Paralympians were truly inspirational. We were all thrilled by their achievements and welcome the positive emphasis on ability rather than disability. But that does not justify this extraordinary attempted justification for war.
New Overseas Aid minister Justine Greening believes in putting a positive spin on tragedies. She cheerfully looked on the bright side last Thursday of 430 deaths, 2,000 crippling injuries and future suicides by bigging up the chances of winning a Paralympic medal.
Yes I am told, she does live on this planet - in a place called Callous.
Paul Flynn (Newport West) (Lab): I notice that a motion contains the names of 425 of our brave soldiers killed in Afghanistan. Although it was put down last week, it is already out of date—it does not contain the names of the two fatalities since then or the names of the 2,000 of our soldiers who have returned broken in mind or body, and it cannot contain the names of the almost certain future deaths, such as those that followed the Falklands and Vietnam wars, when more soldiers took their lives after the war than died in combat.
Justine Greening: I think that many people across the country and the House believe that our troops are performing a vital role. It is the right thing to do not only for Afghanistan but for our country. The number of terrorism threats to the UK coming out of Afghanistan has already reduced substantially in recent years.
I take issue with the hon. Gentleman on another point. He referred to servicemen and women coming back battered and broken; I cannot remember the exact phrase.
Paul Flynn: Broken in mind or body.
Justine Greening: Broken in mind or body. The hon. Gentleman only had to watch some of the competitors at the Paralympics in recent weeks to see that they were amazing people who had done amazing things in the past and would continue to do amazing things in the future. We owe them our wholehearted support.