UK Defence Ministry accused of ‘glamorising’ war

January 7th, 2008 - 2:52 pm ICT by admin  

London, Jan.7 (ANI): The advertising campaigns used by Britains Ministry of Defence “glamorise warfare, omit vital information and fail to point out the risks and responsibilities associated with a forces career”, a study has said.
At the same time, promises made to those joining the ranks are often not kept and the recruits are also not told of their legal rights, it adds.
The report, by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, says that recruiters are targeting children as young as seven and points out that the UK is the only EU state to recruit those aged 16.
According to The Independent, the study recommends sweeping changes to the Ministry of Defence’s current policy, including a new charter setting out the responsibility of the state; a radical review of recruitment literature; phasing out the recruitment of minors and new rights for recruits to leave the services.
The dossier is said to be the first piece of comprehensive research into the methods used to attract the young to the armed forces and comes at a time when the Army acknowledges it is facing serious problems retaining its numbers.
It follows another report last month that claimed that the Army was losing almost a “battalion a year” due to the use of illegal drugs.
One important factor behind personnel leaving had been the continuous deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The report said: “For every two in the 16 to 22 age group joining the Army, one is leaving. In 2007, 48 per cent of all soldiers found army life to be worse than expected.
Over two billion pounds is invested annually in training, and most of this is used to train approximately 20,000 new recruits who replace those who leave each year.”
There is now a wide range of avenues, from brochures and magazines to CDs and DVDs, for those interested in joining the Army.
One particularly successful programme is “Camouflage”, aimed at 13 to 17-year-olds, which includes a magazine, website and interactive games. In addition there are services career advisers who visit schools as part of an outreach programme.
The report’s author, David Gee, said: “The literature available to the young glamorises the armed services but does little to show the dangers recruits may face and even less the moral dilemmas they may face.
A MoD spokeswoman said: “We welcome any report that contributes to serious debate on the armed forces. However, some of these assertions are incorrect and ill-informed, others are selective in their interpretation of recruitment practices and some of the evidence is out of date. Our recruitment practices avoid ‘glamorising war’ and we refute any allegations that they depict warfare as ‘game-like’.” (ANI)

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