‘Invictus Games, glossing over inconvenient truths – the arms trade and the British royals‘, Pearls and Irritations, 19 October 2018 updated
Michelle Fahy from Medical Association for Prevention of War provides a forensic analysis of the links between military and defence firms and the Invictus Games. Beneath the inspirational stories of the Games, there is the spectacle of firms like Lockheed Martin and Boeing, who make the weapons that have in many cases led to the injuries of service people competing at the Games, making ‘public spirited’ financial contributions to allow the Games to take place. This is the same incongruity (or worse) that Honest History has frequently addressed in our analyses of the money the Australian War Memorial takes from these same companies (use our Search engine with terms ‘arms’, ‘gunrunners’, ‘weapons’, and the names of individual companies).
Fahy’s article details statistics of the effects of service on men and women (suicides, homelessness), royal links to countries receiving arms (particularly Saudi Arabia), and the efforts of arms companies to get contracts with these countries. Australia is trying to sell to the same markets.
It is difficult to see [concludes Fahy] how these Invictus Games sponsorships are anything other than “business as usual” in a long history of similar deals of varying scale in which the UK royal family uses its influence and prestige to facilitate arms deals for the benefit of a privileged few, at the expense of the human rights of the many.
The comments on this article make interesting reading. See also a follow-up piece by Fahy: ‘Invictus Games do nothing to remedy government failure to properly care for veterans‘. Extract:
The government signs young people up, ingrains in them a whole new way of thinking and responding, then puts them in challenging often dangerous situations in which they are repeatedly at risk. Once they sign on the dotted line, Defence assumes control of their lives. Military personnel must be willing to kill another human being and be killed themselves. Given the unquestioning commitment this demands, the government then has no moral right to abandon its service people to a grim uncertain fate if they break down inside its system. It surely also has no right to spend over half a billion dollars lavishly and excessively commemorating long dead veterans while telling the broken but still alive veterans of today that there is no money for them to see a psychiatrist, re-educate themselves, or be assisted into a job.