“I think that we have enjoyed massive and almost overwhelming public support off the back of what we did in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I think there’s a risk that that public support is very much based on sympathy and not necessarily on empathy and I think if we wish to sustain our numbers and indeed the sort of attitude that you would want your army to have, then I think it’s important that the cursor swings more towards empathy than sympathy. So that people understand about what an army does and why you need an army and therefore what it’s final task might be.”
The lack of understanding and the belief that soldiers are victims could hit recruitment in an Army which is already 4,000 soldiers below its target strength of 82,000.
I have often felt uncomfortable with the way campaigns like Help for Heroes have offered this somewhat sentimentalized, victimized view of our troops.