John Kelly

Rehabilitating the military

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In 2007 General Richard Dannatt, head of the UK armed forces, complained, "The British public do not support the troops enough." Within weeks a range of support the troops initiatives materialised including a new annual Armed Forces Day, homecoming parades, Help for Heroes, Tickets for Troops, concerts for heroes, on X Factor "song for heroes" (twice), and various military-inspired album releases.

Most recently we've seen the introduction of the government's Military Covenant accompanied by a £30 million sweetener to be shared among councils who agree to produce military-related propaganda initiatives. These multi-agency practices and invented traditions bear a remarkable similarity to the propaganda-centred activities of the US and Canadian governments' programmes "Operation Tribute to Freedom" and "Operation Connection" which both seek to "re-connect" civilians to the military.

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