Like many of these war anniversaries, the recent commemoration of WW1's Battle of Passchendale - which cost the lives of around 585,000 human beings - was attended by the usual hypocritical politicians, the media and the gullible; none of whom are willing to admit that the men and school-age boys sent to their deaths in "The Great War" were thoroughly duped by the British government.

Quite often, wars are waged by old men at the end of their lives, sending young men, in the prime of their's, into unimaginable horror to be maimed and/or killed. The energy, excitement and naivety of youth are easily exploited by these cynical warmongers, as it is only with time that one acquires a fully-trained conscience and the wisdom to see the insanity and futility of warfare.

The state has no more a moral right to force its citizens to murder "for his/her country", than it has to order them to become rapists or paedophiles. Tragically, in battle, vile crimes are often committed anyway, by soldiers dehumanised by their training and the insanity of battle. Some are simply psychopaths, or soldiers exploiting a lawless environment.

Many fall for the emotional blackmail trick to: "Fight for one's country". It sounds righteous and honourable but the reality, of course, means slaughtering others and sacrificing oneself for fallible politicians whose policies can change overnight. The same politicians, ironically, when meeting their "enemy" counterparts, smile, shake hands and drink tea - in the most civilised of manners. It is the ordinary man who is the expendable pawn in this lethal game. In the past he was labelled a coward and sent to prison if he wouldn't fight, or murdered by his own officer on the frontline if he refused to run into incoming machine gun fire.

But why are people hoodwinked in this way by the "Ruling Classes"? We are conditioned from birth to obey authority. Essentially, this is a good thing, otherwise society would descend into anarchy. But this relationship can also be likened to a little jockey sitting astride a huge racehorse. Despite it's size, and even though it could so easily throw him off and refuse to move, the animal trusts and submits to his master.

If, like the horse, the more powerful majority - including the brainwashed military - when ordered to kill and maim for deranged men sitting in cosy offices simply refused to move, the horrific carnage of WW1 - and recent British invasions - could of been prevented.

Prof Robert J Sandford

Cherry Orchard Road