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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Mar 2006

    Default War dead are sneaked out of the back gate

    The full title is 'As Dave 'does the talking', war dead are sneaked out of the back gate', a polemical article by Peter Hitchens, on the decision to move the dead from Afghanistan upon landing at RAF Brize Norton to a reception hospital without passing through a village and leaving the base via a rear gate. In the hope public respect will not occur under public and TV cameras gaze.

    Referring to David Cameron:
    ..he’d much rather the public scenes of grief and remembrance in that place had never happened, and that nobody noticed the frequent deaths his weakness and political cowardice are causing.

    In the same way, the Defence Ministry has almost completely succeeded in covering up the appalling numbers of men who have been gravely injured in Afghanistan because the Government hasn’t the guts to quit this meaningless war. We hardly ever see them.
    (My understanding is that severely injured, if not disabled, are eight times those with fatal injuries).

    The official version is that the families of the dead will be using a new ‘Repatriation Centre’ at Brize Norton, and that it is near the back gate. Routing the hearses through the base might disrupt its normal operations.

    (Citing the MoD Minister)The side gate was seen by the Ministry of Defence and the police as the most appropriate way to take out future corteges. I am not sure taking coffins in hearses past schools, past families, past married quarters is necessarily the thing that everybody would wish to see .  .  . the focus must be on the families of the dead service personnel. They are the people who care most. That is where our focus is.

    For some months it has been known the respect shown - familiar in newsreel, with larger crowds each time it appears - in Wootton Bassett, a small village near RAF Lyneham, would end. Hopefully the attachments will show that!

    I have a recollection that US war dead, from Iraq, upon arrival at Bangor, Maine, were not photographed aboard the aircraft at one point and there was a controversy over someone taking such photos.

    The Canadian response has been different, based on viewing amazing You Tube segments as corteges move along highways; I've also seen similar footage in the USA.

    In my experience of three local military funerals, different from original reception I know, there was a very small public presence, partly as the funerals are rarely public events, even if say the Queen's local representative and civil figures attended.
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