Taking down flight MH17 goes into history as a crime with a bitter taste. It’s a clear warning of the time we are living in right now. But what are we going to do about it when our Defence isn’t taken serious enough? Do we act responsible in this way?
Who actually took down the plane isn’t truly discovered yet. The investigation of the disaster and bringing back the bodies of the two hundred ninety eight passengers caused mixed feelings. The care for the bodies and the bereaved took place with great dignity. The process of finding the ones who shot down the plane and bring them to court became actually more a political game to avoid the discussion than a case of justice. What we, in any case, can conclude is that we, as a country, haven’t learned from our mistakes.
A lot of the Dutch people were praising the way of dealing with the deceased persons and their relatives. But there was also, especially short after the disaster, a shared feeling that bringing justice to the offenders should happen soon. Our Prime Minister has stated that also short after the disaster. We’re thirteen months further and no single offender has got his punishment yet for the crime he committed. That’s not only a failure of the Dutch and international justice system, but also another smack in the face of the relatives. We had the Special Forces to support the investigation teams, but the government was afraid of escalation. After such a crime, shooting down innocent people, you have to send a signal that you indeed do everything to bring this national disaster to, at least, an honest and fair end.
Our Defensive forces get there budget cut every year. Their tasks however stay the same: defend our country, our economic properties and our allies all over the world. The missions to Mali and our fight against ISIS are extended with another year. For the past years, hundreds of millions where taken from the budget for the Ministry of Defence. They needed at least three milliard to make some progress in their plans, they got two hundred fifty to three hundred seventy-five million. This sounds the same as the situation before World War II. More and more tensions everywhere in the world, but we save on our Defence. We have a commitment with the EU member states that we spend at least 2% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on Defence. The Netherlands are currently at 1.2%. We are on head when it comes to meeting EU standards, but the ones concerning our safety aren’t that important apparently.
I applied for the part-time job at the National Reserves (NATRES) a few months ago. The people who are working there are anxious about their future. Sometimes they don’t even have the materials to exercise. There will be savings on the budget for the NATRES. That’s regrettable because these part of Defence prepare people for society, bring them discipline, respect for a superior and give them the skills to survive in hard circumstances. They also protect several important events and buildings, like recently the Nuclear Top in The Hague.
Still the Parliament don’t want to invest heavily in Defence, which is absolute necessary. At this moment we are losing experience and knowledge. Our safety is worth a lot, but apparently not when economic problems are present. As a collective we have to agree that our safety is the most important factor the government has to take into account for their citizens. We have a moral duty to protect freedom, to ourselves but also to other population groups who are threatened.
I am willing to do everything in my power to secure our main human right: freedom. But as long as that we are not willing to pay for this as a collective and take our responsibility to mankind, it is waiting for the next disaster to happen.