Fisher House – a charity we shouldn’t need


This morning, the American talk show host Montel Williams appeared on the BBC to talk about the construction of a new military hospital comfort home in Birmingham. Sadly, this is one charity project that should never have been needed.

It sounds amazing, doesn’t it? And it is. An American foundation teaming up with the UK charity Help For Heroes to create a purpose-built military hospital annexe here so that the families of wounded soldiers can stay with them for prolonged periods as they are nursed back to health or rehabilitated.

Yesterday, there was a turf cutting ceremony at the site, which is near the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham. The Fisher House Foundation was founded by the American philanthropist Zachary Fisher, who died in 1999.

American talk show host Montel Williams appeared on the BBC Breakfast news programme this morning where he spoke glowingly of the work of Fisher House. As a former marine and naval intelligence officer, Williams knows what he is talking about, but the big question is why do Fisher House and Help For Heroes need to exist?

We are now nearly a century on from what Woodrow Wilson called the war to end all wars. Then we had a glimpse of what a future global conflict may look like with the atrocities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but instead of discouraging us, this resulted in the Cold War and an arms race, so that now, more countries than ever have nuclear weapons. And in order to prevent Iran from acquiring them, we are told by some that yet another war is necessary.

The Stop The War Coalition is organising a demonstration at the American Embassy in London on May 19 to protest against what it sees as the lunacy of governments increasing military spending at a time when social services are being cut. Strange how they can always find money for wars, isn’t it? Or maybe it’s not so strange if like Major Douglas but unlike Professor Wolff you understand how the financial system causes war.

[The above was first published April 24, 2012; the original wasn’t archived.]

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