It’s not easy to speak out on your own – let’s hope that more members of our armed forces will join Joe Glenton and return home safely to their loved ones.
John Millington reports in the Morning Star:
A British soldier who is refusing to return to Afghanistan has handed in a letter to Downing Street calling for the withdrawal of all British troops.
Lance Corporal Joe Glenton, from the Royal Logistics Corps, says he will not return to Afghanistan on combat duty to fight “an unjust war.”
Mr Glenton, who joined the British army in 2004 and has already done a tour of duty in Afghanistan, believes that politicians should not put British soldiers’ lives in danger unnecessarily.
In a strongly worded letter to Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Mr Glenton acknowledged the suffering of British soldiers and their families but also the damage done to the “noble people of Afghanistan.”
“I have seen qualities in the Afghan people which have also been for so long apparent and admired in the British soldier,” he states in the letter.
“Qualities of robustness, humour, utter determination and unwillingness to take a step backwards.”
Continuing this war, Mr Glenton’s letter adds, “will only lead to more heartbreak within both our societies.”
Mr Glenton, who is married to trainee lawyer Clare, will face a court martial on Monday, with further proceedings to follow.
If found guilty on charges of desertion, he faces up to two years in prison and a permanent record.
As the soldier from York delivered his letter to Downing Street, a huge scrum of photographers and journalists was lying in wait.
Running the media gauntlet with calm and composure, Mr Glenton articulated his reasons for not returning to Afghanistan.
With senior military figures in full desert camouflage looking on disgruntledly, Mr Glenton stood defiantly for pictures outside the Ministry of Defence with his wife and anti-war supporters.
Speaking to the Morning Star afterwards, Mr Glenton said that he had been “amazed” at the amount of support he had received even from people “he did not know.”
Revealing how his opinion of the war had changed, Mr Glenton said: “I thought I was going over there to help the people of Afghanistan.
“But we are not helping them by splattering them all over the place.”
Mr Glenton added that he believed the aim of the occupation was to “dominate a strategically important country so oil could be extracted from the Caspian Sea.
“That is not why I signed up,” added an emphatic Mr Glenton.