, if the service is to meet its commitments”. It, of course, defines its commitments itself.
Libya has cost Britain £100m so far, and rising. But Iraq and the Afghan war are costing America $3bn a week, and there is scarcely an industry, or a state, in the country that does not see some of this money. These wars show no signs of being ended, let alone won. But to the defence lobby what matters is the money. It sustains combat by constantly promising success and inducing politicians and journalists to see “more enemy dead”, “a glimmer of hope” and “a corner about to be turned”.
Get Equal Press Release: http://getequal.org/2011/06/lgbt-activists-glitter-bachmann-to-protest-anti-gay-rhetoric/
Saturday, June 18th, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 18, 2011
Media Contact: Rachel E. B. Lang, 612-600-0277
Confront Bachmann With Connection to “You Can Run, But You Cannot Hide” Ministry
MINNEAPOLIS, MN — Following a speech in her home state, pro-LGBT activists added Michele Bachmann to the list of Republican presidential candidates who have been “glittered” to draw attention to their grave and hurtful anti-gay rhetoric.
Shortly after a speech at the RightOnline conference, pro-LGBT activist Rachel E. B. Lang approached Bachmann, threw glitter in the air, and said, “You can run, but you cannot hide! Keep your hate out of our Constitution!” — a reference to the “You Can Run But You Cannot Hide” ministry for which Bachmann has helped raise money  and to a proposed ban on same-sex marriage in Minnesota. The ministry, a brainchild of rabidly anti-gay Bradley Dean, charges thousands of dollars to speak at public school assemblies and evangelize young people based on a shocking and offensive anti-gay program.
Bradlee Dean, the ministry’s founder and chief evangelist, was invited to give the opening prayer during the recent Minnesota legislative session that considered putting an anti-gay marriage amendment on the 2012 ballot. The prayer was so offensive that it was denounced by both Republicans and Democrats, and the house chaplain was asked to give another prayer immediately afterward. The ministry often charges thousands of dollars to speak at public school assemblies, which have routinely drawn criticism for its over-the-top evangelism and have even caused school principals to call follow-up assemblies to apologize to students. 
Bachmann has a long history of anti-gay rhetoric  and mainstream media outlets are starting to pick up on her extremist viewpoints. 
“My response to Michele Bachmann’s hateful and anti-gay rhetoric was light-hearted, but these issues are very serious,” said Minnesota resident Rachel E. B. Lang, today’s glitterer. “Bachmann’s support of groups like You Can Run But You Cannot Hide show exactly how extremist she is — she in no way represents the values of Minnesota and certainly does not represent the values of America.”
Lang is straight and a lawyer in Minneapolis, and has several gay family members, including her mother and her 75-year-old uncle who recently married his 75-year-old same-sex partner in Iowa.
“As long as Michele Bachmann and other out-of-touch politicians are attacking my family and limiting my freedom, there will be more and more glitterings across the country,” said Lang. “Today I welcomed Bachmann into the Glitter Hall of Fame and, until these politicians stop their anti-gay attacks on families like mine, people will continue to stand up for equality and the freedom to love whoever they want.”