British lance corporal Joe Glenton, facing court martial for refusing to return to Afghanistan, reports that fellow soldiers have expressed support for his position:
Joe Glenton, 27, who serves with the Royal Logistics Corps, returned to his barracks near Oxford this week after speaking at a London peace rally in defiance of orders.
After calling for a complete withdrawal of troops, he feared a hostile reaction, but he said that instead of being branded a coward he was applauded by fellow soldiers.
“When I came back to barracks I was wondering what they would throw at me, but the reaction was heartening,” he said. “There were handshakes and a lot of pats on the back. Someone said I was saying what everyone else is thinking. I heard that from several people.
“A lot of these guys had just come back from tours of duty. Many senior people said they respected me for following my convictions.” …
”A lot of guys around me didn’t know why we were there. The confusion happening in the UK today was evident among the troops three years ago [i.e. when Glenton was on his first tour of duty in Afghanistan].” …
[According to Chris Nineham, a Stop the War campaigner:] “The number of families getting in touch with us has risen. There were virtually no soldiers contacting us last year and now we are hearing from a couple a week who want to get involved.”
At a civic reception to mark this week’s homecoming of the 2 Rifle battle group from Helmand province, which suffered 23 fatalities in six months, soldiers’ parents said they wanted the troops out…
[The father of one returning soldier said:] “Now, I don’t think we should be there. If we can’t sort it out with the number of troops we have, I don’t think we ever will.” (link)
Meanwhile, the Guardian’s Sean Smith, embedded with US soldiers, has produced a video journal showing, in his words, “the soldiers are losing heart for a fight they feel their presence is only prolonging.” See: ‘These people just want to be left alone‘ (video)