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Should disabled people be allowed in the armed forces?


The armed forces could be forced to employ disabled people under new plans being considered by the government.

A report from a disability rights task force led by employment minister Margaret Hodge, recommends that the current exemption of the armed forces from legislation prohibiting discrimination should be dropped. Senior officers in the armed forces are believed to have denounced the proposals.

Armed forces chiefs of staff are believed to have told the task force that all service people should be capable of serving on the front line, and that disabled people would not be able to do so.

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said that the proposals were still being given consideration, but that there were difficulties with even allowing non-combat roles to be filled by disabled people. Many service people, ordinarily considered to be non-combat, could still be expected to drop their normal roles at short notice to serve in a front-line situation even as say a cook or engineer.

2 Responses

  1. If allowed to serve in the Armed Forces, disabled people should
    Those proposing the removal of restrictions on the employment of disabled people in the Armed Forces have no real concept of war and the role of soldiers, sailors and air force personnel. If they had, they would realise the following:

    Even personnel in rear areas must be able to defend themselves in hand-to-hand combat.

    A wide variety of disabilities would render the individual unable to respond to threats and opportunities quickly or effectively enough to keep or gain the advantage. The person who is unable to react quickly to a gas attack, for example, is a danger to him/herself and others.

    Many military equipments and vehicles, already costly, could not be modified to meet the needs of the spectrum of disabilities.

    Why should the other soldiers in a tank or armoured personnel carrier be put at extra risk because of delays while a quadraplegic soldier is hoisted into it prior to evading enemy fire?

    Even the idea of a modern Douglas Bader is absurd. Today’s fighter pilots already cost over £3 million to train and their aircraft cost many times that. Would employing disabled pilots be affordable, and what would they do if shot down in enemy controlled territory, the Iraqi desert, for example? Would they be able to try to escape capture, which it is their duty to do?

    Disabled service personnel ordered into battle might even be able to claim that their employer had exposed them to unnecessary risks, resulting in compensation claims.

    War is about winning, it is not a game! The best resources must be used, and that includes personnel!

    The wholesale enlistment of people with the full range of disabilities would be irresponsible, cruel to the disabled, dangerous to the able-bodied, costly to the taxpayer, and would seriously undermine the combat effectivenes of the Services. A recipe for disaster is in the making.

  2. Realism not Fantasism!
    I must agree with the last comment from Nigel Capel on disabled people being allowed to join the Forces, what silly bored person thought up such an absurd idea?More than likey, its was someone who has never been to war or had any Military experience what so ever?

    Could you imagine the Parachute Regiment in the Falklands or the Gulf , static line , ready to jump from a C130, and attached are disabled personnel>?
    What are they going to do wheel themselves across enemy incoming fire through the objective?
    Fire and manouvre would have a whole new meaning!

    I do feel that there are opportunities for disabled people, and it is unfortunate, but the Armed Forces are not one of them.

    It really is frustrating to read such idiocy, and whoever in future thinks that equal opportunities extends the boundaries of realism, should perhaps speak to veterans of war>?


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