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THE father of a soldier killed in Iraq is boycotting this year’s remembrance service in “disgust” at the “cash-hungry immoral pigs” who will be in attendance while “living lives funded by war.”
Kingsman Alex Green was shot dead in Basra in January 2007 while returning from a patrol in the city centre. He was 21.
His dad Bill Stewardson told the Star he was declining his invitation to this year’s Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall on November 10 on the basis that Prime Minister Theresa May, her husband Philip May and former Labour prime minister Tony Blair will also be there.
He said: “Ms May and her husband, and Tony Blair and co, will all be standing about with poppies and long faces while they are living lives funded by war.
“I have got actual, real reasons to attend things like that: my son’s died. I don’t go because of people like that.
“The Cenotaph is not there for arms dealers to seize on as a PR opportunity … while they are making massive amounts of money out of the war.”
Philip May is a senior executive at investment company Capital Group, the largest shareholder in BAE Systems and the second largest in fellow arms company Lockheed Martin.
Mr Stewardson added: “If a shiny white ribbon could be placed around the Cenotaph … and only those who have not supported or profited from war were to be allowed through it, who do you think would be there? Where would Mr and Mrs May find themselves?
“How many of those thousands and thousands of fine young people who made the ultimate sacrifice would want such cash-hungry immoral pigs standing long-faced in the cold November air at the Cenotaph?
“Leaving aside my son’s death, which is difficult, how the hell can we have a Prime Minister whose husband directly profits from companies that avoid paying tax and make a huge profit from selling arms to Saudi Arabia? How can that be? Why is that fair?”
For years following his son’s death, he was “the voice in the wilderness,” still supporting the war in Iraq despite his loss, he also told the Star.
“Until sort of 18 months, two years ago,” he said, “I have been the one not speaking in the way that other bereaved families have been speaking. Every bereaved person in the country has a crutch.”
He said that his belief that the war in Iraq was “well-founded, well meant, it was based on truth and honour, if you want” helped him deal with his bereavement.
But he said former prime minister Gordon Brown’s book My Life, Our Times, published last year, was “the point at which my mind changed course.”
In the book, Mr Brown accuses the Pentagon of knowing that the evidence for “the existence of WMDs [weapons of mass destruction] was weak, even negligible and in key areas non-existent,” but failing to tell Britain.
He now believes that “we were all misled.”
Mr Stewardson added: “People will point the finger at me and say: ‘That’s not what you used to say’ — well, of course not, because I wasn’t aware then of what I am now.
“I actually have no problem with the way my son died, representing Queen and country.
“He knew what he was getting into, he signed the form, me and him had the conversation and that’s not what I’m complaining about — it’s the abuse of the memories of all those people.”
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