Armed Forces: A Force for Peace?
This article was first published on the United Nations Association Coventry Branch website.
Can the armed forces be a force for peace?
According to the Armed Forces Day  website : “The UK Armed Forces defend the UK and its interests. They are busy working around the world, promoting peace, delivering aid, tackling drug smugglers, providing security and fighting terrorism.”
The UK government took part in the Understand to Prevent (U2P) multinational project  to determine the contribution defence forces can make to the prevention of violent conflict.
Coventry City Council supports the armed forces, for example by featuring them in the Council House and by issuing statements of support every year.
But not everyone thinks that armed forces are a good thing. For example the Peace Pledge Union  is “an unashamedly pacifist organisation. Our members pledge not to support war but instead to work against the causes of war” .
A recent film “War School” claims that “The public and ever younger children are being groomed to collude in the increasing militarisation of UK society.” 
Others, although they may support the armed forces, do not agree with sending representatives of the armed forces into schools nor of allowing children of 15 to apply to enlist in the army and join at 16  
Britain is one of just 19 countries that still recruit 16-year-olds to the armed forces. A report published in 2013 claimed that younger recruits are more likely to suffer from PTSD, alcohol problems and suicide than those who join as adults. .
Join the Debate
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 Armed Forces Day is celebrated annually on the last Saturday of June. It is described as “a chance to show your support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community: from currently serving troops to Service families, veterans and cadets. There are many ways for people, communities and organisations across the country to show their support and get involved.” 
 Armed Forces Day website is https://www.armedforcesday.org.uk/
 Understand to Prevent UK government page
 Peace Pledge Union website: https://www.ppu.org.uk/
 Statement from Peacebuilding & Nonviolence page of Peace Pledge Union website.
 British army: should 16-year-olds be able to enlist? Academic experts debate
 British army criticised for recruiting 16-year-olds – Guardian video